Hidden Valley Race Report: 20th-22th April 2012
Pole and 2nd place for team Glenn Scott Racing / YRD / Insure My Ride
Darwin’s Hidden Valley raceway was host to Round 2 of the Australian Superbike Championship. It was set to be a spectacular event with the debut of my new race team, Glenn Scott Racing/YRD/Insure My Ride. After starting the 2012 season on a Kawasaki it was going to be an interesting round 2 with an all new team and bike, the Yamaha R6.
Deciding to leave my previous team after the first round was a hard decision but one I had to make. I only had 6 weeks after the first round to build and organise a full race team.
With only a few days testing prior to round 2 on the Yamaha R6, Friday practice was crucial. Not only adjusting to the new team and bike, but doing it in the 30 + degree heat and 90 percent humidity made for very tough conditions. It was going to be a steep learning curve for all involved. With patches of rain throughout the day our 600 Supersport class managed to get our two practice session in the dry. These sessions allowed us to reach our goal for the day, we got as comfortable as possible on the bike and found a base setting. We were second fastest in both sessions, a huge surprise to myself and the team but it seemed like our hard work might have been paying off.
My goal for Saturday was achieved in the first session moving to the top of the time sheets with a lap time of 1.10.382. This was one second faster then my lap time on Friday and one tenth under the lap record of last year set by Kevin Curtain riding for Factory Yamaha!
Session one saw myself in 1st with a 1.10.382,
2nd- Mitchell Carr (Triumph) 1.10.442 (very close) only 0.61
3rd Josh Hook (factory Honda) 1.10.501 only .119
4th Brodie Waters (Factory Suzuki) 1.10.814 (.432 off me)
With the top four covered by only 4 tenths, it was shaping up to be some close racing. I was extremely happy to be in front of the field let alone both factory teams.
The track temp rose by 10 degrees by the afternoon session and we were only allowed one set of tyres for both qualifying session it was going to be impossible to improve the lap time. We made a plan to use the session to learn and record more data on the Yamaha R6.
Saturday - Superpole
The top 4 fastest riders from qualifying now battle it out in a one lap dash to claim pole position. The nerves were starting to kick in as this was my first ever superpole.
I approached the superpole quite excited but anxious. The pressure was on as I knew I had to string one fast lap together to take pole position for both races. I was last to head out of the four riders. All 3 putting in a solid lap, it was going to be hard to top them. When I crossed that finish line I knew it was a fast lap, I couldn’t remember it. When I go fast I don’t think - strange I know.
It may have felt fast but was it fast enough? I cruised back in to pit lane and saw everyone clapping and my brother shaking one finger at me with a smile ear to ear, he looked too happy for it to be anything less then pole, that’s when I knew I had done it.
I was so proud of myself and the team to achieve such an incredible result, my first pole position in ASBK. To take the lime light for a lap, having everyone watching only you on the circuit and to come out on top, it’s a feeling I can’t describe. The front row was filed with 4 very fast riders, two Factory rider’s two privateer riders.
Pole Glenn Scott (privateer)
2nd Mitchell Carr (privateer)
3rd Josh Hook (Factory)
4th Brodie Waters (Factory)
Sunday – Race 1
It was time to settle my excitement from superpole and prepare myself for Sunday’s two races, each of 17 laps. Although I was feeling very nervous to get my first race underway I was also jumping out my skin to get to that start line and catapult myself off pole position in to turn one.
The starter holds up the red flag and then walks across the circuit while 15 pairs of eyes stare at the red light waiting for it to go out. Your fingers feed the clutch and your right hand turns the throttle so hard it’s like your trying to break the cable.
I was off, my first start on the Yamaha R6. Tucked in, I screamed into turn one after passing Honda’s Josh Hook under breaks, I found myself in second place, I glued to the rear of Mitchell Carr on his Triumph for the first lap, on exit of the last turn I used the slip stream down the straight to pass just before turn one, with the nerves getting the better of me I ran wide in the first turn allowing Carr and Hook to sneak up the inside of me, losing 4 tenths to both riders, this mistake I made my race ten times harder.
After a few laps both riders up front were putting together fast consistent laps, the gap opened up to over one second. Once I settled my nerves and found a rhythm I managed to maintain the gap for more than half the race. I had a sniff that I could possible catch second place. Starting to feel comfortable on the bike I was able to pick my lines well and began to close in on second place fast. At 3 laps to go I had caught the factory Honda rider Josh Hook, all I had to do was string 2 good laps together to get in front of Hook and then hold him at bay until the finish line.
I ran right up on him in the last turn and tucked in the slip stream down the 1.1km main straight, timing was essential, I pulled out of the slip stream and away I went milliseconds before my breaking point. The last lap board was up, I swizzled past it at 270km/h, riding my last lap very defensively I held Honda out to take the chequered flag in 2nd.
My first race on a Yamaha I took 2nd place and to finish in front of both factory teams, I was ecstatic.
Sunday - Race 2
The day was not over yet, feeling very fatigued I only had a couple of hours to recover before my next race. After debriefing with the team we made a decision to make few changes to the bike. The track temperature rose by 9 degrees so it was going to be a very tough 17 laps. This was the hottest the track had been all weekend.
Finding myself lent over the front of the bike starring at the lights again with the bike screaming at 10 grand and clutch starting to engage the lights went out and off we went, red lining every gear dragging each other to the first turn, I pulled out in 3rd position, behind Honda and Triumph. I glued to the back of both riders for the next 10 laps. The top 3 were so close - every lap trying to overtake each other but not able to pass.
I was the most comfortable I have felt on the bike all weekend, running in the consistent 1.11s all race - I felt I could strive for a win. With 5 laps to go I was finding it hard to stay with the Triumph and the Honda down the main straight, It was extremely hot and my machine was starting to feel that heat, running at over a 100 degrees and I was losing top end speed down the massive Hidden Valley main straight. With the Yamaha handling so well I was able to catch the 3 tenths I was loosing down the straight through the rest of the circuit but I was unable to make a pass.
I pushed till the last lap and I took the chequered flag in 3rd position. Another podium, I couldn’t believe it! Feeling so strong in that last race, it’s a great feeling walking away knowing we have room to improve with only finishing 4 tenths behind the leader.
Taking one point with pole position allowed me to take second overall for the Darwin round and has moved me up to 3rd place in the championship standings.
Huge thanks goes to my crew Stewart (Suspension technician), Sam (Crew Chief) and Ali (Mechanic), they worked outstanding all weekend to get my bike working right for me, this is a huge achievement for our first outing on the Yamaha R6. Now I’m counting the seconds to Round 3 at Queensland Raceway on June 1.