Monday, 2 December 2013

Classic Bike

I am just back from Bridgwater where I found the December issue of Classic Bike.This news piece is on page 11 and is one of the most accurate stories on the team this year. It's worth the read. Thanks to Ben Miller the editor and Jez Kane, who put it together.

Also, whilst on publicity, there is a lovely little vignette which Bauer media produced from when we went to Rockingham in September. Its a test between our P&M and a brand new out of the box 1000 Kawasaki, it too is worth a look. See the link below. Thanks to Tim Thompson and his crew for that one.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Motor Cycle News do us proud!

Tim Thompson and Motor Cycle News have produced a fantastic 5 page feature in todays edition. Well worth the read.
Thank you to all who made it possible.

Have a look at this link of John Cowie dicing with Hailwood and Read on THIS bike at the Race of the Year 1978 at Mallory Park. It's worth it.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

We are FIM European Classic Series Champions !!!

Provisional FIM European Classic Series Positions

1    56  Sweatshop Phase One  P&M Kawasaki           GB
2    38  Alf's Endurance            P&M Kawasaki            GB
3    27  ACR1 Wobker Racing     RAU Kawasaki               D
4    27 TT Racing                       Moto-Martin GSX 1100    D
5    25 Guzzi Motobox               Moto Guzzi 1100             ESP
6    25 Kaiser Classic                 Nico Bakker                    D
7    25 MotoBel                         Moto Guzzi 1100              F
8    23  Team Glam                  P&M Kawasaki              GB
9    19 Project 34                       Moto-Martin GSX 1100     D
10  18 Road Runner                   Nico Bakker Suzuki         NL

The final round - Aragon 26th October 

The expected scrap between Sweatshop Phase One, Alf's Endurance and MotoBel got underway as soon as the meeting started. Each of the three teams had discreetly tested at the new Aragon circuit in the days and weeks leading to the race. Mick Godfrey (for Alf's) and Phase One's Peter Linden led the field with 2 min 10 sec laps. Linden had actually posted a best of 2.09.1 in testing but was keeping his powder dry.!
Both MotoBel and Moto Box looked strong in qualifying, each in the 2 min 12/13 sec bracket. Bob Collins for Glam was also returning to form.

Free practice and qualifying went well for Sweatshop Phase One who were fielding their normal team of Peter Linden, Hugh Brasher and Cormac Conroy. The dry warm conditions were almost identical to their October test, so tyre pressures, gearing, suspension settings and fuel consumption were all known. The whole of day one was spent on the T bike (15) with bike '17', the Cowie/Toleman 1978 endurance factory P&M machine being held back for the race.

Although the field was down slightly on Spa and Imola, with just 40 teams making the late season journey to Spain, most of the strong competitors were there. Team Kaiser, winners at Spa, did not however return with their illegal RAU Kawasaki, fitted with banned 4 piston calipers. MotoBel did come though, sporting a massive gas discharge light, which they seemed to get away with.!

Mick Godfrey and Patrick Banfield suffered a crash and engine problems in practice and were forced to qualify on the Team Glam spare bike, which was kindly loaned to them by James Clark. By race day Alf's had worked hard enough to produce a pretty good bike, which allowed laps of 2 mins 10 secs in the early stages of the race. A real credit to their teamwork.

At the riders meeting on race morning it was decided to shorten the race duration from 4 hrs to 3 hrs in the interests of safety, as much feedback had been given on racing in the dark at this particularly badly lit circuit, with such mixed ability of rider. The race still started at 17.00 hrs and ran to 20.00 hrs on the Saturday evening.

The Race - Sweatshop Phase One 2nd

Mick Godfrey, Charles Artigues (MotoBel) and Manel Segarra (Motobox) led away at a 2 mins 11-13 secs pace, with Charles Artigues leading. Linden started in the second wave for bikes without starter motors. By lap six he was sixth. On lap eight, he set a record lap of 2 mins 10.023 secs (140.6 KPH), which was to remain the fastest in the race, whilst chasing for the lead behind a super fast Mick Godfrey. By lap 10 Godfrey was in sight and the gap was closed to 7 secs. The two Guzzis were now just behind. Around lap 13 Alf's P&M unexpectedly pitted, their challenge for the championship effectively over. The blocked fuel filter which caused the stop and the 7 minutes pit stop, was time they would never recover. A second stop later in the race, for the same reason, really finished any comeback; they eventually finished 14th.

Linden handed over to Hugh Brasher after 17 race laps with a 5 second lead over MotoBel. Brasher returned an excellent stint, definitely his best of the year, to hold both MotoBel and Motobox at bay and after 38 laps passed the bike back to Linden with a 2 second lead. Almost immediately the MotoBel pit went silent; their machine had stopped on the other side of the circuit with mechanical problems - almost a repeat of the Spa 4 hrs when they suffered engine failure after 11 laps. But, despite the demise of MotoBel, the lead was not secure, the second Segarra brother had taken over and was just 2 secs behind Linden by lap 42.  Peter Linden's stint was planned to be short, but he made good use of it and by the hand-over to Cormac Conroy on lap 50, he was 6 secs clear. Cormac pushed hard, after the Motobox stop there was a true 2 secs seperating the teams, with Phase One leading. His stint was 20 laps and he didn't disappoint - at the final handover, with 44 minutes remaing, the team were still leading, a job well done.

After Linden's second stint, his right wrist was giving real trouble; It was agreed that he would ride into the darknesss phase with a seat pad to keep him stable and with a 'safe to the end 'strategy; going for the championship win and not jeopardising it by pushing. A seat pad was duely fitted, costing some 10 seconds and Linden resumed for the final stint.When things settled, we were some 20 seconds in arrears with 30 minutes to run. By the flag Linden had closed Motobox to 12 seconds, but a faster pace would have risked everything. We were all very pleased with his measured riding, and that of the rest of the line-up, to return Sweatshop Phase One with its first FIM European Classic Series championship win.

Thank you to all our team and sponsors for their support during this fantastic season.!!    RB

Aragon 3 hrs Race Results 

1  Motobox Guzzi    Manel Segarra / Sergi Segarra  ESP
2  Sweatshop P1     Peter Linden/Hugh Brasher/Cormac Conroy GB
3  ACR1                 Wobker/ Matthies/       D
4  Glam Racing        Bob Collins /James Clark     GB
5  Les Melting         Laghi / Langlois      F
6  TT Racing           Arzner / Wagner / Tippelt    D
7  Road Runner       Dirk Brand/Henk Van der Mark  NL
8  Scuderia              Belluci/ Ricci/Barganacchi     ITA
9  Red Fox Grinta    De Vos / Steenhaut  B
10 Moto Spanjer      Schoens /Jansen   NL

Also finished

14 Alf's Endurance  Mick Godfrey /Patrick Banfield.  GB

Phase One at Ainsa

The 11th Phase One Ainsa trip was a great success once again. New recruit Peter Linden fitted in well and avoided any injury prior to the Aragon race. In fact, this year there were no injuries, which was a first.

The south side of the reservoir, fuller than normal
This year 9 off roaders made the full contingent
Pena Montenesa dominates the northern view

A misty dawn on day 3

Paella a la Linden

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Aragon ; The ECS final round showdown

The final 4hrs round of the ECS is scheduled for next Saturday night, 26th October.
The scrap for the championship honours is the most exciting prospect in classic endurance for years. With the championship growing like no other, already with five races planned for 2014, across 5 countries and with full grids, winning this inaugural series is crucial. Currently, any one of eight teams can win the series, let alone the race.!

There are truly four favourites; Kaiser and MotoBel, winners at Imola and Spa, plus the series leaders, Sweatshop Phase One and Alf’s endurance. Each of these teams have particular strengths and weaknesses and we have worked hard to turn our  weaknesses into strengths !

From our team’s perspective, all the necessary preparation work has been completed; the new engine spec has been proven at the classic Bol (fastest race lap), the overall lightening work has been successful and the new brakes and pads are tested.
The rider line-up is also as ready as possible following two days successful testing at the circuit last week and with a further top up test planned for this Thursday.
During the tests a good setting was found which will allow the team to go fast early on Friday for official free practice.

Particular thanks are due to Hugh at Sweatshop for making the tests possible and also Etienne at Beringer and Allan at SBS for getting the new parts to the circuit in time for the test.
The race is planned to start at 17.00 hours on Saturday afternoon. It will again be true endurance, rewarding teams that return strong day and night performances.
We hope to see you there. RB

Races for 2014

Paul Ricard 4hrs 4th -6th April (ECS)

Imola 4hrs 16th-18th May (ECS)

Mettet 2+2 hrs TBA June

Spa 4 hrs 4th-6th July (ECS)

Nurnburgring 4 hrs TBA (ECS)

Oschersleben 4 hrs TBA, mid August

Classic Bol 2+2 hrs TBA mid Sept

Aragon 4hrs TBA October (ECS)

Misano 4hrs TBA October

Monday, 23 September 2013

Classic Bol washout.!!

You win some and you lose some. !! This really wasn't a great weekend, but it was no disaster either.
We were plagued with rain in all four races. Both the post classic legs and the first classic were real washouts, with only the second classic giving a little dry track in the second half; actually enough for Linden to post fastest lap by two full seconds !! That really was the only good bit.

So, to summarise; in the classics, on the P&M and in the wet, we were 16th in the first leg and 5th in the second, giving us 12th overall and 2nd in class. On the 'Team Bike' RC30 we led at half distance in leg one and then made the difficult decision to discontinue in the interests of rider safety whilst leading. At that point almost a third of the field had fallen and we didn't want our riders to suffer the same fate.

Why pull out I hear you say. Well its like this; the problem is with the regulations. The rules state that we have to use road homologated tyres. That prevents the use of wets or cut road tyres and effectively means that without a road legal wet weather tyre we cannot compete safely. After much discussion with the organisers (Lariviere organisation) over the weekend they have acknowledged this fact and have agreed to allow wets in the post classic race next year, but still not in the classic.That battle is still there to be fought.

So, despite the average results, there were some real positives from the weekend; the new engine went well, definitively giving more usable power and the new batteries and headlight combination was effective and reliable. On the post classic side, it was a pleasure to meet with all the Team bike crew once again and particularly Hilkka, Mikael Lees, Dermot Rycroft, Ian Lucas and Brian Capper, all of whom made it for the weekend. I think that everyone had a good time despite the weather. It was a pity that Ian Martin, who had put much of the organisation in, could not make it.

Peter Linden warms up after a freezing classic first leg

From the Sweatshop Phase One perspective; a big thank you to all the team members, plus Hugh, Peter and all the sponsors.You are doing a good job. Aragon is next and that's the one that matters.!!! Lets prepare well and get it right.


Monday, 9 September 2013

Classic Bol next weekend.!

Frankly, we have never done really well at the classic Bol.! We were third a few years ago and we won the first leg last year, but that doesn't count as we crashed out in the second. We rejoined and finished 5th,

I certainly wouldn't say it was an unlucky place for us, but then, it is certainly not a lucky place either.! Magny Cours, the circuit where we clinched the 2000 championship - how can I speak badly of her?. Well, there is just no affection. It goes back a long way. Was Magny Cours the robber that stole the Bol from Paul Ricard, or the Bol d'Or's saviour, providing a home when Bernie Ecclestone was the thief.?
Who can tell ?

The classic Bol d'Or will be run in two x 2 hr legs, one on the evening of Saturday 14th September and one in the afternoon of the 15th. Its a nice format that allows for some good racing followed by equally good socialising. As mentioned in previous posts, there is also a pair of post classic race legs, preceding the main events, in which we will be running Linden and Brasher on the Howard Lees Racing Honda RC30.

I think that the social side of things will definitely take a boost as Mikael Lees and his mother Hilkka, plus some other ex-Howard Lees Racing people are also due to come. The era of 'Team Bike', 'Team MCN', 'That's Racing', 'Team Townsend Thoresen', etc (all Howard's teams) was a long time ago, but many of us still have vivid memories of some of the team's exploits.

Personally, I have just one, that of Kenny Irons on the Harris framed FZ750, at Le Mans in 1986, in the snow - fastest on track by far and still completely in control. That race put Kenny Irons firmly on the map for me; a truly giant killing session ! And that was on one of Howard's bikes. So, for that reason alone it will be a pleasure to run the RC30 next weekend; a tribute to Howard's efforts and to allow me the indulgence of enjoying the Kenny Irons memory once again.

Anyway, looking forward is much more fun. Hugh Brasher hasn't raced a RC30 before, so he has got that joy to come. Our team will have the dubious pleasure of being absolutely flat-out, running four endurance races over one weekend. And Peter Linden, together with us, will be trying to win all four.!! Roll -on Saturday.  



Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Dominance in Germany !!

The Sweatshop Phase One squad dominated in the Oschersleben 4 hrs race after taking the lead after just 30 minutes, from the Spa winning German Kaiser Kawasaki Team. the race was held on the evening of Friday 15th August as the support class to the official WEC 8 hrs race which was held on the Saturday. Linden started and settled the first few laps in a modest 4th position,having qualified in second. He spent several laps eyeing the opposition and feeling the track. Conditions were good, with only light wind and high 20 degrees C at the 17.30 race start. It was to be a warm and clear race.

By lap 10 Kaiser had carved a 10 second lead and Linden had moved to second place. Gradually Linden's superior fitness began to show as Kaiser slowed slightly. Linden posted the teams fastest lap during the chase down, an impressive 1min 38.93secs. Then the tide really turned as a misfire set into Kaiser's machine. The Bakker Kawasaki was really suffering by the 40 minute mark and was forced to pit for a 10/15 minute stop, before returning later to take 6th place at the flag.

Cormac Conroy took over for the first of his two stints after 44 minutes of racing and a 16 second changeover pit stop. He settled pretty much immediately into a 1min 42sec rhythm which was absolutely spot on; the balance between pace and risk being perfect for the conditions in hand and the point in the race. He was riding, in the lead like an old endurance pro. Actually nothing much seems to phase him; definitely a Mr Cool.!!

At stop 1 the team had noted a looser chain than should be expected after just 44  minutes of racing and at stop 2 some 15 seconds were invested in adjustment, despite the growing challenge from the Bolliger Kawasaki, in only its second race - they suffered early race engine failure at Spa.  The stop was slow, but it was worth it; no more chain problems and a clear reliability run, with the exception of a headlight failure in the final hour.

Linden took over for his second stint at 19.05 hrs and settled for 41's, nothing quicker was needed - already the riders had been issued with a rev limit and he was observing it. Cormac came under some pressure from Kellenburger on the Bolliger bike, which closed to within 88 seconds an hour from the end, but it could not be classed as a real threat.

Linden took the flag at 21.30hrs  after his 3rd stint, reporting that his biggest race problem was being blinded by the low sun at just past 20.00hrs. The best races are always the boring ones.!!  

Bolliger finished second, around 2 laps adrift with the ever constant Boam/Clark Harris Suzuki in a very creditable 3rd position after a trouble free run.

Cormac and Peter both went on to win a race apiece in the German classic superbike championship  12 lappers on Sunday, bagging even more silverware

The most memorable part being Cormac seeing off some very big horsepower opposition on his Contis, being tested in damp conditions for the first time.It was a three win weekend - they don't come round very often; a big thank you to all our team and sponsors !! 

Next ; the classic Bol d'Or on the September 15th/16th weekend where the team will field Peter Linden and Hugh Brasher on the Team Bike Honda RC30 in the post classic race as well as the trusty P&Ms in the classic..

The Team also tested one of its 1993 ZXR 750s, in preparation for future post classic racing

Monday, 12 August 2013

Oschersleben 4hrs 16th August

Peter Linden and Cormac Conroy will represent the team at this years Oschersleben 4 hrs. The race is part of German Speedweek and will take place during Friday evening. On Sunday, there are also two classic superbike races which the team will also take part in.

Hugh Brasher, who recently confirmed financial support for the 2014 season from Sweatshop, will be back on board at the classic Bol d'Or next month.

The team will test seven new items during the 4 hrs, including HID lights, batteries, rear calipers, front master cylinders, rear and swinging arm spindles, a fork brace and carburettors. The massive test programme has been stored up for this race as it does not form part of the ECS.

Plus, a new sponsorship deal with Beringer has resulted in the new rear calipers and master cylinders. The new front calipers should be available to test later this season.

At Oschersleben, the team will also test a new P&M recently purchased as a 'spare' bike,with a plan to give the team greater security against a significant component failure.

And, the restoration of one of the team's 1991 ZXR Kawasaki post-classic bikes is almost finished and will get an Oschersleben run out. It is hoped to début this bike in earnest at the 2014 post-classic Bol d'Or.

Monday, 5 August 2013

TEAM BIKE - Back for the Classic Bol, with Phase One.

If all goes to plan, Peter Linden and Hugh Brasher will compete on the Team Bike Honda RC30 in the 2nd post classic Bol d'Or, which runs alongside the classic race at Magny Cours 13th-15th September. There is a 2 hr leg on the Saturday evening and another on the Sunday afternoon.

At Spa last month, the team hatched a plan with Mikael Lees, his mother Hilkka, Mat Oxley and other representatives of the old Howard Lees Racing team, to dig out one of their Honda RC30s and get it on track again. Re-uniting Peter Linden with the team he once raced for was especially appealing to Hilkka.
Steve Chambers (That's Racing -HLR) battles it out with Pete Linden at Paul Ricard

At the time of writing, the bike is still in Finland, but is scheduled to be shipped to the UK by Chas Mortimer and delivered to the Phase One workshops later in August. Prior to us getting hold of it, Brian Capper, who was heavily involved in the team in the 1980s, will cast his eye over it to give us the benefit of his relevant experience.

Once in the workshops, Phase One's Layne Wilson will lead the team's race preparation efforts.

We pack the truck for the classic Bol on the 8th September, so there will be alot of work top do in a short timescale....but its doable.!!

If we think we are pushed, then so are the race organisers. Last year there were just 6 entries for this embryonic class, which ended up being run within the classic Bol race- much to the dismay of the half dozen classic entries that got hoofed out. This year we are guaranteed  two separate races. As a result of last year, the organisers haven't yet updated the technical regs...and being French are unlikely to do so until they finish their month long holidays in late August. So, those fundamental questions like; can we use slicks and wets, can we use 4 cylinder calipers, can we use closed fuelling systems and what colour plates do we need, will just have to wait.
Peter and Vesa (Kultalahti) meet in the pitlane at the Spa Classic

Anyway, right now the focus is on the Oschersleben 4 hrs on 16th August........its on the Friday night, just after WEC qualifying, so fly early. More of that before we go.


Monday, 8 July 2013

Sweatshop Phase One - joint leaders of ECS after 3rd at Spa.


Peter Linden, Hugh Brasher and Cormac Conroy moved ahead of the French MotoBel team to claim equal top spot in the European Classic championship, after a fine third place finish in Saturday's Spa Francorchamps 4 hrs race. The championship leaders, the MotoBel Guzzi team, failed to finish after expiring with engine problems on lap 10 of the 77 lap night race.

The top of the championship has now become a British duel between Sweatshop Phase One and the fast improving Alf's motorcycles entry of Mick Godfrey and Patrick Banfield, who finished second at Spa on their P&M Kawasaki. Richard Peckett and Peter McNab must  surely be having a chuckle at this.!
So, its a second and a third place apiece, now with equal points, going into the final round at Aragon in October. What a prospect.!

At Spa, it was perfectly obvious that the standard of entry and depth of interest was increasing enormously. The 4 hrs entry list was massively over subscribed with entries being limited to 85, for the 70 places on the grid, from the 120 that applied. Back at Mettet in June there were 4 world champions in the field - there were even more this time. For the teams, the addition of a Bolliger Kawasaki, with Marcel Kellenberger and Michael Galinski, must give the ECS even more credibility. And  technically things are moving on very rapidly, maybe even too rapidly; several HID lights, 4 piston calipers and remote reservoir shock absorbers were spotted  - all of which are illegal under the regs; oh yes and some under 30 years old riders were also there - strictly against the 30 year old minimum age limit. ! Anyway, that aside, Stephane Merten's 2012 lap record was smashed by over a second, down to 2 mins 43.56 secs, by the Arzner/Merkens Moto Martin, so things are moving forward apace.

The race.

The four hour race was held in warm and dry conditions from 20.00 hrs to midnight on Saturday 6th July.

For us, the race was split into six rotas of different lengths, the lengths being determined by the time of dusk, the 45 min maximum period between stops and the maximum single rider riding time rule (any rider could not complete more than 160 minutes of the 240 minute race) - much more complicated than the WEC, I can tell you.!

Peter did four rotas (being fastest and fastest at night) and Cormac and Hugh one each. We developed the stop windows before the race and stuck rigidly to them knowing that the strategy was optimum, even if disrupted by pace car - which it was,twice during the race.  The rider order was; PL-CC-PL-HB-PL-PL.

After a fine start, (as usual from the back with the other non-starter motor entries) Peter took the bike into the top ten by stop one, some 33 minutes into the race. He would normally have made more places , but almost 50% of the first rota was under pace car after a not serious but messy crash on lap one. Cormac built well with a trouble free second rota to claim 4 th spot by 21.10 hrs. Dusk was in and Peter then pushed hard, getting down to 2 min 48 sec laps before pitting to hand to Hugh at about 21.57 hrs, again in 4 th spot. The pace was definitely hotter than in 2012.

Hugh then delivered a fine safe darkness rota, holding off challenges to maintain 4 th position at 22.37 hrs, when he handed over to Linden for his planned double stint (to maximise the use of his night time skills).
Peter pushed as hard as he was able, following a single headlight failure soon after dusk, to close down on Taurus in third. By 23.15 he had done it , third was ours, but Alf, with Mick on board was almost 2 minutes in front in second. The chase, with only 45 mins remaining, was not likely to be successful, so no 'push' was given. At 23.25 hrs it became apparent that Alf's rear lights had failed; they tried to call Mick in , but he wasn't watching the board - after 12 laps he pitted (who knows how riders minds actually work?) and replacement lights were fitted in a speedy 25 seconds, enabling them to hold second, but with a reduced margin of 37 secs.

At Midnight, the German Kaiser/Steinmacher Nico Bakker team won the race, with Alf second, Phase One third and Taurus fourth.
A magnificent race. !

Other British interest;

Sam Neate/Nige Manning-Morton finished in a very creditable 9th position on their unfaired Honda, prepared by the Neates

Steve Boam and Steve Clark, who finished 10th on their Harris Suzuki after a problem with a fractured oil filler.

Phil Sharpe, with Team Bimbo was 18th.

Niz Khan was 19th on his 'Eighty angry horses' Kawasaki, with Gerard Jolivet

Phil Davenport and Wayne Gow were 37th on their P&M Suzuki.

Steve Dobbie/Mark George and Paul Wilby were not classified, but completed 68 laps.

Robert Chambers/Aidy Brenham and Peter Boast completed 46 laps on their Harris Magnum, but were not classified.

Team Glam, with Bob Collins and James Clark went out on lap 33 with engine failure and were not classified.

John Neate/Steven Neate expired after 11 laps and were not classified.

Bolliger Kawasaki suffered engine failure ( seizure) after 10 laps and were not classified.

Sweatshop Phase One are out next at Oschersleben between 15th-18th August, for the 4 hrs race which is being held again in conjunction with the WEC during German Speedweek. As well as the 4hrs, there are some classic sprint races in which both Peter and Cormac will be competing.

A big thank you to all team and sponsors.

See you at Oschersleben.


Championship positions plus photographs to follow!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

European Classic Championship - Round 2 Spa Francorchamps 4 hours. 6th /7th July

This weekend the team head for Spa, with one of the best line-ups ever - Linden, Brasher and Conroy.
The team returned fresh from their Mettet 4 hrs. win in June determined to better the 2nd place achieved in the first round of the ECC at Imola. The main competition is likely to come from the Moto-Bel Guzzi, Haquin Kawasaki and Kaiser/Kaiser, all top three runners at Spa last year. Back at Mettet, Stephane Mertens told us that Dholda Honda, winner in the last two races, would not compete this time due to lack of funds; a real shame if that turns out to be the case. More competition should come also from the Glam team of James Clark and Bob Collins, who failed to find form at Imola, but surely will be at the top again at this one.

Since Mettet the team have moved forward in several areas; there is a new pit perch in the pit lane, new posters, new team clothing and some bike improvements as well. New strengthened tacho brackets have been brought into service since early season failures of the originals, plus improved cross over gear linkages, following a failure at Imola.

So, its back on with the lights for the first night race of the year. see you Saturday night. The race starts at 8.00 PM and runs to 00.00.AM

Monday, 3 June 2013

Mertens – 100th career win at Mettet!

Peter Linden and Stéphane Mertens won last weekend’s 4 hours of Liege, the Classic Endurance event held at Mettet, notching Merten’s 100th win.

The Sweatshop Phase One Kawasaki was put on pole by Mertens with a blistering lap of 1.12.3 secs, with Mettet first timer, Peter Linden also topping his group with a 1.13.9 second lap.
The Richard Hubin Harris Suzuki qualified second and the British Steve Boam/Steve Clarke Harris Suzuki was third.

The full grid (33 are allowed) contained no less than four world endurance champions and exotica abounded! Moto Martins, Harris’s, P&M’s, through to TTF1 900 Ducati twins. One team even tried their luck on a TR 750 Suzuki two stroke. There really were some very serious entries – but regrettably arch rivals, the MotoBel Guzzi team was not there.

The race was held in two, 2 hour legs, one on the Saturday afternoon and the other on Sunday. Mertens and Linden won them both. The second leg was a real highlight with Mertens dicing with Richard Hubin, swopping the lead for the first 25 minutes. Hubin eventually faded but finished the leg in 2nd.

Peter Linden’s 2013 performance continues to be impressive. Second fastest of the weekend and that despite being new to Mettet. At this one he played the support rider for a change, and who could want a better partner. For the reunited pair, racing again for the first time in 13 years, it really was a dream weekend.

Steve Boam and Steve Clark, on their Harris Suzuki, saw off opposition from the Roger Ruiz and Richard Hubin Teams to snatch 2nd place on aggregate by a mere 9 seconds .

Thank you to Sweatshop, Continental and our other sponsors for your continued support.


1st  Mertens/Linden  Sweatshop Phase One P&M Kawasaki  180 laps
2nd Boam /Clark      SCERT Harris Suzuki                           176 laps
3rd  Ruiz/Ruiz           Suzuki  GSXR                                   176 laps
4th  Blain/Blain         Kawasaki 1000J                                 172 laps
5th  DeVos/Steenhaut   Ducati TT 900                                172 laps 6th  Senechal/Frerad     Suzuki GSXR                                 170 laps

With thanks to the photographers, Jacco Dijkhuizen and Pascal Kinds

Monday, 20 May 2013

Stephane Mertens joins Peter Linden for the Mettet 4 hrs.

The 2000 World Endurance Championship winning team of Peter Linden and Stephene Mertens reforms for next weekend's 2 x 2hrs race at Mettet. The event runs over the weekend of 1st/2nd June, with an afternoon race on each day,on the recently revamped Ardennes circuit in southern Belgium.

In 2000, these two, with Warwick Nowland, stamped their authority on a fiercely competitive season. After seeing off the factory entries, the main competition, as expected was the superfast and reliable Kawasaki of GMT 94. Despite Phase One Endurance scoring podium places at 3 of the 6 races, it was GMT that pushed them to a down to the wire battle at the Bol d'Or. And what a battle; both teams fought for 15 hrs for the podium on one of those dank misty Magny Cours weekends. As the advantage went from one team to another the night fight was first broken by Linden, and not in a good way!.Whilst pushing hard to close the gap between 3rd and 4th he fell, not badly but badly enough to drop two places after repairs. With such a competitive field it looked like the team would struggle to  make up, with only 9 hrs remaining; but with luck swinging evenly, it was now GMT's turn and this time it was certainly big trouble. It was mechanical.They got it back to the box and to the uninitiated (not that there were many of those at 06.00 on a Sunday morning) it looked minor, but to those who looked closely, the rod sticking out of the front told the real story. Game over;its endurance after all. ! Six out of six for Phase One - what a season.

So, Mertens and Linden back in Belgium together after all these years, what an exciting prospect...they were 2nd at the Spa 24hrs last time and Mertens won for Phase One at Mettet last year. Who knows what next weekend will deliver - in addition to lots of fun of course.

Mettet is 3hrs from Calais, you really have no excuses. !!             

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Sweatshop Phase One -2nd at Imola.

Peter Linden and Cormac Conroy took a fantastic pole position at last weekend Imola 4hrs, the first round of the European Classic Championship (ECC). The pair qualified first, in mixed conditions, but because of the ‘no pushers ‘rule started from 45th position, with the other no-starter motor entries. 
The 54 starters all got away cleanly in the mid- 20Cs,  but overcast conditions, at 15.20, for what was to be a fantastic race. !

Team no 111, the German Classic Endurance Team (Frank Heidger and Christian Ganter) took an early  lead closely followed by Taurus and Hampe, with Christian Haquin at the helm. On lap 3, still with only moderately warm tyres, Haquin slid off whilst pushing for the lead, handing the challenge to the  MotoBel Guzzi and Team Taurus. Meanwhile Linden had set fastest lap whilst carving through the traffic to pass Motobel on lap 6 and to take the lead on lap 9. It was truly a performance to be proud of. 

Linden pushed hard at 2 min 08/09 pace pulling a 21.6 second lead over MotoBel by stop 1 at 42 minutes. Conroy, an able and successful BSA Rocket 3 racer delivered a fast and measured performance to deliver an increased lead of 26 seconds over MotoBel, with Italian Team Fusco trailing them by stop 2.

The field was slowed during rota 3 by light rain, which most teams successfully negotiated; one however fell, necessitating 4 pace car laps. This was timed awkwardly for the team as it has to pit under the pace car (to avoid violating the max. 45 minutes stint rule) which cost the team nearly 4 minutes. This dropped the Team to 4th – and with the field being so competitive, it would be impossible to retake the lead, which had been gifted to MotoBel, with Alf (Mick Godfry and Patrick Banfield) second and Team Glam (James Clark and Bob Collins) in third.

Now the fight was really on – but Conroy’s progress was hampered by a failing plug cap and a failing gearlink crossover mechanism. Both were changed at stop 4 and, whilst at 5th . Linden once again took the helm and was told to pull the pin, which he duly did, delivering another fastest lap (a low 2 min 08secs) whilst chasing  Alf and Glam . The drama wasn’t over yet though, Mick Godfrey had got the signal to defend hard and in doing so, took a new and final fastest lap of 2 min 07.5 secs to hold second at the final stop.

Any worries that the new soft compound Conti front would not last the distance were dispelled when Cormac set his fastest lap (2 min 10.3)  during the Team’s  last rota to retake second place from Alfs P&M Kawasaki  ten laps before the flag.

To close;  what a fantastic performance by the riders, pit crew and sponsors – without any part the result just could not have happened – the tyres were great, the riding outstanding and the pit crew 1st class. Second after round one is a tremendous position to be in, and with a fastest lap  a full 3 seconds ahead of the round 1 winners, and tyres lasting the full 4hrs, we are perfectly set for the season.
Mettet is on the weekend of 31st May/1st June, when Peter Linden will join Stephane Mertens on the Sweatshop Phase One bike for the 2 x 2hrs event.


During the race Sweatshop Phase One chose to stop under the pacecar( which was lapping unpredictably slowly)  to avoid violating the 45 min riding time rule and thus handed the lead to MotoBel.  MotoBel did not make a similar stop and (I believe) mistakenly, went for a 48 mins.
This, if the race director had spotted, it would have resulted in a stop and go. Now this is the good bit – because the director didn’t see it, the MotoBel team boss agreed to Russell’s request to hold the bike for a self imposed 30 second penalty at their next pitstop – which they duly did. OK, they still took the overall advantage, but it was sporting nevertheless.!!

The final top ten;
1st   MotoBel, Moto Guzzi  
       Christophe Charles Artigues/ Laurent Sleurs, 104 laps,  25 points
2nd  Sweatshop Phase One,  P&M Kawasaki,  
        Peter Linden/ Cormac Conroy, 103 laps,  20 points
3rd  Alfs Classic Endurance Team,  P&M Kawasaki  
       Mick Godfrey/ Pat Banfield,  103 laps,  16 points
4th  Fusco  Ducati TT2 
      Giancarlo Rossi/Duilio Daniani,  103 laps,  13 points
5th  ACR1, RAU Kawasaki Z1000, 
      Ralf Wobker/Ronald Matthier, 102 laps,  11 points
6th  Glam Racing  P&M Kawasaki  
      Bob Collins/ James Clark , 102 laps, 10 points
7th Road Runner, Bakker Suzuki, 
      Henk v.d. Mark/Dirk Brand, 99 laps, 9 points
8th TT Racing, Moto Martin Suzuki, 
      Bruno Arzner/Thomas Wagner, 99 laps, 8 points
9th GWCRT Racing Moto Feeling, Godier Genoud Replica, 
      Patricia Audebert/Patrick Rigaud, 98 laps, 7 points
10th Team Project 34, Moto Martin Suzuki, 
       Thomas Hofmann/Thomas Schuler, 98 laps, 6 points

Sunday, 14 April 2013

New colours for Imola

We decided to move forward into 2013 with the Team's traditional colours. First shown in 1989 and just as fast today!


Note the new ignition system and its thick protective plate.