Vendetta Racing: D-Day at the Dubai Autodrome
So here we are, last race day of the season and although Mahmoud was 31 points clear of the second placed riders (Alan Boyter and Erikas Savikas), there were 60 points on offer as double (now that is a Brucey Bonus you don’t get every day) the normal points were on offer, the championship was not secure!
The battle for second in the championship was much closer as 6 points covered Alan, Erikas, Steve and Joe. This battle was going down to the wire, possibly the last corner on the last lap of the last race.
Mahmoud and his ever faithful “race engineer” Ian had a plan (actually they had several to cover most eventualities) to win the championship. Sadly Mahmouds teammate Alan couldn’t be back in Dubai in time to race due to work commitments in the UK, this left him out of the running for 2nd place in the championship. This still left Erikas, Steve and Joe though. You just knew this was going to be one hum dinger of a race day.
The race day consisted of a 15 minute warm-up, a 20 minute qualifying session and 2 16 lap races. This was going to put a lot of stress on the tyres so some careful pressure and lap management was going to be needed.
The first strategy of the day was played. The team decided to run old tyres in the warm-up to gauge the condition of the track and to save the new tyres for qualifying and the 2 races. Still Mahmoud was quickest overall so it was all looking good.
New tyres were fitted ready for the pole position run. 2 laps to scrub the tyres in, 2 laps to build some heat into the tyres and 2 flying laps. Well after the first flying lap Mahmoud was only 2nd quickest in class, still no worries his second flying lap was over 0.7 seconds quicker than the next rider in class. Ian claims he was mopping his brow because of the heat…….
Sadly Erikas encountered severe clutch / gearbox issues and so his team feverishly set about stripping the clutch to identify and fix the problem.
Fraser (Clerk of the Course) imparted his wisdom on what not to do after the races, ie: no wheelies, no burnouts, no stunting, otherwise disqualification and a visit to the race stewards (with credit card in hand!) would result. Yes boss……
The teams were also informed that they would need to drain their fuel tanks in front of the scrutineer and then refill the fuel tank with fuel provided by the Autodrome. Of course this process was only going to start 1 hour 15 minutes before the riders where due to leave the pits……
Good old Ian ensured that Mahmoud was 1st in line and thus minimized the stress levels, well we had claimed class pole position.
The team got onto the grid nice and early to calm any nerves and with the claxon sounding it was time to clear the grid, Ian’s last words were “win the race if you can, if you can’t then finish the race but LOOK AT YOUR PIT BOARD”.
The first 5 laps had Nasser (1,000cc BMW), Mahmoud (Triumph 675), Joe (Ducati 848) and Steve (CBR 600) running nose to tail. Erm Nasser and Mahmoud you were supposed to be about 5 seconds up the track by this point.
Lap 6 and Joe overtakes Mahmoud, this wasn’t in the script. Still, plenty of more laps to correct this aren’t there Mahmoud? Lap 8 and there is no sign of Joe. We found out later that he slid off his bike at turn one on lap 7. Luckily he was ok and the bike just lost its front mudguard and gained a few battle scars. The rest of the race saw Nasser and Mahmoud gradually pull away from Steve.
Ian hung out the pit board P1 & L1 (P1 in class and L1 last lap), please keep it sunny side up and let Nasser win the race. Mahmouds wife and the Duseja Team gather on the pit wall, ears listening to every word Phil the commentator said “the leaders are approaching turn 16 (last corner on the circuit), Nasser takes the win with Mahmoud taking second place”. Well that was it, Mahmoud had done it. The Team high 5’d and hugged each other whilst waiting for Mahmoud to complete his slow down lap.
And here comes the Champion wearing a champions t-shirt! The team looked all puzzled as to where he got the t-shirt from. Ian looked a bit sheepish but wasn’t saying a word. More celebrations and it was time for the podium. All of the riders came over to congratulate Mahmoud which was a very nice gesture by them.
A big well done to Omar Naji who took his first ever podium position. He wasn’t sure what to do so he was told to follow Mahmoud, somebody did say tongue in check that he didn’t have to follow Mahmoud onto the podium 30 seconds later…….
Joe fixed his bike and leathers (duct tape has many uses). This time the race was a somewhat calmer affair as Nasser and Mahmound pulled away from the rest of the field at the rate of nearly a second a lap. With one lap to go they were nose to tail, with one corner to go Mahmoud thought about diving up the inside of Nasser but thought better of it as there was another rider (Leon Chad) there and he didn’t want to cause a crash. Still, another class victory was claimed.
In the evening the Autodrome laid on a very nice BBQ to go with the awards ceremony. So up steps Mahmoud to receive his championship trophy and a voucher from Stand 21 for the rider who scored the most points in the season (206 out of a possible 210). Right time to P A R T whY? Because we won the championship……
So Mahmoud won 12 out of 14 races and finished 2nd in the other 2. This may look as if the championship was easy but Alan and Erikas pushed Mahmoud very very hard and everybody had to raise their game accordingly.
Thank you time:
Mahmoud and Ian would like to thank their families for letting them spend so much time at the circuit testing and racing (although they do enjoy the peace and quiet at home!), Aldrin at Pro-Bikes for preparing the bikes, Fitness First for the use of the gym, Duseja Motos for their support, Darren @ www.anysportphotos.com for his season long pictures and Jai for sticking his camera everywhere during the last race day to record the day in pictures. And Of course, thanks have to go to the Autodrome for putting on the race days.
The question is what to do between now and September?
So until next season, see ya
Mahmoud & Ian (seen walking away, trophies in hand singing(!) “we are the champions, we are the champions, of Dubai)