Congratulations to Team Illiterate and their Triumph Daytona 675R on winning the first ever 24-hour motorcycle race in South Africa.
They completed 611 laps amounting to over 2400km's in this time winning with about 10 laps advantage. Their fastest race lap was a 2.01, but their fast rider was circulating in the 2.04/2.05 range in his 3am stint, amazing. Fastest race lap of the day was a 1.58, but that team's race ended prematurely in a very big high-side.
Team Illiterate were very prepared, they fully deserved this win. Bike managed 3h30m on a set of tyres and the support crew was able to change both wheels, front brake pads, refuel, check oil and change the rider in four-and-a-half minutes, without the aid of special endurance racing bike parts, everything had to be OEM. Just amazing!
(I haven't yet gotten the official results, but this is all the info I can remember in my sleep deprived state. Will update if incorrect)
This past weekend the first ever 24 Hour Le Mans style endurance race in South Africa (probably Africa as well) was held at Redstar Raceway just outside of Delmas. This has been a dream of Simon Fourie (Owner of BikeSA) for the past 10 years and he's finally got it off the ground. It was met with a lot of pessimism (from myself included), but it turned out to be a fantastic and brilliantly organised event. So much work went into realising this and I just can't give the organising team enough praise, well done guys!
In total 20 teams entered the event which exceeded almost everyone's expectations and even better, 17 of those 20 teams made it to the chequered flag, with only one blown motor in the entire field. The event started 1PM on Saturday afternoon and ran until 1PM Sunday afternoon. I was fortunate enough to be part of one of the teams, "Old Dog Racing" sporting a little Fazer 600. The strategy was good and they stood a fantastic chance on a top 10 finish, but some mishaps prevented that from happening.
From the get-go Team RSR Stars were on-it. Allan Jon Venter (who races British Superbikes) did the first lap and boy can that man ride a motorcycle. Did a 1m58s lap in the 4th lap of the race, but apparently he destroyed a set of tyres in his half-hour stint, not good for endurance racing. Sadly their race came to a sudden stop on lap 75 when Gary v.d. Berg had a massive high-side and went flying. Hope you're healing up well bud, cracked vertebrae is not a good thing! They hauled the bike back into pit-lane, tried to fix it until they realised it won't start because the ECU went into a mode where it thinks it has been stolen and therefore won't fire up. That was end of the race for them.
Then the two Honda CBR600RR's from Team Moto Rentals and Honda Wing Pinetown were fighting it out for the lead. Team Illiterate on their Triumph Daytona 675R were slowly making inroads towards the front mounted by strong charges from Robert Portman and Donovan Fourie. Eventually they managed to take over at the front, but lost it again in the early evening due to overheating problems. Honda Wing Pinetown took over again but they also had their fair share of problems during the night which allowed Team Illiterate to gain a massive lead and bring Team Moto Rentals into 2nd.
During our 3am fuel stop we made a massive stuff-up as due to sleep deprivation somehow with the brake pad change one calliper got a new pad and an old pad. So it had to be taken off again and redone correctly, which cost us almost an entire session. We were sitting in 10th, but fell back to 14th as a result. Slowly but surely the riders clawed their way back up the standings by being consistent through the night, whilst most other teams dropped off. Sadly about 9 hours in there was a little mishap in pit-lane when the guys had to push start the bike and Dave May had a tumble when the bike jerked to a start and broke his hand! Heal up soon Dave, that one looked MEGA! The 2nd issue came on our last fuel stop, 2 hours before the end of the race. We refueled the bike, sent Peter out and then he just parked it at the 2nd corner on his out lap. First we though he broke the chain, but when he got back the problem was a bad batch of fuel that went into the tank. Luckily a bunch of mechanics from other teams came along to help, cleaned out the injectors (or does the Fazer have carbs?) and we transplanted the spare bike's tank to the race bike. Popped in clean fuel and off they went. Once again we fell from 10th place to about 13th. Now it was hard work and the guys were giving their best, even though they were extremely exhausted. Our main competition we decided was Team M3 Racing on a BMW F800S and Team Terror-Wrists on a BMW1100S and there was a constant battle between us throughout the night. In the end we finished ahead of them in 12th place with a total of 534 laps in the 24 hours.
Well done to team Illiterate on taking the win with 611 laps. These guys were organised and full of perseverance. Robert Portman dumped the bike in qualifying practice and they managed to fix what was broken on the bike, but not on him. He hurt his wrist, but continued to race after the medical team advised him against it. He went for X-Rays after the race, turns out he actually broke it. That man is strong! They also managed to look after tyres and only had to change them every 3h30m and when they had to stop to do that, they changed tyres, brake pads, refuelled, topped up the oil and did a rider change in four-and-a-half minutes. Wow, just wow!
The interesting thing for me is though, the top 5 bikes are all 600cc machines, but the real surprise is Team Ekerold finishing in 5th place, also on a Fazer. Very well done guys!
The bad-luck award is shared by Team RSR Sparks who had endless issues with their Kawasaki ZX10. The race barely started and they were back in the pits with a chain problem, a few hours later their fuelling went to crap and they had to remove the Bazzas/Powercommander system and lost a lot of time. They had more drama that I can't even remember. The other team sharing this award is Team Dyno-racers who managed to go all through the night and just as it started getting light, their engine blew up spectacularly down the back straight. It looked like they were going to try and rebuild it, but then they called it a day. Bad luck guys, but it still was a great effort!
Anyways, here's a little something I made to try and convey the experience I had over the weekend:
[nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Egf6nvUdA"]BikeSA 24 Hour Motorcycle Endurance Race - YouTube[/nomedia]
Here are the official results: http://www.zatiming.co.za/index.php/...,runid,2149491
And a report on MSA's website: http://www.motorsport.co.za/News/Dis...spx?niid=12083
And here are some of the very few photos I took
Before the start of the race
The track at night
Gareth Davidson defining "On-it"
The recovery vehicle returning our broken machine
Johann van Deventer on the gas in the last 2 hours
The winning team
Team Old Dog Racing
[img width=400 height=600]http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f64/Wik1d/_MG_2369-1.jpg[/img]
Dave's very very sore hand
Guys, very well done on this momentous achievement and thank you very much for including me. I've already decided, next year I'm riding!