Racers Edge Performance North Coast V Twins Craig McMartin Racing team rider Craig McMartin took out the Pro Twins round victory at round three of the 2015 Swann Series at Sydney Motorsport Park over the weekend of 27-28 June on the teams new Ducati 1299 Panigale.
Development of the brand new - much updated – motorcycle begun on Friday morning in the superbike class, with rider Beau Beaton at the helm. The bike had not turned a wheel before the first practice session and the cold and slightly wet track conditions did not allow much fact finding in the short session, not ideal for the Racers Edge Performance North Coast V-Twins team with a new bike to develop.
Beau managed to get some crucial laps later on Friday with team mate Craig McMartin also developing a new 1199R Panigale for the Pro Twins class. Suspension Guru Steve Mudford was working overtime with the team making multiple changes to the setup of the 1299 to cope with the large increase in torque over the old 1199S the team had raced at the same venue in round one.
Multiple changes to the suspension, gearing, wheelbase allowed the team to drop laptimes and make the bike easier to ride for the Friday afternoon qualifying session for Saturdays Australasian FX Championship races. Beau was able to pilot the 1299 Panigale to his fastest lap of the day to secure a spot in the top ten for the first of Saturdays Superbike class races.
Craig Mc Martin secured second position on the Pro Twins grid on the 1199R with Beaton right behind in third on the booming KH Equipment Irving Vincent 1600.
Saturday’s Superbike races were as cut throat as any seen this season, Beau was able to secure point scoring finishes in both races for tenth overall for the round, resulting in a third row grid position for Sundays races. Laptimes were continuing to improve along with the feel of the new 1299.
McMartin was able to secure two wins in the Pro Twins class, one on the new 1199 and the other on the new 1299. The opportunity to have both riders providing feedback was crucial in the early stages of the development of the new motorcycle. Craig opted to sit out race three while working with Team Manager Greg Maher, suspension guru Steve Mudford and the team’s technician Mark “Doc” Downie to make more changes to the 1299 for the televised Sunday programme. However his fastest lap of the day during race two secured the Racers Edge Performance rider pole position for the first race on Sunday. Beaton, on the crowd pleasing Irving Vincent would start from position five on the grid after securing second place for the round.
Unfortunately the Superbike races on Sunday did no go according to plan and Beau was forced to retire the Racers Edge Panigale on the seventh lap with a deflating front tyre, prior to that the new 1299 had shown a great turn of speed and was able to run with bikes much further along the development path than the Racers Edge North Coast V-Twins 1299 Panigale. Beau had surged off the line and held down eighth position early in the race before the front end feel indicated an issue and Beau was forced to retire.
Race two saw Beau involved in heated battle early on before running off track and loosing considerable ground. With the bike not feeling the same after the off track adventure he returned to the pits to ready the machine for its final race of the day in the Pro Twins class.
McMartin rode the 1299 in all three Pro Twins races on Sunday to expedite the development of the new 1299. Taking an immediate liking to the power and torque of the upgraded Ducati flagship McMartin was able to secure the round win with three magnificent victories ahead of team mate Beaton on the KH Equipment Irving Vincent.
Whilst disappointed that the results in the Superbike class did not reflect the pace of the new bike, the team were overjoyed at the strong results for both riders in the Pro Twins category.
Following the successful debut of the new Racers Edge Performance North Coast V-Twins 1299 Panigale the fine tuning of the bike will now continue with both riders hoping to secure some track time prior to the next round of the championship at Queensland Raceway in August.
“I cannot believe how different this new 1299 is” explained Beau Beaton. “I know we only rode it for the first time on Friday morning but I am still a little disappointed to not match our laptimes we had set on the 1199. Still, we got some good data that we will be able to use and a test day before the next round will help us considerably. Having Craig ride the 1299 was also a big help, he is so smooth and consistent, he has so much experience and everything he contributed helped with the laptimes. Having the opportunity to do double duty also helped, apart from the additional track time. Riding the Irving Vincent helped me with lines in some corners and the bike improved so much with the work Ken and Barry did from Saturday to Sunday we were able to really challenge Angus (Reekie) and Mario (Gonzales) in top speed and laptimes more so than Saturday. The bike moved on a lot this weekend in terms of handling and fuelling and there is still more to come. To come second to Craig was a great result”.
“I haven’t raced since mid-last year and to come back with five wins from five starts over the weekend is fantastic” commented multiple Pro-Twins Champion, Craig McMartin. “To be truthful I had taken a back seat as I wasn’t really enjoying racing like I had previously but this new 1299 has rekindled that passion. To take the round victory on Sunday was a great feeling and a lot of fun. Due to a lack of time following taking delivery of the bike in the lead up to this round all we were able to do was fit the Ducati Performance exhaust system, ECU chip and the Racers Edge fairings, luckily the bike comes ready to hit the track straight off the showroom floor and that’s exactly what we did on Friday. The chassis and electronics are so different on the new 1299 we decided it was best to get both of us to ride it to try different setups each time it hit the track. Beau is a little heavier than me so we use slightly different settings and it was always a little bit of a compromise but that’s what we need to do to get this bike up to pace. The two things that stood out to me were the torque and the electronics package, both of these meant that the chassis setup is considerably different and gave us a lot work to do to get the full potential out of the new 1299”.
“This new 1299 Panigale is so different we have had to throw out our setup sheets from the 1199” said Team Manager Greg Maher “We had our tails hanging out all weekend making full on changes to the bike. With both riders in two classes on the same motorcycle we had plenty to do to change the bike around between races. Changing fairings, wheels, transponders as well as getting it fuelled up and ready to go with only a race in between was hard work for “Doc” and I. Hopefully with a bit more time in the saddle both riders will get even faster and the setup of the bike will move forward, I feel we have only just scratched the surface of the potential of the 1299. Whilst we are disappointed that we had some issues out of our control in the Superbike class Craig had a great result in the Pro Twins and to finish 1-2 with Beau behind on the Irving Vincent was a great result. Hopefully we can get some more track time before the Queensland round to try some more settings, especially in the gearing, the new bike has so much more torque, we changed rear sprockets twice and I think we could even try some more yet”.