NG Road Racing Pro-Bolt 600 & NG Road Racing Phoenix Open
Pro-Bolt 600 - 17th/60, Phoenix Open - 28th
I always enjoy the challenge of Oulton Park, and had been really looking forward to the race day.
Warm Up was early, at 8:50, and some overnight rain meant that we were all out on wets. The track was drying fast though, and I knew that if we had no more rain we would be out on the dries for the first race.
First session out for me was the Pro-Bolt 600 Qualifying Race. There was a huge entrant list for this class of 60 riders, and I was out in Qualfying Heat 2. I got an excellent start and entered the first corner high up the order. I knew I would have to work hard to stay there, but I was finding I was having trouble with getting the rear to grip on the way out of the corners. About halfway through the race, it started raining too. Although it was never really heavy enough to cause major problems, it is always difficult to judge how much grip you have on the dry tyres and I was treated to a few little slides to tell me it was getting greasy out there! I finished the race in 15th place, and was pretty pleased with that. I had qualified for the A-Final 40 place grid in 29th, so I had some work to do, but I was happy.
After that race and before the Phoenix Open Qualifying session, the heavens opened with a torrential downpour. It was still raining when we went out on track, and had to tiptoe round with huge amounts of standing water. It stopped raining after a few laps though, and very quickly started to dry. It was still a wet track at the end of qualifying, and I put it 20th on the grid for the Open Final, and was the 7th 600 bike on the grid - again, a really good result.
Shortly after this, proceedings were halted temporarily while a huge rain storm passed over us. This once again left the track with rivers, but again dried up very quickly. By the time I was out for the Pro-Bolt 600 Final, the circuit was dry, and we went out ready for a great race. Dark clouds were looming though, and on lap 2 the rain started to come down. The red flags came out on lap 3, and we were called back in. In the 10 minutes given for us to change tyres, though, the rain had stopped and the circuit started to dry again, so we left the dry tyres on. We went back out and on the warm up lap I noted that Druids was still quite wet, and on the first lap it became apparent that one of the leading groups hadn't given it quite enough notice, as 4 of them ended up in the gravel. I kept on it though and worked my way through the field quite nicely. I caught up a group that I just couldn't make it round, and although I came very close trying to go round the outside of Shell Oils hairpin I just couldn't make it stick. I brought it back though in 17th, which from 29th and in such a big field I was very happy with.
Last up was the Open Final. The track was dry still for this and having qualified in the wet I knew I was going to have to work hard to keep my placing. I got a good start, and then tried to settle in to the race. I struggled to keep the places though, and finally brought it back in 28th. Not bad against all the big 1000cc bikes, although a bit further up the field would always be better!!
Next up is Cadwell Park, another fantastic fast and challenging circuit.