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