Pirelli National Superstock 1000 - 22nd
Cadwell Park has always been something of a bogey circuit for me, and a track where I have never gone particularly well. I have always enjoyed the circuit, but never really managed to post any really good times. Coupled with the fact this was to be my first race there on a 1000cc bike, it was going to be a steep learning curve!
This was in no way helped by Free Practice, during which we had light but 'big' rain - that thundery rain that consists of big drops, but doesn't really settle. Apart from around 10 minutes of the session where it was a bit heavier and almost everyone came in, we all continued on using the dry tyres, as the track seemed to be keeping dry enough; but it was not particulary conducive to really pushing hard to learn the track, as the rain on your visor is heavier at 150mph and always creates uncertainty over the level of grip available!
Qualifying 1 was due to happen at 1720 that afternoon, but the weather had other ideas - the dark clouds rolled in during the preceding Stock 600 qualifying; the rain started and it got darker and darker! The organisers took the sensible decision to postpone the session until the following day, so we were left to all hide away and watch the thunder and lightning for the next couple of hours!
Sunday, then, was to be a busy day. We prepared for Qualifying 1, and I managed to set a pretty good time in what was effectively my first proper session on the circuit. We made some tweaks for Qualifying 2, later that afternoon. This time we were luckier with the weather and we had another dry session in which I knocked another second off my PB. It was a tight field, with mainly front runners and mid-pack riders - I was 33rd but with still a larger gap than I would have liked to the next rider; so I had some work to do during the race!
Monday race day came, with much better weather all round. I got a good start, and gained some places straight away. I worked hard to keep with the riders ahead, and set my fastest lap; a whole second faster again. We had a Safety Car after a few laps, which allowed the rider behind to catch up. After the restart, they made a move through Chris Curve, and got past. Frustrating! They pulled a gap over the next couple of laps, but towards the end of the race I started to pull back and close up. However, I didn't get close enough by the end of the race, but even so brought it home in 22nd. A further improvement of 1 place on my highest Superstock finishing position!
A great end to the weekend, and I cannot wait for Oulton Park on 9th- 11th September!