Falzon and Wilkinson dominated to walk away with the big cheque and break the race record in the process
For the second year running Daniel Falzon and Liam Wilkinson have claimed the Auldana Foundations Adelaide 3-Hour completing 154 laps of the Mallala circuit to break their record of 151 set last year.
Sporting ‘R1’ Yamaha plates, Falzon and Wilkinson were in a class of their own, finishing six laps ahead of their nearest competition. The pair stated their goal was to complete more laps than their record 151 set the previous year.
“In an endurance race, you just hope for no big incidents on track or any dramas in the pits. Luckily, everything went really well, almost like a fairytale,” explained Falzon. “I started the race and we ended up with a really nice lead. Liam maintained that and pulled an even bigger gap. We also had to manage traffic, because there were 21 bikes on track and Mallala is not a huge circuit. I wanted to average low 1m08s laps, Liam was after 1m10s. We both did that and it gave us the win.”
The Spot On Motorcycles team of Chris Tyler and Will Strugnell looked to have blown their podium chance after Strugnell ran off at Turn 3 on the opening lap. After rejoining, he managed to get his Fireblade into second place before pitting on his 37th lap. Tyler took over from there, knowing there would be work to do later on as he did not have the pace of Strugnell.
“After my 37-lap stint Will went out again and got back past two teams. He was running out of fuel and just got back to the pits. I went out knowing I may have to hold off the fight from behind,” Tyler said.
At the chequered flag he’d held off the Hurrando team of David Anderson and Kieran Hurrell (riding Fireblades – 147 laps) and the 2Chaps Racing team of Simon and Tom Chapman (Yamaha R1 and Triumph 675 – 146 laps).
The GK Auto team of Kym Grosser and Joshua McLean finished fifth after completing 145 laps, just two seconds clear of the S&S Old Boys Endurance team of Graham Snaith and Karl Schmidt. The Snaith/Schmidt duo suffered some bad luck as Snaith’s Fireblade had mechanical problems from the outset. This saw them fall from second to fifth, culminating in Snaith leaving his Fireblade in the garage and heading out for the final stint on Schmidt’s Kawasaki, a bike he had never even sat on, let alone raced.
“Not knowing how far the Kawasaki would run with the fuel light on, I decided I needed to pull in for a drop as the fuel light had been on for four or five laps. When I pitted, I found out there was only two minutes to go,” he lamented. “Leaving the pits we were passed by Joshua McLean and they got us by two seconds. There is another one I’ll never hear the end of!”
Rob Lehman took out the solo section with a spirited three-hour ride on his Suzuki GSX-R1000, completing 137 laps over the three-hour period.
Also taking part was ASBK regular Scott Nicholson aboard a Suzuki GSX-R 600. Nicholson was using the event to get used to the 600 before the 2018 ASBK season, when he will make the step up from the Supersport 300 class to 600cc Supersport. He showed strong pace throughout the weekend and ended up second solo bike home.
The weekend belonged to Falzon and Wilkinson though, with Falzon also taking out the 75km event from teammate Wilkinson. It was a considerable effort for Wilkinson as he had not ridden a racebike since January. Asked if Wilkinson was a better racer or mechanic, Falzon was sure in his response.
“Definitely a better mechanic. I can’t say he’s a better racer because then his head will get too big and he’ll leave me!”
How does the race work?
The Auldana Foundations Adelaide 3-Hour is a relay event, meaning each team can have a maximum of three riders and three bikes. This is to make the event affordable to a wider range of teams – it becomes too expensive to run the race in a traditional endurance format where teams use only one bike (although there is a class for that). Riders have an arm band, and they swap the band during a pit stop.
How long are the stints?
Falzon and Wilkinson aimed for stints of 26 and 28 laps respectively. This is determined mainly by fuel but also rider fatigue is taken into account. “Fuel was okay, my light was coming on for lap 28 of my stints, indicating that I had about four litres left. We could have stretched each stint a bit longer but wanted to remain at
three sessions each,” Falzon said.
What tyres are used?
Falzon’s team decided to try a few options, “We ran a bunch of different tyres, not one specific compound as we used the event as a bit of a tyre test. My final stint was more difficult tyre wise as we ran the same rear as stint number two. Battling fatigue with a bike that wants to slide made for some exciting laps!”
What did they win?
This is one of the richest races in the country when it comes to cold hard cash. Well supported by sponsors, first place picks up a neat $3000, second takes $2000 and third $1000. First C or D grade team home receives prizemoney of $1000 and first solo rider home receives $500.
As reported in AMCN Vol 67 No12
Report MATT O’CONNELL PHOTOGRAPHY IAN RODDIE