TEAM Army Endurance took to the Kent circuit last weekend for No Limits Racing’s three hour event to show that even extensive work commitments couldn’t slow the team down.
After the long break since round seven at Cadwell Park, the majority of the five endurance teams arrived for Friday’s test day to re-acclimate, with British Supersport rider Sam Cox on hand to provide coaching and dad Graham assisting with suspension tuning.
Tobias ‘T’ George had a bit of bad luck during a test session when another rider’s move sent him off track at Surtees Corner, but a trip to the medical centre confirmed no broken bones – just a nicely battered bike.
The altered format of the No Limits Racing weekend gave Darryl Holder and Sgt. Richard Spencer-Fleet a chance to set up their Kawasaki ZX-10R’s during Saturday’s sprint races, and both made it through the day incident-free and ready for the following day.
Rain overnight guaranteed tricky qualifying sessions for all on Sunday morning, but the two qualification groups before Endurance’s helped to hoover moisture off the tarmac and create a drying line for the long-haul racers.
Team 5’s hopes of running without ‘T’ took a boost when Karl Smith was recruited from the Newcomer 600 class, followed by an immediate blow when rider L. Cpl. Dan Richardson ran wide at Paddock Hill Bend, taking himself and Team 5 out of the race altogether.
For the other Army Endurance men, a mix of slicks and intermediates helped lock down solid grid spots, with Team 1 starting 9th, Team 3 14th, Team 2 21st, and Team 4 27th.
An incident-free start to the three-hour race saw all four teams make a few places up at the start before tipping into the drop at Paddock Hill Bend for the first time, and with a 40-45 lap strategy in place, it was simply a waiting game for the men in the pits.
Although the safety car was deployed once during the 180-minute dash, none of the Team Army racers were involved and standings remained steady after the first hour of competition.
As the race progressed, the Kent sun cast a huge shadow over Clearways, Surtees, and the Cooper Straight, making vision a big issue for the military men who opted for tinted visors.
After two hours, each team had dropped places from their starting spots, but feverish work in the pits flipping used rubber and fitting new tyres prepared the third-stint boys to head into battle and claw their way back.
While the track temperature decreased significantly throughout the final hour of racing, Team Army Endurance made it to the chequered flag in four pieces – Team 1 in 8th, Team 3 in 20th, Team 2 in 27th, and Team 4 in 29th.
Richard ‘Spence’ Spencer-Fleet managed to lay down the teams’ fastest lap of the day with a 50.044 around the 1.2-mile Indy circuit, which would have put the Sergeant on the grid for the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship race there this year.
The Army Endurance Motorcycle Race Team would like to thank their team and personal sponsors, without whom their season would not be nearly as competitive.
Heading into the 9th and final round of No Limits Racing’s season at Donington, Team 1 sits 6th in class, Team 2 – 14th, Team 3 – 15th, Team 4 – 10th, and Team 5 – 11th (3rd in all-novice class).
No Limits Racing wraps up the 2016 season at Donington Park in Derby, October 8-9th.