Dubai: Tannir Moto Racing ‘’Tyred’’ & Emotional
Well what a race day that was. From utter confusion to trophies with degrees of uncertainties in the middle, let us try and unravel the events of race day 3.
Due to the mandatory rear tyre for the 2013-14 season not lasting a single race, rumours circulated that the official tyre supplier (Dunlop) was bringing an alternative tyre to the race day and that the riders could run either the mandatory or optional one with a decision being made on what tyre would be used on the Friday. The optional tyre turned out to be last year’s one but made only the week before…..
After much discussion between Mahmoud and his crew chief (Ian aka “the birthday boy”), the team was keen to run the current tyre at first (of three test sessions) to try another set-up and then switch to the optional new compound. However, just before the current rear tyre was fitted, a notice was issued by the organisers (DAMC) that the optional new tyre was being made the compulsory one. After practice, it looked to be in good condition and giving stable, consistent grip during all test sessions with the day concluding that a good suspension set-up and tyre pressure combination had been found.
Friday dawned dry, bright and sunny. Fairies must have been in the garage overnight as the bike had been decorated with tinsel, decorations, a tree and lights (certain team members refused to answer questions). The team fitted new front brake pads and fluid, got new tyres fitted, an overall check and set-up the pit-board.
Mahmoud used the 10 minutes warm-up session to bed in the new brake pads, scrub in the tyres. With session concluded, the team had 10 minutes to prep the bike for qualifying. A front row start was the plan and sure enough Mamoud followed and qualified the bike in 3rd place as he also worked on a race pace lap time of low 1’47s on the Tnternational circuit. With that done, it was time for birthday cake and as Jenson Button once said “we like cake”.
Race 1 saw Mahmoud get his usual great start but got bumped down to 4th in class in the early laps. This allowed Abdulaziz and Gautam to escape leaving Joe, Mahmoud and Surya fighting over 3rd place in class. The support team were glued to the pit wall monitor with the team giving Mahmoud all the necessary information via the pit board. The international circuit enables the sector times to be displayed and so the team could see the gaps ebb and flow and see who was running in what order during the lap. A very small blanket was needed to cover the three riders and after a long fight, Ducati mounted Joe low sided at turn 1 which caused quite a bit of damage to his bike. At the chequered flag, Mahmoud was 3rd in class and so for the 1st time this season the team were off to the podium.
After the race, Charu (Ian’s wife) arrived with another cake! (see we told you we like cake) and so for the 2nd time, happy birthday was the ‘’tune of the day” and let’s just say Simon Cowell will not be ringing anytime soon!
Race 2 was a similar affair except that this time only Abdulaziz disappeared into the distance after the team had planned to stick to him at the first corner, but Gautam ran too hot into turn 1 leaving Mahmoud with no choice but to sit up to avoid a crash. Joe had rebuilt his bike but the hidden damage caused him to crash hard on lap 2, causing more to his bike but with no injuries to the rider. On lap 5 Mahmoud got and excellent slip stream of Surya and Gautam and out braked the pair of them into the hairpin at the end of the back straight (the on board footage should be spectacular). Gautam had to retire on lap 7 as his slipper clutch failed. This left Mahmoud and Surya to battle it out for 2nd place in class, with less than 0.5 seconds covering them for the last 3 laps, back markers be ware, the freight train was coming through. Now Mahmoud is not the champion for nothing and consistent sector times gave Surya no chance of overtaking him and thus our rider finished the race in 2nd place. Time for another podium visit.
As we packed away the race gear, Scott was seen contemplating just how in the heck he was going to produce a highlights video when there was so much great racing recorded. There was also a whisper that one of the class bikes was being protested by 1 or 2 riders, so watch this space! And so as the team departed to their respective homes for a refreshing shower, they can reflect on their excellent performance and that their title defence was back on track. So until the next race day in January, it is festive greeting from the team.