Knockhill debut starts well, but ends in the gravel...

Pirelli National Superstock 1000
Qualified - 25th
Race Result - DNF

I had never before made the long (9 hour!) trek up to Knockhill, but was excited to have a go round the short technical circuit.

I arrived in good time Thursday to get a couple of laps track walk under my belt, with some much needed advice from some local riders.  I liked the look of the course, with lots of undulations and blind corners.

Friday morning, I was itching to get out on track.  Free Practice went well; I mananged to familirise myself with the track and we made plenty of suspension tweaks, it was all good progress.  That afternoon, in first qualifying, I continued the progess.  I did manage to inject some drama by misjudging the chicane and having to leap across the large inside kerb which is there to stop cars!  I headed off fast towards the gravel trap, and somehow managed to keep it all upright through the whole length of the gravel trap, across the grass and back to some tarmac!  Phew!

By the end of the session I had set a pretty good time, and was 25th in the standings.   I was happy with my first day at Knockhill!

Saturday, we were unsure as to whether we would be able to get a dry session in.  We had heavy rain, and some showers, through the morning, but the fast drying circuit cleared up just in time for our second qualifying.

We made more changes to the suspension and setup through the session, and I managed to knock another 0.9 sec off my time, down to a 52.7sec lap, before the heavens opened and wet the track once again.  This kept hold of 25th on the grid, and I was very happy with the progress we were making.

Sunday morning warmup was very positive, with a couple more tweaks to try and smooth out the buckaroo section through the fast last 'straight' up to the final corner, I managed to set warmup times very close to my qualifying time - which is always a good sign of my confidence in the feel of the bike.

I was raring to get going for the race.  We had 2 warmup laps, and lined up for the grid.   I had a pretty good start, slightly more tricky as the grid is on a steep hill, but I held my postion through the first corners.

As we approached the blind chicane, the rider ahead slowed dramatically. I had to brake, hard, and was concerned the rider behind may hit me.   All was well, though, and I concentrated on keeping close to be able to attack.

However, as I exited the chicane and opened the throttle, the rear tyre did not drive me forward, but just span.  It snapped back, and a highside was born. It threw me out the saddle, and although for a overly optimistic split second I thought "I can save this..."   I landed hard on my back and head, and slid off down the track. 

As I got up and kicked debris out of my way, I suddenly realised I was not the only current resident of the gravel trap; there were in fact 2 other bikes who had collected mine as it speared across in front of them.

So, not the end to the weekend that any of us wanted, certainly not the 2 other unfortunate participants in my crash.

Big thanks to both Reevu Helmets and to Cheers Race Wears for saving both my noggin and my skin!

So now it remains only to strip down the bike and make sure we haven't done any major damage we cannot currently see, get it fixed, and get back out on track as soon as possible!

Posted on June 28, 2016 and filed under Race Reports 2016.