Words by Gerry Johnson
Well, the adventure is finally over………. Three years of fantastic sport, that couldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the generosity of Labman Automation.
The dream started to hatch (over a few beers probably) during the winter of 2012 – 2013 when son Richy started to get itchy feet with regards to going Motorcycle Road Racing again. He was determined to do something for the 2013 season, and was equally determined to include me in the team, not as spannerman, but as a rider! (and spannerman of course). We looked at Endurance racing, but it was very expensive, along with sharing a bike in the Minitwins class or something similar.
It was Richy that came up with the idea of purchasing two cheap Honda CB500’s, to race in the ThundersportGB 500 National Championship! After some more beers the decision was made but even though it would be relatively cheap (considering), especially with us both sharing costs, we could not do a proper job without extra financial help. I was sure that my employer, Labman Automation would help. I made an initial approach to Senior Manager Jamie Marsay who took the request to various meetings and very quickly came back with a resounding “yes” – such is the supportive culture at Labman, I was always confident of their backing with this exciting venture.
A Fantastic 2nd place to the eventual Series Champion for Richy Boy at Cadwell Park 2014. (Left)
Top step of the podium in the “Thundersport Cup” support race for yours truly at the same event. (Centre)
The rest, as they say, is history. Bikes bought, painted in Labman livery and decals, properly prepared and ready to go. Bike racing is something I personally have had a lifelong passion for and I had always wanted to race but thought I was getting on a bit age wise to participate, especially after some ill health in 2010. I had previously raced Karts and Stock Cars but my main passion has always been two wheels, so it was now or never to have a go. Richy had raced since 2007 and had become as passionate as me about the best sport in the world. After jumping through some competition licence hoops for yours truly, we were ready to go for 2013!
Trophy and Medal haul for both riders from 3 seasons on the CB500’s
As always with racing there have been many ups and downs (which is what makes it so exciting)! Here a few highlights.
- Consistent top six finishes for Richy – indeed in the second season of racing with ThundersportGB, not once was he outside of the top six, in what is regarded as THE most competitive race series in Europe.
- Myself consistently inside the top five in the ThundersportGB Seniors (Over 40) championships participating as one of (if not the) oldest riders, and regularly beating some other riders half my age.
- Richy breaking the lap record at Oulton Park and Cadwell Park for the class.
- Second and third place at Cadwell Park for Richy, – giving the eventual Series Champion Carl Smalley a real run for his money!
- Myself winning two Thundersport Cup (support races) at Cadwell Park, with a second and third place as well that weekend.
- A fantastic third place, again for Richy, at the final round at Donington Park, 2014. This was said to be one of the closest and most exciting CB500 races ever.
- Richy winning every CB500 race entered with NEMCRC and the Melville Club of Scotland, this season.
- Richy winning and myself finishing second in the Scottish CB500 Championships.
- Myself getting 3rd place in the CB500 NEMCRC championship. (Richy missed one of the Rounds due to baby on the way commitments)!
- Richy (and of course Team RBRacing/Labman) awarded a “prize” of a new tyre from the ThundersportGB club for his racing endeavour and results, bike turnout and positive approach to his racing.
- The only “less” enjoyable weekend was my 90mph “off” at Rockingham last season that prematurely ended the 2014 season for me. Luckily, no expensive damage to the bike but a very sore head! I was determined to come back and go even faster!
To close, the Team would like to say that this has truly being a great 3 years of racing for us, a dream come true and we will have fond memories forever of what we have achieved. Once again we would to express our sincere thanks to Labman Automation for helping make this dream happen.
Gerry Johnson #55
Richy Johnson #56