Pirelli National Superstock 1000 - 29th
I had been really keen to get to Silverstone, as it would be my first ever go at the full GP circuit. After the engine failure at Oulton Park, we had to work flat out, and absorb some enormous costs, to be able to get back on track for this round.
The hard work all paid off, though, and I arrived at Silverstone raring to get out on track and see what the circuit was all about.
Free practice went fairly well; no blistering times were set but I was still exploring the circuit and discovering that it was nowhere near as flowing as I had thought, but was very fast and very very long! I was keen to get back out for Qualifying 1 and we would then have a better idea of where we were. We had to make some changes though, as I was really strugging through 3 sections where there was a slow corner, then hard acceleration through another corner onto a straight. Not a good place to be struggling as any loss at the corner is the multiplied as you go down the straight.
I improved through the session, the changes we made had help and I knocked about 3 seconds off the Free Practice times. Which was good, but didn't put me where I wanted to be. I knew that I still had much to learn, but I was not overly happy as I felt there was a much bigger gap to make up than I had expected, or hoped for. We had many discussions over what to do, and made further changes, mainly to the front end, for Quali 2 on the Saturday.
Quali 2 came, and I rode as hard as I could to try and make up the time. I gained only just over half a second through the session; nowhere near enough. This left me in a very difficult position. I had qualified, but it was not enough, and I had a huge gap to the rest of the pack. Much discussion ensued, and we made a choice on direction and setup for the morning...not sure whether it would help. I spent the evening studying track maps and wondering what I was missing...hoping to find that inspiration that I so sorely needed!
Morning warmup came, and the bike did feel better. The times still weren't improved, though; although morning warmup isn't ever really the time to push hard.
Shortly after, an offer came to us; one that would turn out to be my saviour! NP Motorcycles offered to lend me a set of Bitubo forks, as an upgrade to the standard (albeit revalved) ones I was running. The offer was so we could try them at Brands, but I felt it was worth doing it sooner - so we set about changing them before the race! We got them changed over, and setup, ready to go for the race. Not knowing quite how they would work, but it was worth a try!
I got a great start, and jumped a whole row! I couldn't hold the positions for very long, more down to my inexperience of the track, but I did hold onto the pack for longer than I had expected. I still wasn't getting the lines onto the straights right, so was losing lots of time there, but through the corners I was able to hold my own.
As the race went on, I was able to learn more and more. I crossed the line in 29th, not really sure how the times were; I hadn't felt that I had done anything particularly different, apart from what I had learnt; although there was certainly a better feel from the front end.
I arrived in Parc Ferme to smiles all round, and the news that my new PB was 4 seconds faster than I had managed in Qualifying!! Incredible. I struggled to believe it, as I didn't really feel I had ridden much differently, but it just shows how different having the right equipment is!
Needless to say I have come to a deal to keep the forks for Brands Hatch, so I cannot wait to get there and see what I can do there!
After all the costs of getting the engine sorted after Oulton Park, the racing budget is looking rather low. I am really keen to get to Brands Hatch, so have setup Club67 - there is space for 67 names on the rear of my bike, and it is just £20 to have a name in one!
Please take a look at http://mattpearceracing.co.uk/products/club67-2015 for full details, and even if you are not able to help, please spread the word!
Really hope I can make it to finish off the season at Brands Hatch; can't wait to get there......then I will be chasing everyone up to look at 2016! :-)