ThundersportGB Formula 600
Race 1 - 9th
Race 2 - DNS
Race 1 - 16th
Race 2 - DNS
After the successes of Anglesey, I was keen to return to a track I know very well, and have always gone well at.
Due to the ongoing issues with noise and the council at Mallory Park, the Thundersport testing day on the Friday and the Saturday race day had been cancelled, leaving us with just a packed day on the Sunday. I had entered the GP1 (1000s) class too, to give myself some extra track time.
Qualifying for the 600s was the first track session of the weekend. So I went out to settle in, and work out any changes that were needed. Came in for a couple of quick tweaks in the pitlane, and went back out to set a time. The time set was a pleasing one, and rewarded me with the best qualifying position in the full Sportsman Elite field all year, of 19th. Due to a large number of extra F600 entrants, this translated into 10th F600. I was really pleased to be in the top 20 of the main field though and really mixing it in the pack.
GP1 qualifying passed off in much the same way, again I was pleased with a fantastic grid position of 14th among the bigger bikes!
The first of the Formula 600 races came just before lunch. I got a good start, and was fighting hard in the pack. A faller at Edwina's took out a few riders but I luckily (and unusually!) made the right choice around it and wasn't held up. Coming out of the Bus Stop and down Devil's Elbow, Richie Connell had a huge highside. We all shot past but the red flags came out shortly afterwards. An early lunch break was called and we all headed back to prepare again.
At the restart, I again got a reasonable start. I kept in the pack and kept pace with the new group of riders I was now dicing with. Although chasing the whole race, it was largely fairly uneventful and despite a few attempts to grab places, whilst also trying to defend, the shortened race length (due to the one day meet and the restart) meant there was little time to really plan any attacks. i brought it across the line in 18th, and 9th F600, very happy indeed.
The GP1 race was back to the advertised length, although still only 12 laps. My start wasn't quite as good, but I tagged onto the back of another 600 who was just ahead of me. I kept pace with him until a tiny mistake trying to move my weight out of Devil's Elbow meant I lost a small amount of drive, but it was just enough to give the 1000cc who had been hounding me the opportunity to use his extra power down the straight and I lost a place. I kept with them till the end, and came home 16th - a great result considering the extra BHP I was racing against!
After the 2 successful first races I was really looking forward to getting back out to get even further up the grid, especially in what was to be a double points 600 race. We all set off for the start of 2 warmup laps, as a previous race had left oil on the exit of Gerrards, so it was chance for us all to really take a good look. After a simple warm-up lap pull away off the line, I was just looking ahead to turn into Gerrard's when I was hit bodily and suddenly from behind, and came off the side of the bike. I was pinned between my bike and whoever it was who had hit me, trying my best to keep feet and hands out of the wheels! Finally I dropped to the ground, just as we were heading onto grass. I tumbled, and unfortunately so did the bike. Apart from a destroyed boot and being rather annoyed to say the least, I was fine, but the bike not so much. The rider who hit me managed to stay upright and must have carried on as I was the only one at the side of the track. So my 2nd 600 race was spent watching from a Marshall hut with, as always, some very friendly and helpful marshals. Pleasant enough, but not what I had been planning.
Unfortnately, due to damage to the bike and the short time frame between my 600 race and the next GP1 race, coupled to a visit to the Medical Centre to take a look at my wrist and hand that been bashed and squashed at some point in the crash, we were unable to get back out to race again.
A very frustrating end to a very promising weekend. With only one weekend left this season, at Donington Park at the end of October, I am really keen to get back out and race to keep the forward momentum going. Although I still don't know who wasn't paying attention on the warm up and used me as a brake....!
Don't forget to tune into MotorsTV at 9pm on Thursday 10th - and remember to watch out for me in both the Sportsman Elite and the GP1 (well, in the first races, anyway!)