Return to Track Brings Top 10 Finishes at Rockingham

ThundersportGB GP1 Elite - Rockingham

Race 1 - 7th
Race 2 -10th
Race 3 - 8th

After the disappointment over the collapse of my plans to race at BSB Superstock1000 again this season, it has all been very quiet.  Funding constraints have meant I have not been able to get out on track, but it got to the point where I couldn't stand it any longer, and so with some help from my fantastic sponsors, I was able to finally get back out there for a ThundersportGB meeting.

I had entered the GP1 Elite, which was all I was eligible for, but did present its own challenges as nearly all the bikes were seemingly superbike spec and 95% of them were on slicks! No matter, I was up for a great weekend and that is what we got.

The Friday test day allowed me to remember what all the levers do, and also to get back to grips with the speed of the ZX10 :-)  It didn't take too long, and before lunch we were tweaking setups to get the best out of it.

We still felt there was a fair bit to come when we got it all sorted, and I was having to relearn the track as it felt much tighter and twistier on a 1000cc bike, compared to my last visit which had been on a 600cc.  Couple that with getting used to the new power delivery of the Race ECU we had installed for the Superstock season, there was a lot of learning going on!  So, we ran qualifying on an old tyre, as this grid was only for the first race and Sunday's grids would be determined from Saturday's fastest race laps.  I qualified 17th overall, which I was pretty pleased with, but knew there would be more to come.

I got a terrible start, as I discovered another 'feature' of the Race ECU - I've never been one for assistance off the line but it seemed this ECU was determined to give it.  I made back up a few places over the first lap, then settled in to what was to be a fantastic battle that last all race. The place swapped many times, until, on the penultimate lap he missed a gear out the the fast banking section of the Rockingham circuit.  I was very close as I was lining up to make a pass - I had to take a evasive action so as not to hit the rider ahead, which sent me way off line and out onto the dirty bits of the circuit.  All this drama ended in me losing 3 places on the last lap. :-( !!  Even so, I still managed 7th in class, so was pretty pleased.

As expected, my lap time had improved during the race, by 2 seconds! However, although it did improve my grid placing, it was not by a lot as many others had improved too. For the first race on Sunday we were hoping to improve the setup a bit more, and generate a bit more rear grip - however, our changes didn't work.  I got another pretty awful start, and although I made up a couple of places back, after around lap 4 the rear tyre had overheated and I was unable to attack.  I held my ground, though, and finished 10th in class. For the final race of the weekend we got the setup spot on.  I got a good start, finally, and was dicing for positions right in the pack.  However, as we neared the end of the first lap, the race was red flagged.  Very frustrating! At the restart, I could not replicate the good start - again I fought back a few places over the first lap, but then got emboriled in another tight battle.  Once again, the place was swapped multiple times but I just could not make a move stick properly.  The slicks and his upgraded brakes just gave him the edge in the crucial areas, although I was constantly hounding him through the infield section.   As we neared the end of the race, the looming dark clouds started to drop a little rain on the circuit.  The other riders appeared to be slowing up, although I still felt like I had plenty of grip. My adversary and I both passed one guy , simultaneously, into the final chicane on the penultimate lap.  He then started to slow, too, but still I had grip so I finally made a pass stick on him during the final lap.  I was literally in the process of passing the next rider too, as we approached the last third of the lap, and then, once again, the red flag came out.  Noooo!!  This was very frustrating, once again, as it meant the final result would be taken from the last time we had crossed the line, meaning my last 2 overtakes would be discounted...!!   Aaaaggh!! :-) However, despite that, I still finished 8th in class - so was a good end to a fantastic weekend, considering I had not raced since October 2016 I was very happy with the results, and I had had a lot of fun with some great racing. It would not have been possible without help from Deep Blue Logic, Devon Batteries, Victoria Windows & Doors, Strive Solutions, HSBags, Morris Lubricants, PaintMonkey Ltd, XSWraps, and Bitza Bikes. Now, all there is to do is start saving for the next one!   

As expected, my lap time had improved during the race, by 2 seconds! However, although it did improve my grid placing, it was not by a lot as many others had improved too.

For the first race on Sunday we were hoping to improve the setup a bit more, and generate a bit more rear grip - however, our changes didn't work.  I got another pretty awful start, and although I made up a couple of places back, after around lap 4 the rear tyre had overheated and I was unable to attack.  I held my ground, though, and finished 10th in class.

For the final race of the weekend we got the setup spot on.  I got a good start, finally, and was dicing for positions right in the pack.  However, as we neared the end of the first lap, the race was red flagged.  Very frustrating!

At the restart, I could not replicate the good start - again I fought back a few places over the first lap, but then got emboriled in another tight battle.  Once again, the place was swapped multiple times but I just could not make a move stick properly.  The slicks and his upgraded brakes just gave him the edge in the crucial areas, although I was constantly hounding him through the infield section.   As we neared the end of the race, the looming dark clouds started to drop a little rain on the circuit.  The other riders appeared to be slowing up, although I still felt like I had plenty of grip. My adversary and I both passed one guy , simultaneously, into the final chicane on the penultimate lap.  He then started to slow, too, but still I had grip so I finally made a pass stick on him during the final lap.  I was literally in the process of passing the next rider too, as we approached the last third of the lap, and then, once again, the red flag came out.  Noooo!!  This was very frustrating, once again, as it meant the final result would be taken from the last time we had crossed the line, meaning my last 2 overtakes would be discounted...!!   Aaaaggh!! :-)

However, despite that, I still finished 8th in class - so was a good end to a fantastic weekend, considering I had not raced since October 2016 I was very happy with the results, and I had had a lot of fun with some great racing.

It would not have been possible without help from Deep Blue Logic, Devon Batteries, Victoria Windows & Doors, Strive Solutions, HSBags, Morris Lubricants, PaintMonkey Ltd, XSWraps, and Bitza Bikes.

Now, all there is to do is start saving for the next one! 
 

Posted on August 2, 2017 and filed under Race Reports 2017.