Symmons Plains Race Report: 4th-6th February 2011
WNR Kawasaki’s Supersport team took strong steps forward last weekend in Round 2 of the Australian Supersport Championship finishing 4th overall after Sunday’s two 20 lap races. Rider Glenn Scott was determined to move forward after the difficulties from Round 1 and did so right from the opening practice session.
The week in between both rounds was a busy time with parts arriving and being fitted just before the team’s departure from Melbourne to Tasmania. The number 68 Kawasaki, now sporting Akrapovic’s full specification racing exhaust system, was a different motorcycle during Thursday’s free practice sessions. More horsepower and changes to the suspension provided a more user friendly motorcycle which gave the much needed confidence to push forward.
Friday – Free Practice 1 & 2
With each session came improvement. Team manager Warwick Nowland and Glenn Scott worked calmly throughout the practice sessions making small changes. The important point being made was that each time Glenn went out onto the circuit, the lap times improved. After being 7th and 5th fastest in the free practice sessions, the team were focusing on a top 4 spot during qualifying.
Saturday – Qualifying Practice 1
The first session was not so good even though Glenn continued to go faster. Similar to Free Practice 2 on Friday, another 20 lap race simulation was run and rear tyre wear was not as good, in fact it was considerably worse. A change in ride height was the only difference and was rectified for the afternoon qualifying session.
Saturday - Qualifying Practice 2
The final qualifying session had the commentators excited and the spectators nervous! Less than 1 second covered the top riders as they performed a desperate race to gain front row honours. Christian Casella on board the Triumph Daytona was the man of the moment claiming pole position. Behind, the anxious pack swapped positions right up to the chequered flag with Glenn Scott being bumped back to row 3 on the last lap. Once again Glenn improved his lap times setting his fastest lap of the weekend but it was not enough for a front row start.
Sunday – Race 1
The Tasmanian fans lined the circuit in perfect sunshine for Sunday’s races and after being 3rd fastest in Sunday morning warm-up, Glenn Scott was ready to challenge.
Starting from the 3rd row is always a concern as the hungry pack brake from over 200km/h into Symmons Plains infamous hairpin. Glenn however made a great start, riding around the outside of 2 riders in the first turn. The hairpin did not disappoint with drama unfolding as both Factory Suzuki riders, Brodie and Nicholas Waters, collided narrowly missing the front pack including Glenn. The field was spread apart after the incident and Glenn found himself in 5th position. Around half race distance Glenn started to close the gap to 4th place rider Mitchell Carr and open up the gap on Championship leader and 6th placed Aaron Gobert. Around lap 15 Glenn started to suffer brake problems with the front brake lever fading rapidly. Glenn limped home in a lonely 5th position as Christian Casella took victory ahead of Yamaha’s Kevin Curtain.
Sunday – Race 2
If Race 1 was a little predictable then race 2 was the opposite! Once again Glenn Scott stormed off the line from the 3rd row and this time clinging to the leading pack. The lead swapped lap after lap with a titanic slipstreaming battle along Symmons Plains back straight. At speeds of 240km/h spectators witnessed classic Supersport racing. Yamaha, Suzuki, Triumph and Kawasaki... the bikes and the riders were locked in a monumental fight. At half race distance and whilst in 6th place, Glenn started losing 0.3seconds a lap on the 5 riders in front of him. And once again, although improved from Race 1, Glenn had to deal with fading brakes. At the chequered flag Glenn finished in 5th position 9 seconds behind winner Brodie Waters. Race 2 was considerably better for Glenn and underlined that by setting his fastest lap of the weekend on the penultimate lap.
Rider – Glenn Scott
“Tasmania was a big improvement in the bike and in me getting used to it. I’m starting to feel confident and I am expecting to be on the podium at the next race. The closer I get to the front the more I want to win. I am very grateful to the team, the sponsors and I look forward to winning for them very soon.”
Team manager – Warwick Nowland
“At the end of the weekend, to see we finished 4th and just 3 points behind Rick Olson on the Factory Yamaha, I think we did a great job. On top of that we have moved from 16th in the Championship after Phillip Island up to 8th in the Championship. I can’t point out enough that the bike was built 10 days ago and in those 10 days we have learnt so much about making the bike more competitive. I am working everyday to improve every aspect of our team. We already have the engine apart for the next stage of development. I think our bike will be very fast at the next race.”
The Australian Supersport Championship moves to Darwin next month in The Northern Territory. The Hidden Valley circuit hosts Round 3 on the 14-17th April.