Heading into the final road race meeting for 2016, Rowe Racing was eager to make the most of track time and decipher mechanical issues that have plagued the 600cc machine recently.
PIC: Royce battling hard on the Suzuki 600 (Credit: Ian Roddie)
Being a typically busy penultimate round, the Café Racer Club split the meeting into the final of their own TT series on Saturday, then the final round of the SA Championships on the Sunday.
Coming off a tough day at the office in the Adelaide 3-Hour, Royce was keen to impress on Saturday. The weather turned up in the mid-30s Celsius, providing optimum conditions for some fast laps. Royce didn’t muck around, smashing out a new personal best lap time only a couple of races in.
PIC: Royce had his eye on the prize aboard the 650 Manx Ducati (Credit: Ian Roddie)
Over the past two weeks, Brian Rosser of BJR Racing Products has rebuilt the 650 Manx Ducati and has it running well, along with the Suzuki 600, plus Royce is now also riding the BJR 1000 Ducati – the pit shed resembles a production line on race day! The BJR 1000 Ducati is the big brother of the 650, it’s still a twin-cyclinder, two-valves per cylinder air-cooled machine, but with some dramatic redesign of the heads taking it out to 1000cc.
Just to keep the team on their toes, the three bikes were in separate classes… which all ran back to back! Races were either 10 or 12 laps, so there was some frantic pit work as Royce jumped off one bike to the other prepped machine, having a quick drink then gassing it back to the form up area as to not miss the release gate for the grid.
PIC: The new BJR 1000 Ducati set a blistering pace (Credit: Ian Roddie)
Royce won the first 600 race after a long dice with Arthur Sissis, then finished second in the second race after a great battle with Nic Limminton to take second overall for the day. Although not taking the chocolates on the day, it was still enough to amass the most points over the whole year to win the 600 series. It’s been a great year and the team are so glad all the hard work has paid off.
The Super Twins saw two consecutive wins from two races on the 650 Manx Ducati, ahead of Isle of Man teammate, Paul Van Der Heiden and up-and-coming youngster Alessandro Malatesta (both on 696 Ducatis). The clean sweep of races cemented Royce’s spot at the top of the championship for 2016.
PIC: Thumbs-up from the newly crowned South Australian Supersport Champion (Credit: Ian Roddie)
The BJR Ducati 1000 saw two wins from two races in its Naked class. A sticking throttle probably helped with the quick lap times.
Royce did well in very hot conditions, jumping from one bike to another, all of which were extremely different in their characteristics.
The weather did an about-face on Sunday, with racers facing heavy rain and humid temperatures at Mallala. You’d be mistaken for thinking the meeting had shifted to Darwin as the humidity reached extreme levels. This drastic change in conditions meant a frantic rush was required in order to get Royce out in time on wet tyres.
PIC: Royce on his way to a new PB around Mallala aboard the Suzuki 600 (Credit: Ian Roddie)
Capping off Saturday’s efforts on board the Suzuki 600, Royce scored two seconds and a third place, securing the South Australian Supersport Championship. Royce is loving riding the 600 and only getting faster as time goes on. The team can’t wait to get behind him again in 2017 and take the Supersport racing to another level.
In the Super Twin class, he made a clean sweep of three wins from three starts. This got Royce just over the line to win the South Australian Championship from Michael Villani on a Kawasaki ER6. The Manx 650 worked like a charm for Royce, who can’t wait to get it back to where its name suggests.
PIC: Royce off to a flyer aboard the 650 Manx Ducati (Credit: Ian Roddie)
The BJR Ducati 1000 was left in the garage for most of the day as we didn’t have wets for it, which in turn left Royce and the team more time to concentrate on the other two classes. We came away with two championships in the one day, so we can confidently say everyone did their job to a tee.
Obviously ecstatic about taking home the silverware, Royce had this to say;
“Expecting another hot weekend, Sunday took us by surprise. We knew it was going to rain at some point but to pour all day made for some good wet practice.
“After getting a personal best lap time on the Suzuki on the Saturday, I felt the team’s morale was high and the main goal for Sunday was just to finish upright with enough points to take home the two State Titles.
“After playing it safe in qualifying, I pulled my finger out in the wet races with some good battling which was great practice for wet racing in the future. Finishing the weekend with two state titles under my belt is always a satisfying thought that the seasons hard work has paid off. Though this is all really just the warmup to next year’s Manx GP and every meeting until then is just waiting – I’m counting down the seconds.”
That marks the end of racing for 2016 in what has been a bumper year for Rowe Racing. In the coming weeks we’ll have an update on our plans for 2017, plus how you can get your hands on the hottest ticket in town!