After three hectic rounds with some high and low points, we arrived at Cadwell Park for round 4 of the Thundersport GB 2017 championship. I didn’t realise how big the step up is from the Pre National championship I competed in last year, to the Elite championship I am in this year, but round by round we’re getting there! A lot has happened in the first 3 rounds, with leaving Phoenix CFS Racing and going back to being an independent, privateer rider being the main focal point. The results we picked up in the first two rounds were not good enough and I knew something had to change, so we decided to part ways and for round 3 at Snetterton we were back on our own trusty steed, racing under the CMB Motorsport banner. Apart from some mechanical issues, we got some decent results and we had something to build on going into round 4.
The test day we had a lot of data from previous visits/tests at Cadwell, so we knew we had a base setting to work from. Craig from CMB Motorsport did a great job of prepping the bike, and it was the best and most productive practice I’ve had, lapping consistently and knocking 1.2 seconds off my previous best time there. We suffered one or two minor mechanical problems, but nothing that was not a quick fix. By the end of the day we knew we had a decent setting to go with for qualifying, so overall it was a good productive day and my team worked brilliantly. On Sunday morning I went out into qualifying focussed on getting a good result. Conditions were perfect, so I was confident. We were banging in consistent fast laps and I was getting quicker and quicker, I was struggling with the front end in certain areas of the circuit but I knew I needed to keep pushing for a fast time now I had a clear track. The bike was moving around a lot and the front was constantly trying to tuck, nevertheless I managed a 1.35.056 lap which is near enough 3 seconds quicker than I was in the race on our previous visit here in October, so I was buzzin’ about that! It was a big step I knew we needed to make and thankfully we made it. That time put us 14th on the grid (5th in class), but I was satisfied with that and looking forward to the race in the afternoon.
Race 1 For the race we altered the settings slightly to make the bike more settled where I was struggling in qualifying, so I was confident of a decent result. I didn’t get a bad start, but it wasn’t the best either, getting swamped in the first two corners and losing ground on the leaders. I battled hard all race, but I was struggling a lot with the front tyre so I did all I could. I finished 5th in class, so although I wanted a better result we still collected some decent points.
The following day I went out for the warm up, which was wet and posted the 4th quickest time. The wet set up we have is decent so if it did rain I was confident!
Race 2 For race 2 we once again got Gareth from Reactive Suspension in York to do the set up and the feeling I had was better, but I was still struggling with the front. I got a poor start and from then on it was always going to be difficult, but I again finished 5th in class which again wasn’t the result I was hoping for but my lap times were decent and consistent and also proof that we had made a step forward, so I was pleased with that side of things.
Race 3 The final race of the day was wet, which is one way of putting it! The conditions were appalling, but I was confident of getting a good result because we have a good set up for the wet. Starting from 18th, I battled through the pack from lap 1 after a poor start. I got up to 10th and I was on the tail of the lad in front, but my steering damper
wasn’t working properly and because each lap I was getting quicker, every time I was flat out down the straights I was getting massive tank slappers due to all the standing water, so at 160+mph it was interesting to say the least! So instead of risking a massive crash I decided to back off and take the points instead, which was annoying because I was on the brink of making a move up to 9th place and we’d closed down the lad in 8th, but we finished 4th in class which was a good result in what was a very tricky race in difficult conditions.
Overall I think we have made a big step this weekend, with only bike set up preventing us from going quicker. The base set up is still a work in progress, but as soon as we crack that there will be no looking back and we’ll just go from strength to strength, so we’re on the right track and I’m looking forward to the next round at Mallory Park next month! A massive thanks to Craig at CMB Motorsport for all the graft and effort he puts into the bike both at races and prior to them, Gareth at Reactive Suspension, also my mum and dad, Ste and Clare for all their hard work and commitment. I have got a lot of dedicated and supportive people around me so to have that is invaluable! Also a massive thanks to the rest of my sponsors Harris Irwin Architects, Elvington Park Building Services, Catton Village Motors, York Digital Image, Blue Haze Engineering and Smarter for all their help and support, it’s massively appreciated. ☺ #10