Updated: May 19, 2020
It was time for things to go official in the land of the Skippies - Joe Bradley, the host and the other admins had come up with an official calendar - and would be using the MotoGP points system which goes as follows: 1st -25 2nd -20
3rd - 15 4th - 13
5th - 11 6th - 10
7th - 9
8th - 8 9th - 7 10th - 6 11th - 5 12th - 4 13th - 3 14th - 2 15th - 1 The rest of the finishers and non-finishers would be receiving nothing. Summit Point is an incredible circuit, being very tight, technical - and needing slightly larger balls to get around there quickly.
The first pole-man of the season would turn out to be Naser Teymourian with an impressive time of 1:22.449 - The man himself Joe Bradley would be starting alongside him with Darren Wood on his tail and Luis Fernandez (not officially part of MOFO) rounding out the second row. Truswell would be starting down in 7th out of a grid of 8.
Drivers Outside 107% Rule (1:28.220)
8th - Nicholas Daman - 1:28.398
A Bit Of History
Before getting into the race - It's worth noticing the sheer amount of iconic Formula One liveries that this Grid holds - all from different Eras - and all for different reasons - in total this grid spanned liveries from just over 3 decades!
TL: Joe Bradley ran the iconic pin-stripe Martini livery inspired by the stunning 1975 Brabham BT44B - but was specifically made to fit the Skippy in a new deal. MT: Luis Fernandez was racing the gorgeous 1988 McLaren MP4/4 livery used by Prost and Senna. TR: Ewen was behind him in the eye-catching 1992 Williams livery that Mansell piloted BL: Moving into the current decade was Simon Herring running BAR Honda's 2000 Lucky Stride livery
BM: Robin Truswell would round up the field by racing the very shiny McLaren livery from 2011
The lights went out at Summit and everyone was away - this would be a huge race to decide the pecking order for the season ahead.
Truswell was keen to get a wriggle on as he passed Herring on the straight to turn 3, as the top 4 jostled for every spare inch of track. Truswell's move would be quickly undone however a he ran too hot into the final corner skirting wide into the gravel bed - both Herring and Daman would find their way past without difficulty. Lap 2 would then see Bradley manage to get passed Teymourian for the lead by getting a better run out of the penultimate corner and using this momentum to get past at the final corner - all whilst Wood keeps a close eye on the unfolding battle and keeping both honest. As they crossed the line to start lap 3 - Bradley would be a sitting duck as both Teymourian and Wood would use the slipstream given to them.
Bradley would then brake later, and have more momentum going into turn one, putting it up the inside of Teymourian. Fernandez - who was in 4th also caught up to this gaggle as Teymourian and Bradley went sidepod-to-sidepod into the third turn - Bradley gaining the position momentarily.
Try as Teymourian may, the track was too narrow - and Bradley's defending was working - he'd have to wait for another lap for another go.
This time with slipstream on his side, Teymourian got ever closer to Bradley's gearbox, before pulling out just before the start/finish line it was a battle of brakes and balls going into turn one - who'd be the bravest? Who'd brake too late?
Neither, Teymourian had the inside line so had priority - Wood who had been watching intensely over the last couple of lap finally saw an opening and went for it - side by side with Bradley as they both thundered down to turn two - Bradley pushed Wood as hard as he may - Wood just clipping the grass, giving Bradley the momentum to slot back into second.
Fernandez - in 4th would try for move into the 90-degree left hander, but this would end up with a touch of tyres and Fernandez backing out. Further back, another battle had recently developed - Truswell VS Daman - having recovered from his off-track moment, Truswell had managed to catch up with Daman and was ready for a fight. Truswell too tried to go down the inside at turn 3, and hang around the outside of 4, but had the same result as Fernandez's attempt albeit without contact.
The top 4 spread out a little with Bradley and Teymourian's fight still well and truly lit - and Wood and Fernandez a few seconds back.
At the start of the 5th lap - Bradley would dummy to the left - but Teymourian wouldn't take it and stayed to the right of the circuit - Bradley ambitiously tried to go even more to the right - surely it would all end in tears?!
Bradley had some sense and backed out - Teymourian would take his normal line (or tough defence line) - but Bradley was carrying too much speed and bumped into the back of the leader, pitching him into a half spin!
After righting himself, his rear wheel pushed Joe onto the grass - giving Wood all he needed to gain the position Fernandez too tried to capitalise on this opportunity - but backed off going into turn 2.
There was also an update from the battle for 6th place featuring Daman and Truswell - the duo (separated by a couple of seconds) had caught up with 5th place - Simon Herring.
Daman lost the rear into the final corner - only just managing to save it with a impressive slide - this destroyed the gap to Truswell - and the young 19 year old was over Daman like a hound-dog. - managing to pull alongside his competitor for the duration of the straight - despite going a little deep into turn one, Daman would hold onto the position and marginally extend the gap.
Back up front, Bradley would go wide into the gravel bed at turn two - with 1st to 4th being as close as they were - mistakes like this were costly - and impressive move around the outside of Bradley at the kink before turn 3 put Wood into 2nd with Teymourian still leading.
Returning to the Daman VS Truswell battle, Daman made a small mistake going into turn three - just locking up slightly - Truswell once again tries up the inside, but just didn't have the momentum to carry it forth. Truswell's Shiny McLaren (livery) would continue to stay with Daman for the rest of the lap - Daman would eventually catch Herring - and pull to the right of him - this battling would only help Truswell to close the gap further.
Truswell too would catch the duo on the straight - pulling out to making it three wide when he was a car-length or so behind. Truswell and Herring spotted their braking points and hit the brakes - Daman was a little late, and slid wide at turn one - allowing Truswell and Herring to go for a drag-race up to turn two.
Having the inside for Herring was incredibly advantageous as he was able to keep the position - Truwell was still in the chase but things were about to change....
From a good car-length or so back, Daman dived down the inside of us both to take 5th place
Truswell then pulled of a very controversial move - which has received a very split opinion within the community.
Post-race, Truswell said
"I saw a gap down the inside of Simon (Herring), created by Daman so I went for it. In that moment when you are racing - as bad as it sounds - you don't think "am I going to take him out?" you think, I need to get past this guy, and there's a large gap, so I will give him room and respect him and his space - but I will till do this move" I never actually realised I hit him until post-race"
Bradley on the other hand - had a different view, saying "That was a kamikaze dive! All the net-code did was create the accident slightly before it happened. You would have taken Simon off. You can’t just dive down the inside of people and expect people to get out of your way. You can only pass where the speed differential is substantial enough to allow it. Trying to pass people because you are going 3mph faster isn’t really on. Sometimes you have to back out of it and wait till the braking area of the next corner.
Good move from Nick. Time had run out for you Robin." He later added "I think robin was a bit ambitious there. It wasn’t like he was on Nicks gearbox. Nothing to do with net code." Following seeing the on-board replay of Truswell, there was a slight change of attitude "In fairness Robin. You were carrying a lot more speed than Simon who had had to back out of it as Nick came through. Looked quite tame from your cockpit. " Simon Herring, the victim also had something to say "I saw nick coming so made room for him, then I turned in only to find you had changed your mind a then made the move" and he too, changed stance once seeing the alternative angle of Truswell's cockpit. Yes agree (to Joe's statement) robin not a flicker from your side, while I am eating dust"
To conclude, Truswell admitted to it being a "rash and unplanned overtake" - and moves - especially this one do take at least a corner or more to be planned and executed - which this was not. He finished by saying "This move was not to intentionally take Simon out, or to hit him, I just saw a large gap and in the moment I went for it, should this scenario take place again, I will take much more caution and plan ahead"
At the end of this lap - Truswell would try and go up the inside of Daman at the final corner. This would pay off as Daman would go wide - barely missing the gravel bed on the outside. This gave Truswell the opportunity to go up the inside
Knowing Daman's antics, Truswell lifted a little earlier for turn one, allowing Daman to come up the inside, before doing the cutback on the exit - not an inch of space was between them on the run up to turn 2.
Daman would only momentarily gain the position, as he'd run wide into turn 2, allowing Truswell to get back at him down the inside...
Daman wouldn't give up that easily, and would then get back up the inside of Truwell for the famous (or infamous) turn three - contact may've been made, but Truswell was able to keep fighting.
Whilst all of this was going on, the battle for the lead still raged on. No position changes happened, but that was about to change.
Lap 8 onto lap 9. Wood used his slipstream to pull alongside the leader - Teymourian - Wood is on the outside of turn one - Teymourian drifts over to where he is - a wheel bang, before going to the inside of the track, where Bradley is - another small touch - this was followed by a third little - none of those are affected - but forth place man Luis Fernandez wasn't happy...
Turn three would then be the scene of yet more excitement as Bradley would giver Teymourian (the leader) a little nudge, allowing himself to get on the outside for turn four for a cutback - but unfortunately this didn't pay off, and he remained second....but Lap 10 was where it all ended in spectacular style. All four were in a slip-streaming train heading down to the first turn, Bradley pulled out and alongside Teymourian - Darren tried to squeeze in the middle of them both - but there w just no room - he backed off a little but was still partially alongside Teymourian. Wood missed his braking point by millimetres - losing it slightly under braking, he nudged up against Teymourian before his front left clipped Bradley's left rear - putting all three in the gravel bed with damage...
This came at a perfect time for Truswell, as Daman had just lost it under braking and went straight on at turn 3.
With Teymourian pitting (Bottom Right), this would put Truswell in an incredibly reasonable 4th place.
Truswell was able to hold off Teymourian for 3/4 of a lap - Teymourian only managing to get past on the final corner.
Despite Truswell getting alongside Teymourian on the back straight, the fight was short-lived as Teymourian managed to create a gap and get away.
With the various incidents throughout the race, the pack had been separated quite a bit - with only the top two - Fernandez and Wood fighting.
Skip (heh.) forward 5 laps, to Lap 18, and Daman had caught up to Truswell's falling pace (as Truswell wasn't fighting anyone, he had no reason to push) - as this was occurring, Bradley had an incredibly unfortunate and frustrating accident which would end up affect Truswell too. Bradley went too hot into turn 2, went into the gravel, and with the reduced traction - he was just a passenger and the wall was waiting for him.
The hit completely destroyed his steering and a tow back to the pit-lane was needed.
Daman would then have an excellent final corner - and then "launch" it up the inside - Daman managed to hold on to this position for a good while, before Truswell made another opportunistic move into turn 3. This time he had a considerable amount more of momentum than Daman - so could get the move done quickly and cleanly.
The battle for the lead also massively heat up as well - Fernandez managed to pass previous leader Darren Wood on the brakes going into turn one (Fernandez managing to get alongside Wood using the slipstream of the straight.
Wood would try and get the cutback - but to no avail.
The battle for 4th place also ended in dramatic fashion with Daman out-braking himself, braking on the grass and then spinning out. With fewer than 5 minutes left in the session - it was going to be a tall order to recover the time.
Back to the lead battle, Wood managed to get back past Fernandez into the first turn by being a little later on the brakes - Fernandez used this to try and do a cut-back - but this didn't work either. The seconds were counting down
Lap 22. The final lap. Luis Fernandez did his signature move of braking late and getting the move done at turn one.
Despite a cheeky lunge at the exit of turn 3, there was little Darren could do.
He kept on Fernandez, hoping his opponent would make a mistake, but time and corners ran out. Luis had the inside for the final corner. Darren Wood lost by 0.068 - but a second place is highly respectable and a 4th place from Truswell - I'm sure he's chuffed with himself after that one
COVID CUP ROUND 1 - Results:
1st Luis Fernandez
2nd Darren Wood
3rd Naser Teymourian
4th Robin Truswell
5th Nicholas Daman
6th Ewen Honeyman
7th Simon Herring
8th Joe Bradley
DNS/DSQ - Sean Mitchell
With a race like this - I am PUMPED for the championship ahead!