Round 3 Race Report

National Endurance Championship – Pembrey 6 hours – 23rd June 2008

Pembrey pole was pinned by 2007 champions GBmoto (Mark Smith Halvorsen/Mick Godfrey/Pete Jennings - CorporateFX Yamaha R1) in changeable conditions on the day before the race. They were the only team to dip under the minute mark with a 59.918s; a very respectable time in cool conditions, delivered by the rapid Pete Jennings.

At the start just before noon, it was GBmoto who sprinted into the lead with Pete Jennings forcing the pace, chased very closely in the early stages by Declan Swanton on Uprite Racings Suzuki 1000. After half an hour the CorporateFX Yamaha began to eek out an advantage, which was up to 10 seconds, before the pace car was deployed, whilst a crash was being attended to. The advantage on track was lost as the teams bunched up behind it, bringing the field back together again. GBmoto pitted on the one hour mark with a 20 second lead, with early dramas for Sweatshop Moores (current championship leaders) who spent 45 minutes pitted to sort the machine out after an ‘off’ by John Paul Scott. Moores Racing’s Yamaha R6 also returned to pitlane, after Jim Agombar fell off at the hairpin following contact with a slower rider.

On an impressive but challenging first stint, Pete Jennings said “The bike is going really well. Early on with a full fuel load the level of grip from the tyres was down a bit, but as the session progressed, so did the grip and feel. Having to build a lead twice was unfortunate, but we look good at this point”.

At the two hour mark Uprite Racing pitted with overheating problems which kept the team busy for a while. As a result, with a flying Mick Godfrey on board, GBmoto pushed to an amazing 5 lap advantage following some fantastic pit work, over nearest rivals Ducks Cross Racing. Mick’s ride was both brave and focused, as only a few hours earlier, his wife Sam had crashed at the Welsh circuit, competing in a sprint race (after finishing 4th with Phill Clarke for GBmoto Juniors in a 2 hour Endurance Race the day before) and badly broken her leg. Sam was treated at the track and was on the way to hospital for an operation at the time that Mick was riding.

Mark Smith-Halvorsen took over in the third hour, with the team tactically changing both tyres and brakes to maintain some pit-stop advantage for later on in the race. Uprite were back under the awning with a cooked generator – a legacy of the earlier overheating problems and Sweatshop Moores were back in the groove, working towards achieving 75% of the winner’s distance to qualify for championship points at the end of the round. At the half way point of the race saw GBmoto heading the first of the 600s Ducks Cross Racing , by a convincing 7 laps! Small capacity bikes then filled the leader board with Darkside Endurance and Team Viking on the same lap a mere 4 seconds apart.

Moores Racing and Sweatshop Moores Racing never really recovered from loosing so much time, although they both did score some championship points. Uprite Racing were forced to accept defeat and pulled out with terminal overheating problems after 4 ½ hours. In the closing stages GBmoto continued to rack up the laps and won the race by a convincing 18 laps. This may be the biggest ever 6 hour victory margin in UK history – so watch this space for the record to be confirmed or denied!

Mark Smith-Halvorsen said “This really was a race weekend that went all right. That so rarely happens, but we got the bike well set-up on Friday, it worked well in the dry and the wet on Saturday and the race was faultless – the CorporateFX Yamaha was exceptionally good to ride. Want to thank all of the team that made that happen today, they are the ones that produced that machine ultimately and they are the people that give us the confidence to go and do what we do – a great job by everyone involved. We would also like to dedicate this win to Sam Godfrey who was badly hurt in a crash earlier – her last words were ‘go and win the race for me’ as she was being put in the back of the ambulance. So this ones for you Sam; get well soon, we want you back. I am still emotional from seeing Mick Godfrey being given the job of dropping the chequered flag in her honour – where’s the champagne?”

Not even halfway stage of the championship and there is only two points separating the teams at the top of the points table. Round 4 is at Snetterton on 2nd + 3rd August 2008. Team GBmoto would like to thank their sponsors, for their help and support:
Corporate FX Ltd, Martin Williams & Co., Dunlop Motorsport, YPE Power, FW Developments, Bodyscience, Race By Design, PFM Brakes, Performance Friction, B&C Express, Hideout Leathers, Primus Coatings, Kapital Moto and the GBmoto Supporters Club.