Return to Track Brings Top 10 Finishes
Eyes Down for a Full Season!
Come along for a fun filled Bingo night to help raise funds for my 2017 season in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 class at British Superbikes
Full Details to follow :-)
Mixed conditions gives excellent racing for final round of 2016
Trip to the gravel brings an early end to promising race at Donington Park
Fantastic weekend at Oulton Park!
Great learning curve and another best ever Superstock position at Cadwell Park!
Best Superstock 1000 result yet at Brands Hatch GP!
Great weekend at super fast Thruxton!
Positive weekend cut short by an unscheduled departure into the gravel.
Fantastic racing and great result!
Engine niggles, and injury to hand put pay to Oulton Park hopes
Weather hampers track time, but solid end to weekend
Saturday 5th March, at Uffculme School (EX15 3AG) I am holding a Fundraising Quiz Night, with Grand Raffle. The winning team will receive a case of wine ☺
Teams of up to 6 people, £5 per person on advance. 7:30pm, quiz starts at 8pm.
I would just like to take this opportunity to say Happy Christmas, and Thank You, to all of my sponsors, supporters, and anyone else who has helped in anyway through 2015.
I really couldn't do it without you!
Pirelli National Superstock 1000 - DNF
After the success of the fork upgrade at Silverstone, I was keen to get to Brands Hatch to continue the progress and start to really get the best out of the forks and the bike.
However, the weather had other ideas, and Friday morning Free Practice was dank, cold, misty. All of which conspired together to create one very wet and greasy track! Not quite what I was hoping for to go out and attack with the new forks!
I used the session to try and get the feel in the wet, although the suspension was all a bit hard and wasn't really giving me much feedback. We made some changes for Quali 1 that afternoon, where although drier the session was still performed by all on Wet tyres. I finished Quali 1 in 37th, so was pretty pleased considering the conditions.
Quali 2 was Saturday morning, and the track was by that time mostly dry on the line, but still with many damp sections. It was dry tyres all the way, though, so I was still a little circumspect, not wishing to be caught out by the damp sections around the circuit. I qualified in 39th, (with 42 entered) so was pleased to have made it onto the 40 place grid, and realised after studying the times that there was clearly more grip available than I had been riding to - despite the fact that many areas, even on the racing line, were still quite damp, the leaders were setting times only a couple of tenths off the laptimes they set in July - when the weather was great! Incredible!
Our 'Warm-Up', that we normally get to settle every thing on the morning of the race had been rebranded a 10 minute free practice and was held at 1735.... which this time of year made it a little late!
I did manage to get a bit of video, from that session, however, that you can view here!
We used the session, as it was pretty much dry by then, to get a setup sorted for Sunday's race. We finished the day happy with the setup, and felt really ready for the race ahead.
We woke up Sunday to find that the rain had once more returned. It was again misty and damp, and my hopes for a nice dry race seemed to have been dashed. No matter, we still had a race, it just meant we now had to work out a tricky tyre decision and suspension setup choices.
The damp didn't seem to be lifting, and I felt we would probably end up on wets. However, as the action on track built up, the sun started to come out, and we were leaning towards a dry rear and wet front. About 15 minutes before we had to head up to the grid, though, we decided it had dried enough, on the line, to have to go for full dry tyres. I headed out for the sighting lap to get round to the grid, and was glad we had chosen dry tyres - although it was still very damp in places, by the end of the race it would be dry, and that would be when it would be won or lost - or so I thought!
I got a great start, and on the first lap after it had all settled down, made a move and gained a place. I got straight back on to the main pack, and was looking for where I could make a move on the next rider! The bike felt great and I was right in the hunt. As we came down to the last corner, the pack braked a lot earlier than I was expecting. Luckily I left myself space, so I braked hard, scrubbed off the speed and felt I had got away with it, and probably even gained a couple of places. However, it had caused me to end up off the racing line - and with the pack so closely packed still there wasn't really anywhere to get back in. I didn't see this as an issue, though, and tucked in close as we rounded Clearways. I was looking ahead, for where I could rejoin into the pack and get onto the drive down the straight, but suddenly, the bike went away from under me! I bounced through the gravel and as I got back to my feet I looked back and realised that the entire outside of Clearways was still damp - not much, but damp enough to spit me out into the kitty litter. Dammit.
Despite the fact I hadn't been able to finish the race, I was bizarrely happy about the little amount of racing I had been able to do. The bike felt great, I was able to really push it where I needed to and was right in the hunt for a great race in the pack. A really positive way to end the season - just a shame I couldn't convert it into a result. However, it was a racing crash, and crashes are part of racing.
It has given me a huge desire to get back out and work hard to secure the funding I need to compete again in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 in 2016. My first year in this incredibly competitive class has been a huge learning curve, but I feel I can be proud of the fact I have qualified for every single race I have entered (except where the engine blew up!) and I have had only one DNF.
I could not have done any of this without the amazing support of all my sponsors. I am so grateful to each and every one of them, and to everyone else who has helped me in anyway throughout the year.
So, to all my current sponsors, I will be in touch very soon about 2016, and to anyone else who is just wondering about motorsport sponsorship, please do get in touch!
Good finish to a difficult weekend...
I had been champing at the bit to get back to Oulton Park, as it would be my first return to a circuit on the 1000cc bike, so I was keen to get out and put what I had learnt since my last visit to good use.
We had heavy rain over Thursday night, but the track had just dried enough to be clear for Free Practice. I went out and quickly found some issues with the setup which, after coming into the pits, I managed to iron out. By the end of the session I was beginning to feel more comfortable with the setup, although I didn't get any really decent times on the board.
We made a couple of tweaks before Qualifying 1, and I went out keen to make the most of them. I got close to my previous fastest laps on the 2nd flying lap of the session, so it looked like there was some good progress to make. Unfortunately, I had carried a bit more speed out of the last corner and over the start finish line, and so slightly missed my braking point into the first corner. As I fought to scrub the speed off, I overran just on to the slightly less clean part of the tarmac, but it was enough to cause the front tyre to lock, and that was that. As I went down I could hear the engine of the bike racing; as soon as I stopped I reached over and hit the kill switch; before heading for safety behind the barriers.
After the session, through which I could only sit and watch the pit lane clock count down, we got the bike back and started to assess the damage. Apart from a dented tank and silencer, it didn't look too bad and was just the usual bent levers, footpegs, and broken bodywork. The throttle cables had dug into the grass, though, and that had been the cause of the revving engine; and our main point of concern.
We worked to get everything back together, though, and when we could, fired up the engine. All seemed well, and it looked like we had got away without major damage.
Even so, we decided that it would be worth utilising the Dynomometer that is always available at the BSB meetings; mainly to check that the fuel pump was still working ok, and hadn't been damaged by the hit to the tank.
So, after getting back through scrutineering Saturday morning, we lined up for the Dyno. Whilst queuing, and warming the bike up, we suddenly had smoke billowing from the bike! The recitifier/regulator had decided that was the best moment to pop, and was happiply melting itself! We managed to get it off the bike before it did any further damage, but we then had to source another one before we could do anything. Great! Just what I wanted, and another item to add to the bill!
We got another fitted, and the bike went into the Dyno. We stood anxiously, listening to it running up and thinking it all sounded good. However, it was not to be. The back door opened up and the Dyno technician sadly shook his head. He had done 2 runs, with decreasing power on each; and then bad noises had happened. He had turned it off, and that was that; the end of my weekend. The damage caused by revving on it's side had just manifested itself by at least breaking up a big end shell, and at worst taken more parts with it.
The rest of our Saturday was spent removing the engine from the bike, so that MSS Kawasaki could take it back and see what the damage is; literally and figuratively.
It stands as the only terminal failure so far this season, but that doesn't really make it feel any better! We are still awaiting the verdict on the engine, and that result and the cost of which will determine when I will be able to get back on track.
I very much hope that I will be able to race at Silverstone at the beginning of October, or at least afford to be able to make the last round at Brands Hatch. As such, I hereby rally the troops; if you know anyone who may be able to help out, please send them my way!
I'll post more updates as I know them, and will be back on track as soon as I can!
Super fast Thruxton gives great racing.
Brands Hatch GP
Pirelli National Superstock 1000 - 25th
Fastest Lap 1:32.457
The trip to Brands Hatch was yet another journey to a track I had never ridden before - the full GP circuit was new to me so I had a lot of learning to do.
Free Practice on Friday morning went really well, though, and I quickly got a loose grasp of the circuit! I managed some respectable laps, and was 33rd after Free Practice. I felt there was lots more to come and was looking forward to 1st Qualifying.
The weather had got much hotter for qualifying, and I was struggling with rear grip as a result. Coupled with a little dose of 'trying too hard' to make up for this, and I didn't manage to improve from the morning's session. Frustratingly, this left me 38th, and with much work to do.
After much discussion, we decided to continue down the route that we had started at Snetterton, and to soften the rear shock. We sourced a softer spring from KTech and fitted it, ready for the early qualifying session Saturday morning.
In this session to improvements were noticeable, and I knocked 2 seconds off my PB, and found 37th on the grid, a mere 5/100ths off of 36th! We also decided to take the changes further still, to try to create more compliance and movement of the rear suspension to get it to really drive out of the corners.
I got a great start in the race, and managed to tag on to the back of Nico Mawhinney and the pack the next step up the field. As the race went on I couldn't quite keep their pace, but was still lapping another second faster than the previous day. The rider behind managed to get through at Druids, so I regathered my thoughts, concentrating on my riding style to suit the big 1000cc bike (which is very different from the 600s!!) and managed to reel him back in. I got a great drive out of the last corner and managed to retake the place into Paddock Hill. I worked hard to secure the place and held onto that position until the chequered flag, coming across the line in my best Superstock position of 25th, and having brought my PB down to a low 1m32s lap!
The next round is at Thruxton in just 2 weeks, on 1st and 2nd August, and I can't wait to get back out on track!
Racing with the big boys at World Superbikes!