Sweatshop Phase One now tie in the lead going into the final round of the 2014 FIM European Classic Series at Aragon next month. After a faultless performance by riders Linden, Brasher and Conroy on the Team’s new 1981 P&M Suzuki 1230, they hold 61 points, equal with Belgium’s Team Force Moreno Suzuki of 2013 World Superstock Endurance champion Greg Fastre and ex-world champ Richard Hubin.
After a damp qualifying which saw a frantic battle for pole, Taurus came out on top with Team Force, Alf’s, Sweatshop, TT Black Forest and Kaiser all within 2.5 secs.
Pole setters Taurus provided the first excitement of the race by crashing on the second corner of the sighting lap. The start of the 4hrs race followed, slightly early, at 11.55. TT Black Forest (Arzner/Merkens) stormed away, together with Kaiser (Kaiser/Steinmacher), closely pursued by Team Force with Sweatshop completing lap 1 in 5th. By lap 10 Team Force with Fastre aboard was leading followed by Kaiser with a rapidly closing Linden for Sweatshop Phase One in 3rd. On lap 13, Linden made his move and passed Kaiser and Fastre on the same lap to take the lead before pitting on lap 17.
During the second and third rotas, Sweatshop Phase One consolidated second position, never more than about 100 secs adrift from Team Force who retook and held the lead in this period. In rota two Hugh Brasher put in a sterling performance after a spectacular, if painless practice crash. By mid race Sweatshop Phase One were back at the top after Team Force lost two laps with a blown fuse ( followed by further delays replacing a missing belly pan) with Alf’s Endurance (Godfrey/Collins) fighting for second with Kaiser Kawasaki. That particular battle ended with the Kaiser engine expiring around the third hour mark. Sweatshop Phase One’s rota four was competently handled by Cormac Conroy.
By the fifth and the final rota the race was set – Linden back in control at the front (double stinting the Sweatshop bike), followed by Alf’s Endurance P&M Kawasaki and the very consistent pairing of 1984 Le Mans 24hrs winners, Dirk Brand and Henk van der Mark on the Nico Bakker Roadrunner entry in third. Team Force finished the race in 5th position.
At 15.55, the team celebrated its win, amazed that with an injured Linden (4 broken ribs and a bruised lung from a previous crash in Sweden) and an untested Suzuki, that it was possible.
Thanks to all who made this marvellous win possible, notably Hugh Brasher, Peter Linden, Lee and Ray Marchant and all at Continental Tyres.
1. Sweatshop Phase 1, P&M Suzuki, Brasher-Linden-Conroy105 laps
2. Alf’s Classic Endurance, P&M Kawasaki, Godfrey-Collins 104 laps
3. Roadrunner Suzuki, Bakker Suzuki, Brand-van der Mark 102 laps
4. ACR Team Wobker, Kawasaki, Wobker-Matthies 102 laps
5. Team Force, Moreno Suzuki, Fastre-Hubin 101 laps
6. Braghi Corse, Ducati, Rossi-Damiani 101 laps
Photographs by Jacco Dijkhuizen and Jonathan Godin