Engine problems strike again, at Oulton Park

ThundersportGB Formula 600

Race 1 - DNF
Race 2 - DNS

Championship Position - 9th

 

Oulton Park promised to be a great weekend from the outset with a great weather forecast, and we were to follow the 2 day meet at Oulton Park with a Sunday at Castle Combe on the way home.

The slightly different 2 day format for Oulton Park meant we had a morning of testing on Friday, followed by Qualifying Friday afternoon.

The test sessions started well, and I bettered last year's race pace in the first session.  Nicely proving that the changes we made at Cadwell had been a huge step in the right direction.

I continued to improve during the test sessions, and in the GP1 qualifying put in a time 3 seconds quicker than last year's race pace.   Next up was the 600 qualifying, and I really went for it, managing to knock another 2 seconds off my best lap - 5 seconds improvement in one day, I was really pleased!  This lap put me 23rd on the grid, 10th Formula 600, much better than last year, and 3 seconds covered the riders from 3rd, to 23rd over the 2.7 mile course - just showing how close the Sportsman Elite field is!

Saturday morning was a little cooler, which was no bad thing, and the GP1 race was first.   I got a good start, and held position amongst the big bikes.  Had some close racing all race, and came over the line 26th, one place up from my qualifying position at the end of it all!
 
The next race was the Sportsman Elite 600, almost straight after the GP1.   I got a good start again, and when it all shook out was just tagged onto the back of a nice fast moving group of about 8 riders.   We were quickly dicing for positions and the first few laps were fantastic racing.   I was slowly picking my way through the group, and found myself behind my closest championship rival.   I kept with him easily and was comfortably quicker than him so I was able to think hard about where to make the move stick.  I managed to keep with him through Druids and went for him on the brakes into Lodge, the last corner.  The move worked and I looked ahead to the next riders, sure I could make up the gap and further improve my laptimes.

It was not to be, though, and as I came down the Island straight I suddenly lost all gears and drive.  I came round the Shell Oil hairpin and had to pull off the track.   That was the end of my weekend at Oulton Park, and also put to bed any ideas I had of racing at Castle Combe the next day.

On further inspection we have found a main bearing shell has failed, and it looks like it dropped debris into the gearbox selector, luckily giving me a box full of neutrals rather than jamming it all up.  The engine is now awaiting the parts to get it back going again so we can continue the progress at Rockingham on 26th/27th July.

In the meantime, you can watch the races, in which I am in at least some of the first 2!, on MotorsTV on Thursday 3rd July at 8pm!

 

Posted on June 25, 2014 and filed under Race Reports 2014.