Hugh Brasher – Phil Atkinson – Ant Hart.
A pole and a second in qualifying and a 22nd position finish in the race.
With fantastic qualifying performances by each rider, but particularly by Phil Atkinson, the team was hoping to repeat last year’s rostrum performance. However, speed can’t be turned into a result without reliability.!
Our downfall came from a stop due to a broken weld in the gear selector mechanism, (7mins 43 secs) which led to a secondary selector problem necessitating the removal of the clutch and a massive 48min 2 sec. stop.
The team responded immediately, tucking into the clutch removal and simultaneously removing the clutch from the spare engine to expose the necessary parts should they be needed. The stop was slow by the team’s historic standards, but there was no lack of effort or enthusiasm from team members; they were going to get that bike back on track and finish whatever.! A lot was learnt and a similar stop in the future would be tackled much more quickly. In recent years the team have been spoilt by good reliability and nobody can actually remember when the last mid-race engine strip took place, so only few have any experience.
Once the bike was returned to track, both Ant Hart, who did a marvellous ‘backbone of the race rota’ and Phil Atkinson were absolutely on it, Atkinson passing race leader Fastre and un-lapping himself at one stage. That particular battle seemed to worry the Force Team sufficiently to rapidly call Fastre in, to remove him from the skirmish.!
Hugh Brasher finished the race off with a steady, reliable stint ensuring that the team completed the distance and qualified as finishing. That’s what we do – endurance.
Pole was set by Greg Fastre (Team Force Suzuki, Fastre/Mertens) 1min 46.16 secs. Stephane Mertens did the next fastest qualifying lap of 1 min 46.77 secs. Phil Atkinson was third fastest with a 1min 47.19 secs. Ant Hart did 1min 49.7 secs ( pole in group three) and Hugh Brasher was on 1min 57.02 secs.( 8th in group one)
And – what a superb endurance debut for Ant Hart; first time at Misano, first time on the team’s bike and first time racing at night – an absolutely top performance.!
So, the shortest season ever has now been completed, with a back-to-back Misano, and we were very pleased to be part of it. We very much thank the organisers who made it happen, when weaker characters would have given up. We also thank the other teams who chose to be there to give their support – for the thirty or so dedicated ones, it was a great race meeting and well worth it.
I could not wish to be associated with a better group of hardworking and committed team members, riders and sponsors. thanks to you all and roll on 2021. RB