We would like to congratulate our good friend Ian on his journey from top novice in 2010 to being a champion in 2013. We appreciate Ian choosing Minnovation Racing engines to get the job done, well done mate!
CRMC Snetterton 2013
We arrived at sunny Snetterton in contention for the ACU 500 championship, an outside chance of the GP1 500 club championship, and as much chance as anyone else of winning the GP1 500 ROY. Well one out of three - has got to be better than none out of three?
A lovely sunny day and two fresh engines to run in, Lee soon got that sorted and got down to getting gearing and jetting finalised - no dramas or real problems - a good day.
Qualifying for the weekends events started out badly when on the first flying lap Lee lost the rear end going onto the Norwich straight making a real mess (firing squad to be arranged at a later date). One super speed sprint across the grass infield to our pit later, and he is out on the spare bike with only time for one lap remaining. we qualified in second place behind Team Molnars rider Dan Cooper on the super fast 4 - valve Manx, boding well we thought for the weekend ahead, best laid plans etc etc
We got beat simple as that - Mike Cooper pulled out a lead and was never headed, Lee had his hands full with Ollie Linsdell on the Steve Lindsell prepared Super- Enfield, and just got second place on the line. Club championship chase over, and our sincere congratulations go to Mike Cooper on a much deserved championship win.
We made some settings changes for this one and they just did not work - Mike once again clearing off for the win, we pulled Lee in after a couple of laps to save the motor for Sunday.
GP 1 500 R.O.Y
Lee was really up for this and got his head down, but after only a couple of laps Dan Cooper on the Team Molnar Manx had broken the entire field including Mike Cooper in second, Lee in third. Dan's lead by lap three was remarkably just about the full length of the start and finish straight. Couple of laps later and Dan's engine is smoking, putting him out of the race, this was a real shame as Andy has persevered with the 4 valver all year with many teething troubles, but at least he now knows for sure that when he has it sorted he has a race winner on his hands. Couple more laps and Mike Cooper is out with a broken chain, leaving Lee to once again try and hold Ollie Lindsell off, which he managed to do by a whisker, giving us another R.O.Y win, admittedly by default, but a win as they say is a win, and we will take it thank you very much.
A.C.U 500 British championship.
We were on the back foot right from the start as Lee had crashed the Kingsmill Auto's T.Z350 Yamaha in the previous race - his concentration was badly affected by this as he could not work out exactly how it had happened. In the event Mike cleared off to win the ACU championship while Lee suffered a broken primary drive belt while in third. This item was fitted new for the race and we have never had one fail before, will have to see what the manufacturer has to say about this as we can't afford this to ever happen again.
Another season over, and overall although we did not win any championships, we feel we have come a long way this year in terms of race performance, so we would like to thank Lee for always giving 100%for us, our crew chief Mick for always preparing superb race machinery, and as ever our erstwhile patron & M.D George for making it all possible.
C.R.M.C Donington 2013
Lady Luck has been mostly good to us this year, apart from a small blip at Anglesey, so no real complaints for the kicking she gave us at Donnington, all the other top GP1 500 teams have had an assortment of misfortunes at some point or other this year, and we were sure to cop our share eventually. The thing with running a 500 classic at this level is that with certain notable exceptions, the lap times are usually amongst the quickest in any class on any race weekend, with the least amount of engine power - so something will always give eventually. Qualifying started things off well enough with Lee posting second to Mike Cooper by seven tenths - a fair effort. He also posted second to Ian Simpson in the 350cc Post Classic class on the Kingsmill Autos TZ 350, this time qualifying just ahead of Mike In third.
First GP1 500 race: The Cooper & Hodge show continues - after Mike's trademark steady couple of laps to warm the tyres up - followed by a bit of dicing for a few laps, then gradually pulling away from Lee to win the race by by more or less his qualifying advantage - with the chasing pack some six seconds behind them.
Second race: More or less the same as the first to begin with - until Lee pulled into pit lane after a few laps with as it turned out a damaged return oil pump. This caused by a camchain tensioner spring retaining hook breaking and being pulled into the pump gears. Fortunately no other damage done, a new pump and tensioner spring fitted and she was ready to go. You just can't dress for silly things like this happening, but we were very fortunate, we could have had a wrecked engine. Mike went on to win the race by a country mile.
First race: We will never know now, but when Lee woke up really up for it Sunday morning, we thought it was going to be our day. The first race was going great until Craner curves on the opening lap when our hero in a moment of madness decides to try and overtake Mike and Mark Cronshaw, two blokes who you already know are on or thereabouts the limit - on cold tyres on the first lap. He made a fantastic recovery to finish third behind Mike and Mark. See the provided link to 'you tube' for the instruction manual to Lee's shortcut. Lee knows he messed up, sorted it out in his head, and moved on. Another great win for Mike.
Second race: Things are going great until the second lap when our bike splutters to a halt, right bang on the starting grid and gets embarrassingly parked on the grass opposite in full view of pit lane, with a broken coil wire - bike running perfectly again in the pit garage ten minutes later, thanks once again Lady Luck. Another clean sweep GP1 500 weekend puts Mike deservedly in the driving seat of the club championship tables, so all we can do now is to try our best in the final round at Snetterton in a few weeks time. On a brighter note Lee had some fantastic results on the St Neots Motorcycles prepared Kingsmill Autos TZ350 Yamaha - including his first win in this class, and it was a real pleasure to share a pit garage for the weekend with Ted, John, Mike and crew - a real decent bunch of people.
C.R.M.C Pembrey July 2013
Had a great trip down to Pembrey on the Thursday and got set up In the lovely weather, got the mountain bikes out - and forgot about going racing for a while.
Friday afternoon practice soon got the G50's sorted out leaving plenty of time for Lee to get some laps in on the St Neots Motorcycles prepared T.Z 350 Yamaha, provided for him by his good friend, and supporter Mattie Kingsmill.
We have felt for a while now that Lee was 'missing out' on track time compared to his rivals, and feel that racing Mattie's T.Z alongside the Minnovation Racing G50 will only be good for the show.
Saturday: Hats off to the organisers - we got an untimed practice session, as well as qualifying, and this is how it should be, we hope it continues to be so - it certainly makes the A.C.U race more credible. Lee got his set up spot on and was rewarded with GP1 500 pole position.
Race one: In very hot conditions the top lads all got stuck in and after Mike Coopper dropped out, with as it turns out a broken frame - it became a straight bun fight between Lee and Ollie Lindsell on the super fast Paton, with Ollie just getting it by a whisker after Lee got backmarkered on the fast right hander leading onto the home straight.
Some of the guys who are regularly at the back of the field really should consider going parading, because for certain they are not racing, and getting lapped every race must be plain demoralizing, and no fun at all.
A.C.U GP1 500 race: This was a cracker and over ten laps in what can only be described as baking heat, the top three gave a high speed exhibition on how to go about racing, the result only being decided in the last couple of laps when Lee finally managed to make a pass stick on Mike to take his (and our) first British championship victory, with a very hot and bothered looking Mark Cronshaw completing the podium.. This bus has been a long time coming and the significance of the win is huge for us as a team. Big smiles (and a few tears) all round.
Race two: Only half an hour or so after the A.C.U race and with a still stinking hot engine Lee rode the wheels out of the bike to hold off a super determined Mark Cronshaw to take the win. We could have used our No 2 bike - but we have to push our engines to the limit to make sure our customers get a good product, and we can honestly say that our customers get the same level of performance that Lee enjoys, its the only way to do the job properly.
Sunday - Race one: With Mike Cooper's Craven Concrete Manx frame hastily repaired (again) - both he and Lee got stuck into some very quick laps, Lee being forced into the 1.03's for the first time all weekend, another very good, very tough race, with Lee just getting the verdict, with Oli Lindsell on the Paton third.
Race two: Mike decided to sit this race out, but we got beaten fair and square by Ollie Lindsell as it turned out, on the quicker than ever Paton, after getting baulked at the start of the race by one of our opposition - you know who you are!
Pack up time swiftly followed as we were all ready for home after what had been a fantastic weekend, problem is now - we have to try and do that every weekend..
Noted in dispatches: Alex Sinclair noticeably closer to the G.P bikes on Bob Light's Goldie, both in terms of lap times and track position. Needs a decent meal inside him.
T.Z 350 - A few teething problems on this newly built beautiful bike - but by Lee riding sensibly as ever he got steadily quicker throughout the weekend. Some changes will be made to the bike for Donnington Park, hopefully putting him nearer to where he wants to be.
We are getting to like this racing in the sunshine - but it really does wear the tyres out..
Donnington Park next.
Commando Exhaust Systems
C.R.M.C Cadwell Park June 2013
Friday: Practice went unusually well, weather sunny and dry, bikes running great, all done by lunchtime - rider happy. We all as a team had a good talk about things and everything seemed to pan out how we planned. So with the job sorted, the team manager allowed himself a nap in the afternoon sun - it's his age..
Saturday: Race day started out just about as bad as Cadwell can get, very cold, heavy rain, strong winds. The qualifying race in the morning was tough for everyone, but Lee rode superbly to place third on the grid for the weekend, including the ACU race, although how that works is beyond us - surely a proper A.C.U race should have its own proper qualifying session? - this is event has become just another club race to us (and to many of our competitors too, judging by the paddock gossip) - due to this situation.
First race: Conditions had improved a little, still damp but sunny and we came out 3rd in a mixed bag, even some of the really fast lads exercising caution. The 750's had been placed in with the 500's messing to be fair, each other up, all the way down the field - a split start surely would be a common sense solution if the classes have to be mixed?
Second race: The Michael Cooper steamroller is back on track - we held on as best we could for a brilliant second in class, but a dismal 4th to the public in general - not good for publicity when we are trying to promote a business only benefitting classic racing, but we by now at least felt that we were closing the gap down to the front of the 500 class.
Sunday: First race: Weather lovely and sunny and Michael's bike starts acting up on the way to the line, causing him to miss the start. Lee won the 500 race from a returning Gary Thwaites, Andy Taylor 3rd.
A.C.U 500 race and Lee got a cracking start, leading for a couple of laps of super close racing before Michael slipped past, Lee held on best he could but still it was a superb 2nd place, Andy Taylor 3rd. Made up.
Second race: Mike Cooper decides to sit it out, and Lee goes for it leading until the red flag came out, same story in the re - start. Shame about the 750's making us look like losers, but that's just up to Lee to ride harder in future...
A great weekend, and the socket set never even made an appearance, true! Our commiserations to all around us who had to, our turn next no doubt. I think also we will have the team Molnar four- valver to try and beat at Pembrey, my feeling being that once the inevitable teething troubles have been fixed, we will all be in trouble. Looking forward already to the lovely Welsh sunshine.
Photographs supplied by Dominic Bedford:
C.R.M.C Anglesey 2013
Arriving on the Thursday afternoon, we got ourselves set up and enjoyed the rare welsh sunshine, a teatime invitation to go round for a beer with "next doors" Jason Woodland and his lovely missus Shirley could not be refused, relaxing in the sunshine with good racing folk for once? - not half!
Friday afternoon practice went fine, both bikes flying, rider happy.
Saturday morn we qualified third, our mate Roger.T having the bad luck this weekend, as rider Alan Oversby would have all the fun of starting at the back of the grid for the entire weekend courtesy of a trapped fuel line on his practice outlap.
Race one, and on the outlap our bike is mysteriously misfiring, we finished 6th from pit-lane - how does this happen?
For race two we changed everything electrical, fired the bike up and she sounded great, yes we could have run our spare bike, but we really thought we had it - race two - misfire much worse. Words fail.
Sunday, out on our #2 bike, we got just about what we deserved with two lucky 3rd places, after two close races. Once again our congratulations to Mike Cooper and team, and the fast as ever Alan Oversby, it was also great to see the Cronshaws, Mark and Dad John making a rare appearance, the 500 class always the better with those two involved.
A big shout goes out to C.R.M.C newcomer George Hogton-Rusling who rode outstandingly all weekend often outclassing more modern machinery.
Back at the works, we got #1 bike up on our new Dyno and traced the fault, without the Dyno it would have been almost impossible to find, we would have probably lost many race meetings we are certain as a result.
We need to have a bit of a re-think for Cadwell, as we are still a way off from where we want to be.
Minnovation Racing in house Dyno
C.R.M.C Darley Moor April 2013
The beautiful Derbyshire sunshine shone for most of the weekend, but sadly not on us in the morning 10 minute qualifying race.
We messed up, made a mistake which stopped Lee on his out lap with a minor problem, unfortunately on the far side of the circuit. This promoted us to the back row of the grid for the entire weekend. We discussed this situation with the powers that be to no avail, but we as a team accept the C.R.M.C's rules and will always abide by them.
We feel that everyone concerned with this decision got out of jail free, as four back row starts from a wound up rider who was always going to be at the sharp end ASAP without someone getting hurt was always going to require a bit of luck. We accept the rules are the same for everyone, and would like to offer our thanks to john Davidson who sportingly tried his best to help us. Thoughts of a collision with a stalled bike do not bear thinking about.
Lee as ever rode his heart out and made the best of a bad job, securing three 3rd places and one 4th, eventually ending up with 2nd overall in the GP1 championship behind the dominant Michael Cooper, narrowly in front of the unlucky Alan Oversby who experienced major brake issues towards the end of the first race Saturday, causing him to miss the second, although after some midnight oil burning by evergreen sponsor Roger. T - all was fine by Sunday.
We know as a team that we still have a way to go to get to the level of our more experienced peers, so we congratulate Ted Woof, and our old mate Roger for their results (we also commiserate with the unlucky Tony Dunell and the fast as ever Andy Taylor). We are satisfied that we are at least going in the right direction. Lee had four very lonely rides this weekend, the upside for us is that he still continues to adapt to classic racing.
Kawasaki rider # 73 Richard Blunt deserves special mention, riding superbly in the classic superbike races all weekend, we also congratulate our old friend Graham Salter of "Diptune Racing" who prepared the super-fast motor.
Alex Sinclair proved once again that he is a top class rider on Bob Light's Goldies, being dominant on the 350 & 500 all weekend. We know Dad Ian is very proud of him.
Anglesey next. Looking forward to that.
More happy customers
Brands Hatch March 23rd-24th 2013
Comrade Leeski & crew chief Mick reflect that it would have been warmer back home in Mockba..
It was always going to be a risk running a race meeting so early in the season, last year was scorchio at this time and the weather had been lovely the week before down South, but fair play to the C.R.M.C they went for the last available winter date which was the only way realistically the club could ever have afforded to be at Brands - and it didn't work out.
But hey-ho, next!
At least Team Minnovation had a successful track day on the Friday with a few hours of dry track, which at least bedded the brakes and tyres in, and blew Lee's winter cobwebs away. Looking forward to a hot and sunny Darley Moor next month..
Barry Sheene Festival of Speed - Eastern Creek International Raceway Australia
Congratulations to Graham Roberts on his superb win in the feature Barry Sheene memorial trophy race, riding sponsor Malcolm Sullivan's Minnovation Racing G50 engine powered classic. Our thanks to Aussie G50 rider & top bloke Danny Ahern for the great photos.
Ready for Brands Hatch this weekend!
Peter Kingsnorth - North Island New Zealand, another satisfied customer.
Those Winter preparation for 2013 season blues..
As you can see both jockey and team manager are delighted to have all the works bikes in a thousand pieces.
We realise the coming season will be our most difficult and we know that our opposition will have been striving to improve their machines, but this is racing and it's why we do it.
We recently attended the C.R.M.C - AGM and dinner dance and would like to congratulate the club on putting on another superb event, it's always good to see old friends and have the time to chat in a non racing environment.
Our congratulations go to Steve Dobbie upon his appointment to the committee and to Lee for his 350 twins championship win. We congratulate also our good friends Bob & Wendy Light motorsport on their rider Alex Sinclair clinching both the 350cc & 500cc Goldstar championships. Alex is a good lad and we look forward to seeing him out on track again this season.
Lee has decided to concentrate on the 500 class this year and hopefully we can put a bike under him fit for purpose.
Roll on Brands Hatch end of March.