Biggles Racing Team gains podiums at 2019 NZSBK Championship!
Some of you may know that BAS Expansion Joints (NZ) is very involved in supporting a motorcycle road racing team here in New Zealand. Marcus Beagley (myself) has raced in this series over the last 10 years, and I have continued to run the racing team "Biggles Racing Team" or "BRT" for around 11 years now. BRT is now focused on young talent and providing a platform for these young guns to showcase their talents on the national stage, with the hope they will then be able to move into the international scene to begin a career in this exciting sport.
Over the summer of 2019 Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ) run the National Championship across all the major race tracks in New Zealand. This year the program is:
R1: 5-6 JAN 2019 - Mike Pero Motorsport Park, Ruapuna
R2: 12-13 JAN 2019 - Levels International Raceway, Timaru
R3: 2-3 MAR 2019 - Motofest, Hampton Downs Motorsport Park, Waikato
R4: 30-31 MAR 2019 - Circuit Chris Amon, Manfeild
R5: 6-7 APR 2019 - Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park, Taupo
BRT have completed the first two rounds of the championship now, both these rounds were held on south island tracks (Christchurch and Timaru). The start to the championship couldn't have been tougher for the BRT crew. Before even racing one race, they experienced three major engine failures. This was a failure in each of the three bikes they had available! On the evening of the official practice day for round 1 (Friday 4th Jan), I updated the BRT Facebook page with this pretty dire post:
"Massive setback today at round 1 of NZSBK Championship official practice day. Not one, but two unexplained engine failures... on the same lap! Currently the team is scrambling to get the engines out and stripped down to ascertain the real damage, but this will likely be game over for the season. Needless to say we've lost all the wind in our sails, and it's hard to remain positive. The rebuild cost will likely be in the thousands and simply put, we can't afford that. Both engines have been recently rebuilt, one just before this weekend. Both were going strong and riders were looking sharp... then disaster!"
In a nutshell, it was looking like the team was not going to be able to continue. Nevertheless, the team mechanics got busy stripping all the bikes down to see exactly what the problems were. In the end, one looked like a top end valve failure, and the other looked like a bottom end bearing. There was a quick strategy meeting and it was decided that it was worth trying to use all the parts from both broken engines, to attempt to make one working engine for that round. At this stage we were not sure if it would work or not but we got busy.
The combined rebuilt engine was started at around 11pm that night, and it was looking like at least we would have two riders on the track for the mornings qualifying session (Campbell had his spare 125cc bike with him so would ride this in place of the iM250 that was not going).
Qualifying went well, with the exception of Campbell having an engine ceasing on him in that session also. This made it all three bikes broken before one race was held! Regardless, Campbell qualified 5th (with an under-powered 125cc that eventually expired in the same session), and Jason qualified 3rd on the overnight re-built, iM250 on the grid with an impressive lap time only .3 seconds off pole!
Its worth noting that BRT are running two, iM250 Pre-Moto3 bikes in the team. They are prototype race motorcycles that are completely designed and built here in New Zealand by Dr Steve Bagshaw. They are powered by a modified KTM SXF250 motocross engine. There are only two of these bikes ever built (both racing in BRT) and they are taking on fully factory developed, MotoGP run, KTM powered Kalex Moto3 GP machines. Its a big ask, and an impressive "can do" kiwi spirit that is on display here!
From qualifying, the weekend just got better, Jason went out in the first race and won it, and Campbell on a borrowed engine for his 125cc (which the BRT team mechanics installed before the afternoons race) brought it home in 5th position!
Both riders would secure more podiums throughout the two south island rounds with some seriously impressive racing from all involved, and they currently sit in 2nd and 3rd position in the championship standings with three rounds to go!
The next round is the Mike Pero MOTOFEST round to be held at Hampton Downs on the weekend of 2nd,3rd March. The team will be there and fighting to gain some more championship points to try and take the lead! I know they would love to see you there in support and if you wish to know more about the team please click on the following links: