Updated: Nov 15, 2022
What a way to end our racing year and the 2022 Victorian Road Racing Championships. We had an absolute belter of a weekend at the 4th and final round at Broadford State Motorcycle Complex this weekend just past.
It was filled with numerous race wins, thrilling racing, lots of hard work, great team work by all and a championship win too boot.
In total we had 5 Supersport riders in the Race Center stable. Championship regulars and main team members Tim (TL Turbo) Large #74, Harley (Sauce) Side #95, Luke (the Colonel) Sanders #88 and and Will Sharrock #44 were joined by the returning Chris (Shovel) Cucuzza #05. Chris has had a long lay off due to 2 big injuries, house renovations and all that other life stuff.
Largey #74 took a 22 point lead into the final round of the championship over Race Center stablemate, Harley Side #95 and kicked things off in brilliant style taking pole position by a convincing 0.3sec over Sanders #88.
P1 - Tim Large 57.5
P2 - Luke Sanders 57.8
P5 - Harley Side 58.3
P6 - Will Sharrock 58.5
P12 - Chris Cucuzza 60.9
After a pretty decent stack on Friday that had left his main bike needing a lot of TLC from Jools and team, Sanders #88 wasn't paying too much attention to the championship battle between his 2 teammates.
All of the Race Center riders were given clear instructions going into the championship decider. Race and fight as normal, never do dumb or disrespectful stuff, but race hard and you don't owe each other any favors. Whoever ends up winning the championship needs to earn it! We think that is the fairest way when you have a team with so many riders, each with their own path to forge.... but it can be bloody hard to watch at times.
Tim got his usual ripper start from pole and lead the first 5 laps with Sanders right on his hammer. Tim and Luke had made a little bit of a gap to the chasing pack and it was a clear battle between the two.
On lap 6 Luke made a stunning pass into turn 1, hard but clean and fair. Tim hung with Luke for the majority of the remaining 6 laps but Luke had the pace and it was going to take a big fight from Tim to upset Luke's first ever win in the 600 Supersport class. Luke almost cost himself the victory with a mistake into turn 1 on the 2nd last lap, but in the end he took the victory from Tim with Sauce back in a bit of a distant 4th.
It was great reward for Luke and his team headed by Julian (Jools) after a pretty tough year. Especially with the amount of repairs required to the bike overnight.
P1 - Luke Sanders
P2 - Tim Large +1.2sec
P4 - Harley Side +7.0sec
P5 - Will Sharrock +15.6sec
P10 - Chris Cucuzza +42.1sec
P1 - Tim Large
P2 - Harley Side -25 points
P3 - Luke Sanders - 50 points (now mathematically impossible)
After dooms day predictions weather wise, we awoke on Sunday to surprisingly dry conditions. The location of the Broadford track can be like that and to have our final day of the season in dry conditions was bloody awesome. Clouds were always looming so we did have our wet bikes ready to go, however they were not needed.
With the championship all but done, young Saucey really woke up on Sunday. A brief chat with team boss Dazza helped shift Saucey #95 into gear. "Sauce, if you don't beat Tim in this race the championship is over, simple. Be respectful, he is your team mate after all but now it's up to you and it's up to you if you're willing to fight. Odds are against you but you have nothing to loose, it's time to have a real dip."
Whether that helped or not, one thing is for certain! Saucey came out punching and with real intent.
From P5 on the grid he was an utter animal on a mission.
Again Tim took the holeshot and lead the fist 2 laps before in form man, Luke Sanders took the lead. Saucey worked his way up onto the back of Tim and passed his championship rival on lap 6.
While being in front of Tim was enough to keep the championship alive, Saucey wasn't done yet. He put his massive head down, closed the 1 sec gap to Luke and made a solid and convincing pass on lap 9. From that point Luke and Saucey couldn't be separated by any more than a bike length for the remainder of the race. It really was thrilling to watch.
On the final lap it looked like a Saucey victory was on the cards. A small mistake in the final turn and a monster exit from Luke saw Sanders take his 2nd win of the weekend by a ridiculous 0.014 of a second! Absolute nail bitter and it really was just 0.014 of a second. Wild!
Largey finished in P4 which left the his championship lead at 22 points. The only way Sacuey could win was to win the next and final race while Largey had to DNF.
P1 - Luke Sanders
P2 - Harley Side +0.014sec
P4 - Tim Large +6.4sec
P5 - Will Sharrock +7.0sec
P8 - Chris Cucuzza +33.3sec
P1 - Tim Large
P2 - Harley Side -22 points
While a 22 point lead going into the final race is significant, there is nothing like pressure. Motorcycle racing is a tough and brutal sport at times, anything can happen. It really doesn't take much to have a crash or get caught up in someone else's accident when pushing the bike to it's limits.
The mathematics were simple, Harley had to win and Largey needed not to finish.
Again TL got his usual holeshot but this time Luke really wasn't stuffing around, passing Tim on lap one to take the lead, a lead he held until lap 7. All the while Luke was trying to build a gap, that little mongrel Saucey had his hooks in and had no intension of letting the championship go that easily.
The young Salsa man again had worked his way from P5 on the grid into 2nd, then closed down the gap to Sanders. With a decent run out of Turn 2, Saucey went crazy late braking into Broadford's famous crash corner and pulled of his signature move to take the race lead. Again firm but fair!
Saucey held the lead for the next 4 laps but Sanders was on a proper mission to put a year of hard luck, tough times, pain, injuries and disappointment behind him. Luke re-took the lead on lap 11 and was wise to Saucey's strengths. Despite Saucey's best efforts, Luke won his 3rd race in a row. Going into the weekend with never taking a race win in this class, Luke won all bloody 3! What a stela performance.
Saucey gave it his all, he fought to the bitter end, taking 2 wins through the year, pumping out heaps of 57s, doing his first ever 1.38 at Phillip Island and pushing Tim all the way.
But in the end, Tim TL Turbo Large showed his class and is the deserved 2022 Victorian Supersport Champion. We are so proud of him, all our riders and all of our team.
Will Sharrock had a bit of a shocker with a poor start and running off track mid race. But he has dropped his times massively this year, finished 4th in the championship and more is to come from him.
Cucuzza had a brilliant race, doing his first ever 59sec lap and took a fantastic 5th place.
P1 - Luke Sanders
P2 - Harley Side +0.417sec
P4 - Tim Large +14.9sec
P5 - Chris Cucuzza +29.2sec
P9 - Will Sharrock +38.2sec
P1 - Tim Large
P2 - Harley Side
P3 - Luke Sanders
P4 - Will Sharrock
What a year! It is not just the riders, the support crew for an operation like this is truly massive and they have all performed outstandingly.
Bricko, Jools, Dingo, Jake, Bill, Bob, Glenn, Mick, Angela, Daryl, Alex, Jason, Leeroy, Rob V, Danny D, Joel, Boner, Woggo and all of our extended family and team.
We have to say a massive thank you to everyone that help make our dreams come true and enjoy this sport so much.
The Preston Motorcycle Club, Motorcycling Victoria, Race Marshalls Victoria, all the medics, Race Bike Tyre Services, Eric, all the volunteers and media personnel.
Huge thank you to Russell Colvin #783 media for all the photos and memories, they are really precious. Also thank you to Cameron White from Action Plus for his photos of our team.
We are so lucky to have this race team. It has been a very emotional year but we know Nathan Jones and his family would be proud of how the team have conducted themselves all year.
We also want to thank all our supporters and workshop customers. You guys are just amazing.
We are changing some things in 2023. Largey will be transferred to Superbike testing duties, as yet we do not have the budget to run a race program for him but he will be on a test program on a Superbike and if the budget does open up he will race. Sanders will leave our VRRC team in order to leave space and focus for others. But Luke will be spearheading our charge at selected ASBK rounds on the 600. FY!
We will be doing a few other articles in coming days about our other classes and riders so stay tuned for that. Particularly Brad Shaw in SBK!!
Huge thank you to our sponsors and product suppliers, we wouldn't promote a product supplier unless we truly believe in their products. We use them because we know they are bloody great.
DNA High Performance Filters
SBS Brake pads
Pirelli Motorcycle Tyres
Translogic Blippers and Quickshifters
Thermal Technology Tyre Warmers
Barkbuster Lever Gaurds
Peter Stevens Motorcyles
The Grinning Dingo
We are looking for partners for 2023 and beyond, what better way to promote your brand awareness than partner with our racing family.