Donington Park, then the Spa 4 hrs

Whilst the Chinavirus continues to frustrate international travel, the Team return to Donington Park for next weekend’s NG Racing National event. Phil Atkinson will pilot the XR69 in two classses to see how he goes against mostly more modern machinery. It will be the first time for years that the Team have contested a short circuit UK event like this and it is eagerly awaited, as the last race was at Misano some six months ago.

As an aside – this year’s Moto Giro d’ Italia event will start from the Misano paddock straight after the Misano 4hrs race in October. (not a coincidence as we will be transporting many of the old classic bikes to Italy in the race truck)

Peter Linden has fully recovered from his double knee replacement surgery and it raring to go….but just can’t get out of Sweden yet.! We shall have him on the bike at Spa come what may. The Team are scheduled to be on track there for the training day on Thursday 1st July, with free practice on the Friday, followed by qualifying and the race on Saturday evening.

Provided Peter’s race fitness is good, then we hope to get out on the TZs 350s, possibly as part of the superb German Championship, later in the year. Last year’s Most event really was good.

A month ago there was a three hour event in Spain and next week a four hour event is planned at Paul Ricard – both having to be missed due to the restrictions.

As far as this year’s other events are concerned – Misano in October is confirmed, but the other scheduled events at Magny Cours in August and Rijeka in September are yet to be fixed.

We will report back after Donington Park !

RB

Have a look on our Facebook page for day to day updates. https://www.facebook.com/phaseoneendurance

Steve ‘Chubby’ Cross

Chubby died peacefully yesterday at home with wife Jilly. Chub had sufferred a stroke in early April and had been hospitalised for three weeks before returning home.

Chubby was well known and respected by many in the world of motorcycle endurance racing, principally as the long term fueller for Phase One Endurance. Chub spent some ten years with the team, including the world championship winning years of 2000 and 2003, achievements for which he was rightfully very proud. His contribution was considerable.

He will be remembered by literally hundreds of fellow endurance enthusiasts as the big man with the big heart and the big smile, who maxed-out at all that he did – be it curries, laughs, stint lengths or determination.

Our notable memories will always include him wringing-out his neck towels into a bowl at Suzuka each year, after simply walking the short distance from the Flower Garden Hotel to the paddock. Plus, our memorable early morning work-ins at Spondon building race tanks. Chubby and sweary Bob were priceless together.

So, Chub dear teammate your final dump has been done and you have crossed the finishing line. And some race it was eh?. !!

The thoughts of all Phase One Endurance team members will surely be with Jilly and Steve’s parents at this time.

I will communicate information on arrangements here, as soon as I know them. RB

MC Electronics reconfirms support for 2021

At a time of great change for all of us, it was fantastic news that MC Electronics is back for another year in the Classic endurance paddock! The uninterupted sponsorship support that Sharon and Ian, company owners, have been giving the team for the last three seasons has been invaluable. It has given us the ability to afford race gearboxes in both the race engines and prepare a third spare engine. The reaffirmation of support came last week after a call from Russell Benney confirming that it was all systems go for 2021. The whole team wish MC Electronics a successful coming year in the railway safety equipment business. https://mcelectronics.co.uk/

If Covid restrictions are lifted, the team hope to be at Cadwell Park to test in late April with Phil Atkinson, Ant Hart and Hugh Brasher. With the first race planned at Paul Ricard three weeks later, the team will need to ramp up the workshop activity as well, to ensure that it is not caught napping.

At the time of writing there is still much doubt, on both sides of the channel, that our race will actually take place. Several factors need to fall into place. – the ability to travel away from the UK whilst staying within the law, the construction of a team (and riders) that can handle the return (and possibly forward) quarantine measures, the enrty limitations to get into France and perhaps most importantly; the decision that the event will be run at all. With so many variables, it is literally impossible to plan a calandar at the moment.

The 4 hours Classic Endurance planned dates are;

Paul Ricard 4hrs France 21/21nd May Spa 4 hrs Belgium 2/3rd July Magny Cours 4 hrs France 20/21st August Rijeka 4 hrs Croatia 3/4th September Misano 4hrs Italy 8/9th October

Peter Linden – update

Peter has now been successfully fitted with two new knees and is walking well. Angular movement is already sufficient on both knees to go racing; so in short, he is fit and ready to go. However, no matter how much he is chomping at the bit – travel is still impossible because of Covid rules, so we will be without him at Cadwell Park, but hope to get him back in the saddle before Spa.

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Endurance Museum

The first phase of the team’s endurance museum is now complete. It is planned to open it formally during the summer. So far there are examples of the 1993 World Championship winning (Doug Toland) Riders ZXR 750 Kawasaki, the 2000 Phase One GSXR 750 and one of the Team’s 2003 winning GSXR1000 K3 bikes and the 1978 factory Packett & McNab Kawasaki as campaigned by Bernie Toleman and John Cowie to great success. one of Frank Sheene’s 1966 TSS 250 Bultacos is also on display.

The second phase of the museum will be completed in 2022 and it is hoped to populate it with many more examples of UK endurance machinery from the 1960’s and 70’s. The intention is to provide a central home for as many notable endurance bikes as possible, covering the era of the Nortons, Triumphs and BSA’s through to the present day. There has been sixty years of rich history of endurance racing attributed to UK teams and entries, yet it is diverse and until now there has been no place to call home. It is planned to get all that success under one roof so it is not lost. Contributions invited.

2021 – Back on Track !

At last we have some certainty – with the vaccine just around the corner, we shall be back in the spring as strongly as ever. Getting out at Cadwell , Most and Misano last season was the tonic we all craved, this year lets take it with a good dose of Gin.!

Hugh Brasher, Phil Atkinson, Ant Hart and newly kneed Peter Linden, as well as the team, are absolutely up for it. The full championship is planned, lets get started !!!!!

Race dates available soon.

Best wishes to all for a successful 2021.

Russell and the Team

Fast at Misano !

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