SU­PER­STOCK CHAMP

He came late to rac­ing, it was his first time out in the PS CRMC Su­per­stock se­ries – and he clinched the ti­tle. This is how John War­wick swept to glory

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents - Words: Phil West | Pic­tures: Paul Bryant/rus­sell Lee at Sport-pics

PS CRMC Su­per­stock Cham­pion John War­wick on how he took the 2018 se­ries by storm

CRMC stal­wart John­war­wick may have more race wins and cham­pi­onships than most but even he didn’t ex­pect to win the Su­per­stock se­ries first time out. The garage owner from Mans­field turned 53 in Novem­ber and came rel­a­tively late to rac­ing in his early 40s af­ter a ma­jor diet. “I’d not raced be­fore that be­cause I was too fat,” he says bluntly. “I used to be 23 stone and lost 10 to go rac­ing.”

But he’s made up for that lost time (and weight) by be­com­ing a CRMC reg­u­lar, of­ten across at least three classes, notch­ing up nu­mer­ous wins and ti­tles along the way.

“I do as many classes as I can,” he says. “I’ve tried to work my way through. I sort of do it, win it and then move on to some­thing else. For the last few years I’ve been do­ing 250 RD air-cooled which I’ve won the last two years. But I started out on a BSA Gold

Star, I’ve done air-cooled 500s, I also race an FZ600 and Ban­dit, even tried a TZ350.”

But the move to Su­per­stock was still some­thing of a stretch. John’s FZ was put to­gether last year and he first tried it at Snet­ter­ton – but they didn’t get on. “I rushed it to­gether and didn’t like it. It weren’t run­ning right and was a big, heavy lump af­ter the FZ600. I’ve run the 600 a few years and in com­par­i­son the 750 is miles apart in han­dling and weight. So, I just put it in the shed and left it.” But over win­ter I thought ‘Yeah, I’ll have an­other go’ and got it run­ning right.”

Why an FZ? “Be­cause they’re cheap, re­ally. I’d love a GSX-R but you’re talk­ing three, four grand be­fore you start out…”

So, start­ing with a frame, John then found a rarer, Ja­panese mar­ket ‘1FM’ en­gine and built it up.

“It’s not bad to turn into a racer be­cause you don’t have to buy all the orig­i­nal parts.you can make footrest brack­ets etc. I’m run­ning Ban­dit wheels, 600 Ban­dit forks and a shock off ebay which is not very good but fits – plus a Mi­cron ex­haust off an FZR1000. It was about £1200 all in.” Over win­ter John got a re­place­ment set of carbs, re­turned the jet­ting to stan­dard and put an air fil­ter in “be­cause it had a Dyno­jet in be­fore that was stuff­ing it up.”

All of which made John’s win at the sea­son opener at Pem­brey a sur­prise even for him.

“I’d only rid­den it once be­fore and didn’t get any prac­tice but was lucky be­cause it was so wet. It gave me an eas­ier start. But I was still very sur­prised to win. I run Miche­lin Pi­lots in the wet and they seem to work quite good…”

The next day wasn’t quite so easy, though…

“On Sun­day it dried up and I had a re­ally good bat­tle with Chriswhite on thevfr. That was more like I ex­pected it to be.”

From that point on John never sur­ren­dered his se­ries lead.white re­mained his clos­est ri­val while ev­er­fast fel­low FZ con­tender Danny Im­berg was a threat at the

“IN THE SEC­OND RACE A BIKE BLEW UP ON THE FIRST LAP AND SPILT OIL ALL THE WAY DOWN THROUGH THE CHI­CANE AND SIX OF US WENT DOWN. IT WAS CAR­NAGE”

rounds he con­tested.

John ex­tended his lead at rain-hit Snet­ter­ton and was par­tic­u­larly pleased to beat Im­berg, then came Oul­ton – where it seemed to all go wrong.

“In the sec­ond race a bike blew up on the first lap and spilt oil all the way down through the chi­cane and six of us went down. It was car­nage. I went down and the bike caught fire but car­ried on go­ing. I grabbed the ex­tin­guisher off the mar­shal, put it out, then shut it off.”

But dam­age was al­ready done.

“The wiring was burnt out, all the paint­work had melted – it was a right state. But I man­aged to get it run­ning for the last race that week­end and, though I had to start from the back of the grid, man­aged to get sec­ond which was fan­tas­tic.trou­ble was, on the last lap, the crank started to go. I could hear it rum­bling. It had been on its side, car­ried on run­ning it had run out of oil…”

More drama fol­lowed. De­spite a new shell, the crank fi­nally went at the next round at Dar­ley.when a re­place­ment en­gine was found, its plugs snapped. So, for Donington, the new en­gine had the head of the old – yet still wasn’t right.

“All the valve clear­ances were wrong and it was slow. But con­sid­er­ing that and that Donington is quite a fast cir­cuit, I did quite well. I got fourths which was as good as could be ex­pected.

Clear­ances, sorted, the rest of the year was fault-free with John clinch­ing the cham­pi­onship at the next round at Mal­lory then win­ning again at the Cad­well fi­nale.

So, ‘mis­sion ac­com­plished’, is John now done with Su­per­stocks, too?

“Con­sid­er­ing all the prob­lems, I man­aged to wrap it up with a round to go, so was re­ally im­pressed, es­pe­cially as there’s more to come from the FZ. So I might be stick­ing with it next year.then again, I also might be chang­ing to some­thing dif­fer­ent. I’d re­ally like a GSX-R but it’s not go­ing to hap­pen so it might be a Kawasaki GPX be­cause no-one’s re­ally run one…

And as for the se­ries it­self, he’s hooked. “It’s a good cheap class to get into rac­ing. I ac­tu­ally rode AVFR the other year and they’re a good bike.there’s loads of power all the way through the rev range. So peo­ple can still get into it cheaply ’cos you can get one of those for like £800…

“Oul­ton was the low point – es­pe­cially be­cause it then knack­ered me for Dar­ley as well. But the last race made up for it be­cause I man­aged to come from the back of the grid and get sec­ond.you need the lows to get the highs, don’t you?”

Head down in grim de­ter­mi­na­tion

Head­ing last sea­son’s run­ner-up Chris White (VFR)

Wet or dry JW was al­ways mix­ing it at the front

In blue, red and white be­fore the Oul­ton Park fire dis­as­ter

In post-in­ferno fancy grey primer – and still as quick as ever

Go to crmc.co.uk to see how you could join the su­per­stock grid for 2019

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