Frank Trombino and crew rolled into Shannonville Motorsport Park on a wet, cool morning for the first round of the national series June 7-9. After getting off to a late start on the season, and crew chief James Collins being diagnosed with testicular cancer, the team is just happy to be at the track!
With the late start to the season the team was unable to finish preparation on the Aprilia RSV4 and chose to compete on last season’s Suzuki GSX-R600. Craig Atkinson of Kahuna Cycle worked hard to prepare the bike for competition just two weeks prior to round one action.
With dry conditions in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday the decision was made to not ride in the wet Friday practices. Instead the decision was made to check fuel mapping as there was a new MWR racing air filter installed. It quickly became apparent the bike was suffering from a strange problem not seen by the team before. James worked all afternoon on the bike testing all the electrical system for possible faults.
“I tested everything out, I tried two fuel pumps and nothing improved,” said James. “It wasn’t until Saturday after morning practice I decided to pull the throttle bodies and swap them with a set borrowed from FAST School. It was a rush to get ready for 600 qualifying but we pulled it off and soon the hard work would pay off.”
A new set of Pirelli tires was installed and Frank was off for Pro Sport Bike qualifying. It was quickly apparent all the distraction hadn’t worried Frank. He was looking confident and with his Performance Drink boost he was focused! He was quickly on top of the leader board setting a fast lap of 1:06.344. Wanting to go faster Frank asked James to go back out and set a faster time. The Bickle tire warmers were quickly removed and Frank was on track. Although it proved his 1:06.3 would have been fast enough for pole Frank improved on his time running a 1:06.266 backing it up immediately with a 1:06.275.
The bike was then prepared for Superbike Qualifying. Again Frank took to the track to put in a quick lap early, enough to secure a spot in the top 10 to run in 10 minutes of Mopar Superpole action. Running on used tires Frank was not able to improve on his Sport Bike time but qualified a respectable seventh place (second row) with a time of 1:06.303. This was the fastest time on a supersport machine nearly 80hp down from the power produced by the superbike machines.
Sunday brought sun and warm temperatures. James took the bike to the dyno to dial in the low end throttle response and try to squeeze every last bit out of the bike for race day. A new set of Pirelli tires was installed as the bike was prepared for final race action.
The Draft Picks/Trombino Racing GSX-R600 was ready to go as was Frank. The riders were under starter’s orders, and before you knew it the lights were out and the race was underway. Frank did not have his usual start but after a brave entry into turn one was able to hold the lead. He held onto the lead with impressive style until a fuelling problem once again appeared. It was heartbreaking for the crew who had worked so hard and the disappointment was apparent as Frank crossed the finish line in second place.
With an hour to find the problem and have the Suzuki ready for superbike action, the crew quickly decided to change out the fuel pump. Thanks to fellow competitor Alex Welsh for looking through his spares and lending a fuel pump the bike was ready for action.
Starting from the outside of row two Frank and James strategized a starting strategy. Frank once again fuelled up by Performance Drink had an amazing launch and by turn two had pushed his way into second place. Head down and hard charging he was able to fend off BMW rider Matt McBride down the long back straight and hold on to fourth place with an impressive fastest lap of 1:05.762, one of only five riders able to lap faster than a 1:06 and the only supersport bike to do so.
Impressing everyone Frank never looked back and held onto fourth place the entire race distance, a very respectable ride for a supersport machine.
The whole team is now preparing for superbike action at the upcoming CSBK round two in St-Eustache July 5-7.
A special thank you to all our sponsors:
Draft Picks sports grill, Paquale’s Tratotoria, Rossini Banquet, Performance Drink, GB Race covers, MWR race air filters, BlueStreak Racing, Ohlins, Pirelli tires, Orion Motorsports, Trackside Cuts, Vortex, Hindle, BrakeTech and Acme Slate.
–From Trombino Racing