In one of the last road race meetings before the winter break, a typically dry and sunny Mallala played host to the popular 3-Hour endurance meeting over the weekend. Being one of Royce’s favourite events in the past, he was just happy to be back on his home track for the first time in almost a year.
As Royce is still feeling the effects of his injuries, the team decided to limit him to riding the Ducati on Saturday and then use Sunday purely for getting accustomed to the new Triumph.
PIC: Royce getting used to the new Green Machine (Credit: Glen Hand)
Saturday saw three 6-lap sprint races in the Super Twin class, which provided some of the best racing of the weekend, as Royce and Michael Villani (Kawasaki ER6) battled it out, with their dicing seeing the lead change several times in each race.
Royce was able to keep in front each time – in one race only passing Michael on the last corner, to take three wins.
PIC: Royce on the Ducati dicing with Michael Villani (Credit: Pierre Paul Cazes)
The team also entered the ’50km’ race on Saturday, which is a reduced distance version of Sunday’s 3-Hour endurance race. The 50km still featured a Le Mans start, with the crowd finding it entertaining to watch Royce hobble across the track. He managed to recover the time it took for him to shuffle across the track and then established a reasonable lead which he held on to, ultimately taking out the win.
PIC: Royce managed a clean sweep of wins aboard the Ducati (Credit: Pierre Paul Cazes)
On Sunday, we had the new Triumph on track for the first time. The team had only completed turning the last bolt and firing it up the weekend before, so the 3-Hour endurance race was used as a three hour test session.
The team didn’t have time to paint new fairings or put Royce’s usual number ‘104’ on, so the organisers allowed us to use the spare fairing from the old Triumph which was still prepared for last year’s Senior Manx Grand Prix.
PIC: The Trumpy wearing its old Manx clothes and starting number (Credit: Deb Lock)
The team decided to concentrate solely on suspension (we didn’t even bother about gearing, resulting in Royce only being able to use five gears), and really check that every aspect was in proper working order.
We were aided by Pete Hoey of Hoey Racing, recognised as one of the foremost suspension experts in Australia.
PIC: Pete Hoey was instrumental in sorting the suspension setup on Sunday (Credit: Glen Hand)
After the Le Mans start, our process was to do five or so laps, come in and discuss the handling with Pete, then go out and test the changes. This procedure was repeated over the three hours of the race.
Pete and Royce managed to make great progress, so much so, that despite the wrong gearing, still being limited in movement and the warm conditions, Royce set a new personal best time for Mallala. He solidly bettered the previous lap time he set in May last year on the old Triumph, giving the team plenty of confidence in the new setup. This was the second fastest lap of the race, putting Royce ahead of many 1000cc superbikes.
PIC: Returning to the pits on Sunday sporting new Furygan leathers (Credit: Pierre Paul Cazes)
Happy with his results, Royce had this to say, “My first time back at Mallala since the crash was a lot of fun. Having a great dice with Micheal Villani in the Super Twin race was good to help me push my laps to try and get closer to where I was pre-accident.
“I’m still feeling a little restricted hanging off the bike with my knees locking at certain points but wearing my new Furygan leathers made riding as comfortable as it could be.
“Peter Hoey working with Brian Rosser was a huge help to get the Triumph’s suspension setup correctly throughout Sunday’s testing. To then obtain a new PB by nearly a second put a huge grin on my face – I might have to put it down to my bionic enhancements!”
PIC: Concentrating on testing was priority one for Sunday (Credit: Deb Lock)
Royce also had the opportunity to show off his new leathers. Furygan Leathers (www.furygan.com.au) and Fusport Boots (www.fusportboots.com) heard that his riding gear had been destroyed last year, so after getting in contact, they have provided a new set of leathers, gloves and boots which are of fantastic quality and also look great!
Thanks to Pete Hoey who put in a long, hard day, as did Brian and Locky.