Sunflower Trophy 2013 – what have we learned?

Once again Irish Motorcycle Racing suffered at the hands of awful weather when the meeting was abandoned on Saturday after just 2 races and a Parade lap. Spectators, riders, teams, officials, marshals and organisers were devastated as the programme had promised so much. Undoubtedly the decision to abandon the meeting was correct as high winds and torrential rain buffeted the Co Down circuit at Bishopscourt. The track had become dangerous with grip and visibility very poor. I doubt there is anything can be done about the weather with the exception of being able to schedule “alternate” spare racing days. This subject has been discussed at length this year after the loss of Saturday racing at the NW200.

If recommended by DRD would the flexibility also apply to short circuit events?

Everyone at Bishopscourt yesterday was aware that the weather window for racing was limited with rain predicted for 2pm. The day got off to a good start with all classes getting warm up laps completed before 1030 race start time.

The Superbike/Supersport Cup was followed by SS600 race. An oil spill occurred towards the end of the 600 race resulting in a delay to proceedings as marshals began the clean up. The track was wet and oil had been dropped from Timmy Elwood`s machine from before Fairways 2 round to almost the pit lane entrance. The worst had occurred during the slowing down lap.

2013-10-26 12.07.52

Trail of oil towards Ringavaddy

Clean up at Fairways 2

Clean up at Fairways 2

Riders checking out the mess

Riders checking out the mess

I have heard all kinds of talk about this incident which ultimately cost the meeting. Who to blame? Did Tim Elwood do this on purpose? Surely to god not. Of course he was angry at his machine getting terminally sick whilst fighting for a podium but to deliberately take it out on the bike and the course? Surely not. If anyone gets an official written response from Tim I would love to read it. If the engine blew then maybe the blame lies with some Japanese engineer? or a mechanic in a wet awning in Co Down. Crap happens and this was crap. Expensive crap.

It is going to rain again during an Irish Motorcycle race, that is a cert. A bike coughing it`s guts up is also a cert. But what will we do differently in the future?

The use and obedience of the black flag must be scrutinised? I could see the damage being done from my spot at Ringavaddy but am uncertain whether black flag had been used and if so was it disobeyed?

We must also invest in equipment, training and procedures in dealing with this kind of spill. Oil on a wet surface is a tricky problem but spraying car wash and bonding onto it cannot be the way forward. Whilst the grip improved this process took 3 hours. I am going to investigate how we can improve this task and hope that race organisers do the same. See you at Cookstown đŸ™‚

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