HIS bike caught on fire and at one stage he crashed, but Bathurst sidecar racer Sean Griffiths still managed to earn a podium at the 2017 Australian Track Masters.
In fact Griffiths and his swinger Paul Cooper were unlucky not to win the George Watson Memorial Trophy presented to the victors of the two-day event, eventually placing third.
Racing at Raymond Terrace on April 8-9, the duo led at the completion of the opening day of racing. They were in such a strong position, that just finishing Sunday’s three rounds would ensure them of victory.
Racing a new bike, they picked up a first and second placing in Saturday’s two three-lap rounds. On top of that, favourite Matt Brown had suffered a clutch problem.
Griffiths and Cooper began Sunday with a second placing behind the late entry of Gunnedah rider Brett Pearce.
But from there things did not play out as smoothly for the Bathurst hopeful. While Pearce went on to win the final two races conducted over four laps, Griffiths struck trouble.
“Even though the track was fast and overall pretty good considering all the rain they got at Raymond Terrace, it was quite rough in spots and on the second day had some deep holes appearing,” Griffiths said.
“In the fourth round we didn't get the best start and I was in third place at turn one and had to chase them down.
“I went through turn three and four with Jim Joblin on my 600cc bike ahead of me. I went for it when he drifted wide and opened a small hole in the turn.
“During the passing move the gap closed and we went through a hole on the track, causing us to come together in the turn. Paul Cooper, my passenger, did a flip over the front of our bike and went underneath me before I narrowly missed the wall with just a slight touch.”
The race was stopped while Cooper was attended to, and while the duo were then disqualified, they still topped the rankings heading into the final round.
“With one race to go, all we had to do was complete the four laps and finish and the first spot was ours. We all were okay other than Paul losing a bit of skin and bruising,” Griffiths said.
“But on the way back to the pits the bike caught fire and we were unable to start the final race. This moved us back to third place.”
Though disappointed, Griffiths was happy to see his second bike take the honours. Joblin, who teamed with swinger Nathan Damir, was impressive making his debut aboard the Shadows Racing entry.
Griffiths thanked Frontrunner Mortgage Group, Taylor's Motorcycles and Bathurst Spray FX for their support.