Round 1 – Brands Hatch
After a superb test in Spain at Calafat, we came into round 1 brimming with confidence. Knowing that we were not far off the pace of lads who race in British Supersport on £70k+ bikes in Spain, our optimism was high for the opening round. The weather was hit and miss, one minute it was raining, the next it was bright sunshine which meant for the entire weekend tyre choice was tricky. For practice we once again spent the time dialling ourselves back in and focussed on suspension settings so we were ready for the weekend. We were using intermediate tyres for the majority of the day and we put in some decent lap times, so for the following day we were confident.
Qualifying Going into qualifying, I was again opted for the intermediates as the track was once again damp in a lot of places and also quite cold, so for this I was happy in the choice I made. I managed to qualify 13th, with a best time of 50.544 and just 1.1 seconds off pole! I was quite satisfied with that because on such a short circuit running into traffic is inevitable and that can make it tough to put a fast lap time in, but I thought I could have gone quicker and potentially grabbed a top 10, but hey ho 13th still wasn’t bad!
Race 1 was dry, for the first time this weekend, so there was no debate about what tyres to use there! Without having any practice starts on this bike, I completely fluffed my start and messed up the first lap, dropping to around 25th at the end of lap 1. I fought my way back up, with some great battles along the way, to 16th. I struggled all race due to my gear lever catching on the gear rod which made going down the gears really difficult. For all that happened in the race, 16th was a credible result along with 6th place in the sportsman class.
The following day was very wet, with the warm up being a wash out. I went out for the warm up in soaking conditions and I topped the times, with a 57.3. I was mega happy with that and the bike felt mint, all to play for in the race!
Race 2 Due to megalaps, which effectively decides your grid position on your best time from the previous day, I dropped to 22nd which was disappointing but nevertheless I was confident of a decent result. At the last minute myself and the team decided to gamble on intermediate tyres for an increasingly drying track but this turned out to be the wrong move due to the cold track temperature and it had not dried out enough to get the tyres to work properly, so for me it was like an ice rink and I had no grip what so ever. Sadly I crashed out at Clearways on lap 4 after losing the front end, it was really disappointing after our performance in the warm up but this is racing and these things happen, I’ll recover and go again! For the final race once again it was patchy conditions after a heavy downpour in the afternoon, so I opted for a wet front and intermediate rear.
Race 3 The race got underway and I was lapping at a good pace and making a lot of progress through the pack. The race was sadly red flagged due to a nasty crash at the final corner, thankfully everyone involved was okay. Due to this there was a short delay, so when the race was restarted I again made progress in the early laps and got up to around 12th by lap 3. I felt really good with the bike, but I pushed too hard too soon and my front tyre started to overheat, having two massive moments when I was lucky to stay on! My lap times then dropped and I finished 20th overall and 10th in class, certainly not what we wanted and definitely not a reflection on our true potential.
Overall it was a difficult weekend, with set up and tyre choice a major factor in the results but we’ll come back stronger and bag some better results at the next round at Donington Park! Thankyou once again for all your support, hugely appreciated. Onwards now to the next round! #10