After a whirlwind 19 day trip to race against the top F2 teams in the North, the team has now returned to NZ with a great result considering the entire campaign was put together less than 3 weeks before the event!
Over 40,000 KM of Air Travel, 4,300KM of driving in a fully laden Van across 5 Countries saw the team gain the respect of their fellow sidecar teams,spectators and officials at the amazing Oschersleben circuit- and the incredible racing that took place over the weekend didn't disappoint after travelling from the other side of the world;)
Directly after landing in Heathrow,the team collected a rental van and drove a further 7 hours north to collect their 600cc F2 machine- A bike that had previously been used for the Isle of Man TT, powered by a Suzuki GSXR engine. The guys were happy with the way the bike looked, as they'd only seen it in pictures before they arrived in the UK!
The next two days were spent driving to the south coast and putting the team graphics onto the old paint- no time for a re-spray with only a few days before we hit the track! Then the drive north to collect our UK support crew and an assortment of loaned tools( Massive thanks to James), without which it would've been impossible to race.
An early morning Ferry saw us cover France,Belgium,Luxemburg and the lower parts of Germany to stay in it's oldest town,Trier- Here we were welcomed by the organiser of the World F2 Trophy and treated to a night of good food and German hospitality.
A further 500 kilometres saw us all convoy into Oschersleben under the threat of stormy conditions, but fortunately the clouds parted in time for us to setup our wee awning in between the larger teams transport trucks and mobile workshops- it was great to be welcomed by all the larger teams and public upon our arrival, with cups of tea and even members of the public asking for us to autograph pictures of our F1 bike in NZ that they'd got off the internet!
Practise day dawned, and our first outing on the bike proved that setup for the Isle of Man is def not suited to a smooth circuit race! Multiple adjustments and even the purchase of a harder spring allowed us to develop the handling of the bike over the day to a point that we were feeling better with the bike.
Qualifying: A great result for us on a new bike, new track, and some VERY fast competition with us ending up 9th on the grid... but it was AFTER qualifying we discovered that the front rim had developed a leak resulting in the unforgiving handling that had been throwing the lads around as they tried to go faster... 4 PSI is not ideal!
Race day: Race 1 was a slower start with us coming into the first lap in 11th- the handling was doing what is was supposed to now, and the boys fought hard to reclaim to 7th place before encountering a faulty wire in the kill switch which forced them to retire from the race.. unfortunately we hadn't had time to run over the electrics prior to leaving for the track and the switch had seen better days!
Race 2: Back on the grid! Last race of the day and a blistering start by all teams saw the crowds holding their breath into turn 1 with no gaps between the teams! By lap 3 there was only 2 sec between the front runners and us, and we had a fierce battle going on between ourselves,Mike Rosher, and the Japanese team for 8th place- we managed to hold off the attacks from both these teams in some VERY close proximity racing until the race was red -flagged on lap 10 due to the onset of rain.
All in all we managed to run comfortably with the mid-pack of the fastest F2's around, our lap times of 1:43's were only 5 Sec off the pace of current F1/F2 World champion Time Reeves on his factory backed Kawasaki F2 LCR- and we developed a great relationship with some amazing people who all love racing sidecars. We soon discovered that the Sidecar paddock is the same, regardless of where in the world it is,language barriers, or resources available- all the teams were willing to help us with information, tools, and every other aspect to get the most out of our first European experience!
A massive thanks to the ongoing support,belief and interest from our fellow motorsport lover Mr Carl Cox-without whom these adventures would not be possible, and special mention to those that helped us in many ways either in Europe or back home in NZ.
James Whorlow/Dave Smith/Ace Embroidery/Kiwibike/P&H Motorcycles UK/Bayride motorcycles NZ/Kevin(I was famous once)/The NZSRA/MNZ/Motorsport Photography NZ/ Electric Designs NZ/ Pam/ and the families and work of the boys who gave them the time off to pursue their dream of racing in a World Championship.
What's next you may ask? October sees us at the Barry Sheene event to be held at Hampton downs on the Windle F1 before we contest the national series over the summer- then rumour has it we'll be re-united with the wee 600 F2 on an Isle somewhere north of here in 2015 ;)
Gav,Barry,Robbie and Carl:)
Further info on the event results can be found HERE:)