Pirelli National Superstock 1000 - Race Result 32nd
My first visit to Thruxton on a 1000cc bike a year ago was a huge learning curve, and I discovered that Thruxton has a riding style all of its own on the big bikes; with well over half the circuit being a exercise in high-speed drifting!
The Free Practice session was very promising as I managed, pretty quickly, to match my Qualifying times from last year; which meant I had picked up where I left off and was a great starting point to improve further.
I was aware that I still had a fair bit to learn, however, so although I did set a quicker time in my first Qualifying session I spent a lot of the time trying new lines, and also trying to learn from some of the other riders.
Qualifying 2 was then the time to really try and string all the new lines and skills together, to get a good lap, and I managed to do so knocking 0.6sec off my PB, which had been a race lap time from last year.
We did try a few suspension tweaks toward the end of the session, but none made any improvements, so we put it all back to the setup on which I had set the best time ready for race day!
Our race start was delayed, quite significantly, after Stuart Easton's Superbike blew up and spilled oil all the way round the outside of the left hander through Noble.
Once we finally got underway, after we had all had a good look at the new oil slick on the warm up lap, I got a good start although I was a little careful not to kill off my rear tyre too quickly as the degradation is huge whilst drifting on the very abrasive Thruxton surface. After a couple of laps we all settled in and I worked very hard to keep James White in touch ahead. I did manage to improve my PB by only a couple of 100ths/sec, but the new oil based feature to the track wasn't helping in that respect!
After about half race distance the tyre degradation was starting to take effect on riders ahead. I caught up one of the few Yamaha R1s in our class, and after a lap or two made a move stick on the brakes into the last chicane.
As the race drew to a close, I was reeling in the next rider too, knocking off around half a second a lap. However, due to the delays in the BSB race, our race had been shortened by 3 laps and in the end I just ran out of time. Had we had full distance, I certainly would have been on his tail, and could maybe have made the pass.
As it was, though, I brought it home in a solid 32nd position in what was an almost full grid entry of 39. Thruxton is a place where I still feel I have a lot to learn, but it is a great track, very very fast and a whole lot of fun.
Not long now until the next round at Brands Hatch GP, on August 6th - 7th!
I am also holding another Quiz Night to help raise funds so I can finish the 2016 season - it will be held on August 20th, details and tickets available here: www.mattpearceracing.co.uk/products/quiznight