Pirelli National Superstock 1000 - 32nd
Fastest Lap - 1:21.148
Although I had ridden Thruxton before, it was around 3 years ago and lastly on a 2004 GSXR 600. Nothing could really prepare me to how different the place would be on an up-to-date ZX10!
Free Practice was a real eye opener, with the top speeds up to the last corner being literally eye-watering! However, it was a good first session, and I posted good enough times to find 36th position.
We tried to soften the rear a little to try and generate some more rear grip for Qualifying 1, which wasn't until Saturday morning, although it didn't really help as much as I'd hope. I knocked over a second off my times, but it wasn't enough, and I finished the session in 38th. I spoke to a few other riders after the session to ask about technique around the fastest part of the circuit where I wasn't able to make the rear wheel grip well at all, and found that that was just the way it was round Thruxton, and the only way to go fast was to keep it spinning and let it go sideways all the way round the back section - at around 140mph! An interesting technique to get used to, but a lot of fun.
For Qualifying 2, Saturday afternoon, I went out keen to try the new method of destroying a rear tyre, to see how much quicker it would make me. It certainly made gains, and I knocked another second off my PB. I did, in fact, set EXACTLY the same time as another rider had set that morning; exactly the same down to 1/1000ths of a second! This put me 36th on the grid, and well within striking distance of a good group of riders.
Sunday morning, after taking more advice, we made some fairly hefty and sweeping changes to the setup - stiffening the rear, rather than continue to soften it as we had been doing. I got a great start, and made up around 4 places. When it had settled down, and as I got used to the changes, I had a gap to Kevin Davies, but managed to get into a good rhythm and began to reel him in. I had struggled with the last corner (the tight chicane) all weekend and came out too tight, on the kerb, which meant I couldn't get the throttle open early enough. This allowed Ryan Gibson to sneak passed on his BMW, into the first corner. I decided to try and get him straight back into the big chicane complex, but as I went late on the brakes the forks bottomed out, and as I tried to correct, they did it again. This left me perilously close to just T-boning him as he turned into the corner, but I managed, just, to scrub enough speed off to take evasive action. This meant I had to take a little trip onto the escape road, and I lost around 5 seconds on him and Davies. I tried to reel them back in but there was not enough time left in the race, although I still managed to pull away from the rider behind me.
I crossed the line in 32nd, having knocked nearly another second off my PB, and learnt a lot about drifting a 1000cc Superstocker!
It was a great fun weekend, and I can't wait to get back out on the bike at the next round
Cadwell Park is next on the BSB Calendar, although I am currently unable to compete there due to lack of funds. As such, I am on the lookout for any additional sponsors who may be able to help out!
If not, my next round will be at Oulton Park, the first return to a circuit on this bike, and I am excited to see what progress I can make!