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 !!!!!
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
It is with great pleasure that we welcome Anthony Hart to the team for this event, riding alongside Hugh Brasher and Phil Atkinson. Anthony ‘Ant’ is a highly accomplished and successful racer, with many recent TZ wins to his credit. With Phil Atkinson on blistering form this season (having won the NG championship and many races) plus the endurance experience of Hugh Brasher, all is set for a great meeting.
The race will be held at 18.00 hrs on Saturday 10th October and is the final round of the Italian Classic Championship as well as a European Championship race – not that there is a 2020 championship !
Free practice starts on Thursday afternoon, leading to Q1 and night practice on Friday, with Q2 on Saturday morning and warm-up at 3.25pm.
Historically, the race has been the highlight of a marvellous classic race weekend festival with all sorts of stores and exhibits relating to the classic scene. The team will be trying hard to better its 2019 2nd place, finishing 21 seconds behind Taurus – a fantastically close race and one in which we hope we can swap the top step of the podium.!
Ian Simpson was absolutely on fire at Most over the weekend of 8th/9th August. Fresh from his lockdown training regime, a slimmed down Simpson took to the new 2020 XR69 and the Most circuit like a duck to water. By the end of the free practice day Simpson was fastest on track, in front of all the German klassik championship regulars. At the close of the three qualification sessions he was also fastest with a fantastic 1min 45.67 lap in session two, with Thomas Meier on his ZXR in second on 1min 46.17. Session two was fastest, with track temperatures in the mid-40deg Cs, before rising to 50deg C in the final session, when the air temperature was a blistering 36 deg C. the achievement was all the more remarkable as this was achieved on a 1986 engine, way out of class compared to the up to 2002 opposition. (there were three classes; up to 1991, up to 1992 and up to 2002, he beat the lot)
Momentum gained on the Friday and Saturday was impossible to quash – In the first race Simpson was as aggresive as a teenager into turn one (a slow right hander) passing three to take the lead after 7 seconds. He held that, with significant challenges from the Suzuki of Dominik Horvath and Axel Suess (Aprilia RSV) to win by 0.31 sec at the end of the 10 lap scrap. As well as the overall win, the class win (up to 1991) was achieved.
Several Team stalwarts were unable to be at Most; Hugh Brasher was off on important Marathon duties. Peter Lindén was off for new knees ( expected back in action with a pair by February) and Linda Rutter off for an important operation.
Ian Simpson stood in for Peter Lindén and Robert Burns had a great ride out on the 2019 bike, in the place vacated by Hugh Brasher. Ian Simpson went on to score a further class win in the second and final 10 lap race, finishing third overall in the 36deg C temperature. Robert Burns also finished both legs in comfortable and satisfying mid-field positions.
Thanks to all who helped the team to this fantastic post-Covid-lockdown return ! There are too many to mention, but a few are; Hugh Brasher and Robert Burns, Ian and Sharon Mathias, Graham Matcham and Conti, plus Katy Jones for the super looms and Stuart Scott for his race winning bike build. Well done too, to all the other team members and sponsors – great preparation for the Misano 4 hrs in October. See you there.
With no FIM Classic Endurance planned until Misano, Ian Simpson will debut the new (2020) Suzuki XR69 (in competition) at Most (CZ) next weekend, following Peter Linden’s lay-off due to his forthcoming knee operation.
Hugh will also be out on the 2019 XR69 at a circuit that none of us has any experience of. Most of the team’s main players will be there – Steve Bateman and Stuart Scott on mechanics duties, supported by Ben Nahum on tyres, Katy Jones on electrics, Lida doing admin and cooking and Martyn Watchurst performing a little goforing. Linda Rutter and Roy Hood will be back, together with Jacco we hope, for Misano on October 10th.
The Cadwell Park tests were mainly positive but did throw up two embarrassing electrical problems, both of which have been remedied and will be run at Most. the positive bits were that the rollong chassis and engine performed excellently, despite only being out for a small number of laps. The 2019 bike performed very well and with no problems. The geometry on the 2020 bike is almost identical, with just a small offset change, so continuing setting up (in Ian’s capable hands at Most) should be confined to suspension.
At Cadwell Park , Phil Atkinson stood in for Peter Lindén at short notice and looked in red hot form, giving the team some useful feedback.
Ian Simpson, multiple BSB, British 600 and TT winner, rode with the team in 2015 to considerable success, scooping the Classic Endurance Championship that year.
Robbie Burns, another friend of the team, will also be in the pitbox being looked after by Bill Simpson who built and fettles his Yamaha TZ350.
We are all loooking forward so much to getting back into competition and paddock life, albeit late in the season. After all, its what we do !
Ryanair to Prague early Thursday AM. See you there.