Phillip Island 8 hour Edurace Race Report: 10th-11th December 2011
Last weekend Australia welcomed the latest format of long distance motorcycle racing with open arms as the inaugural running of the InsureMyRide Phillip Island 8 Hour took place. The event holds a bright future aligning itself with the prestigious Suzuka 8 Hour Endurance race and with long term plans of joining the most arduous discipline of motorcycle road racing, the FIM Endurance World Championship.
WNR Kawasaki’s InsureMyRide Supersport team arrived at Phillip Island eager to battle for the overall honors. The task ahead would not be easy battling the might of several ASBK Superbikes but with a new specification engine and tyre giant Pirelli joining forces with the team, hopes were high.
The rider line up for the weekend was nothing short of class. Newly crowned European 600 Superstock Champion Jed Metcher would join 2010 Endurance World Cup winner Alex Cudlin and leading the ship would be 2007 Australian 125GP Champion and the winner of this year’s final Australian Supersport race at Phillip Island just 2 weeks prior, Glenn Scott.
With Champions aboard, the fight was intense right from the start of Friday’s free practice sessions. Glenn, Jed and Alex covered more than 100 laps, over 500 kilometres, during free practice as they accustomed themselves to the Ninja 600 and the characteristics of the Pirelli tyres. The team also went through the processes of fuel consumption and brake testing as both would prove critical come Sunday.
When the dust settled on Friday afternoon the InsureMyRide Kawasaki finished free practice in 4th position overall.
Saturday’s qualifying was not so crucial but provided additional set up time and of course the need to qualify for Super Q. Super Q is a new format derived from the very successful Superpole created in the Superbike World Championship. The top 10 riders from qualifying would go into a 20 minute shootout which could reshuffle the top 10 starting order.
With the Superbikes coming to the fore, Glenn, Jed and Alex found themselves jostling for 4th place. They gained the upper hand in the afternoons second qualifying session but after Super Q the team finished in 5th position.
Sunday morning dawned overcast yet hopeful of a dry race. The magic of Endurance racing is no greater than at the start. With rain clouds looming and riders lining up opposite their bikes, the tension in pit lane high. Glenn Scott took the start and as the red lights went out he stormed across the track only to suffer a small problem resulting in the bike not firing immediately. After several attempts Glenn was away albeit in last position. The 20 year old dug deep and after 5 laps the deficit was just 30 seconds to the leader.
The clouds were uncertain dropping light mist and at times more. The intermittent conditions caught several riders out at Lukey Heights. The first faller was Glenn Scott followed by 4 other riders. As Glenn scrambled for the InsureMyRide Kawasaki he was lucky to miss other bikes sliding towards him. Once back in pit lane, the team repaired the damage and Glenn returned to the track. Once again the young guns showed true stamina and ravaged the field in pursuit of the leaders. Glenn, Jed and Alex performed gallantly and with each hour passing, they drew closer to the front.
After 4 hours, half race distance, the number 68 Kawasaki was in 5th position and only an error from those in front would see that gap narrow. But it wasn’t too be. After 8 hours Team Suzuki took the chequered flag and the victory whilst the InsureMyRide WNR Kawasaki finished in 5th position. The time lost in the first hour amounted to 8 laps and ironically was the difference to 3rd place.
“That was good fun, a bit of a bummer about the rain and my crash but I wanted to catch the leaders. I thought we could still finish on the podium but the Superbikes were too fast. Maybe next time we will use a bigger bike. The good thing is I’m not tired at all so my fitness is good!”
“I’d like to thank the team and my team mates. I didn’t really get comfortable on the bike this weekend so I probably could go faster.”
“I really enjoyed the race even though the bike felt strange after riding 1000cc bikes for the last few years. Overall I think the team did a good job, the bike was good, the pit stops went well. I hope I can ride for the team again next year.”