BSB Stock 600 Round 6 – Brands Hatch GP
After a decent ride at Knockhill where we were unlucky to not score some points, we came into Brands Hatch full of optimism. We had been to Brands once already this year, but this time it was the full GP circuit which I had not done for 3 years. The last time I rode it I liked it, so I was hoping it would be the same again!
Free Practice 1
FP1 was dry and sunny and I was looking forward to getting going. I was struggling with the setting in a fair few areas but nonetheless we managed to post a 1m33,9 putting us in 14th, so I was fairly chuffed with that as I knew there was so much I could improve on!
Free Practice 2
Just as we went out for FP2 the heavens completely opened and everyone pulled into pit lane to see if things would clear up, which they didn’t! Some lads went out after putting wets on so I thought I’d go for a quick spin to get a feeling for it in the wet, there was only 7 minutes of the
session left so I was going to just take it steady! It was an absolute ice rink out there as it was the first time the track had seen rain for months, so I was taking it as steady as possible and just building it up slowly but surely. As it turns out we went quickest and topped the times, showing once again that we have a really good feeling and potential in the wet! It was the only bit of rain we saw all weekend, but it was still nice to see my name at the top of the times!
For qualifying it was once again hot and sunny and we were looking forward to it. Because FP2 was a wash out we didn’t get to try a different setting like we wanted to, so qualifying was like going into the unknown. I felt good when I went out for the first few laps, getting a decent tow off some of the front runners. I had a huge high side moment at the top of dingle-dell, so I thought it be best to pull into the pits for a quick debrief and get sorted! When I went back out I had a clear track but unfortunately I struggled to get back into a decent rhythm and I ended up crashing at Druid’s whilst on
a hot lap after making some suspension alterations. We ended up in 21st which I was really disappointed with because I knew we were better than that, but we were just struggling getting the bike to turn and get a good feeling in the front end! But hey ho, the race is a completely different kettle of fish so I was looking towards that instead of dwelling on it!
We tried one or two different things for the warm up, which was better in some areas and worse in others, so it was still a work in progress! We finished 18th in that session.
For the race we completely gambled on a setting and made some radical changes. My new crew chief Mark, who was and will turn out to be a
complete god send, told me it’ll either feel really good or really bad and he was apprehensive about potentially going the wrong way completely with the setting, but I said it was a risk worth taking!
The race came around and I got a mint start, making my way up to 14th on the first lap. After that I just started going backwards, the changes we had made were sadly worse than what we started with on the Friday, so it was just a case of damaged limitation in the end. 22nd is where we finished, which at the time was slightly soul destroying but I knew 100% that it was just down to the set up, so I know that by working at it at the following rounds and in between we will get there because when all the pieces click into place, we will show our true potential.
Overall a very difficult round and one I’d certainly like to put behind me, but nonetheless we will be back at Thruxton stronger and faster than ever! Thank you once again for your continued support through thick and thin
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BSB Stock 600 Round 5 – Knockhill
After missing the previous round at Snetterton and having to retire at Donington Park due to electrical issues, it was nice to get back out and back on it at Knockhill! Massive thanks to Paul at Dynobike for resolving the electrical issues. I knew this round was going to be a challenge as we had never raced there before and the majority of the field had, plus some riders were at an official test there a few weeks previous, so we were up against it from the start but nonetheless we were keen to show what we can do.
Free Practice 1
I just did as many laps as I could to learn the circuit and get an understanding of how the bike was handling. I did 30 laps and we finished P22 with a time of 53.76, so there were plenty of improvements to be made.
Free Practice 2
We changed one or two things on the bike and I was starting to get to grips with what is a very tricky and technical circuit, very different to the circuits on the calendar. We finished P20 in that with a time of 52.87, so we took a big chunk of time out in that session and although we were quite a way down the field, I was happy to be improving every time we went out.
Qualifying and Warm Up
Qualifying came around and it was once again a glorious day. I felt a lot better on the bike and I felt quicker, but unfortunately we were not able to improve the position; finishing P21 with a best time of 52.08. I improved by nearly a second again so for my first time at the circuit it was definitely going in the right direction! 0.8 sec. separated 10th position all the way down to me in 21st, so it gives you an idea of how tight the times were!
The race came around and I got a mint start, probably the best I’d had all year, and I was instantly in the battle for a top 15 finish. I was running in a group of 5 and I felt really comfortable lapping in the 51’s, but there was sadly a big crash and the safety car came out for 3 laps. My bike after that felt a lot worse and I was struggling for grip and to get it stopped; the same thing happened at Oulton Park earlier in the year. After a few laps I got back into my rhythm running 15th and I caught the two lads in 13th and 14th and I was lapping quicker until the penultimate lap where I hit a false neutral and dropped two places. On the final lap i was pushing hard and nearly crashed twice so i had to just settle for 17th which was frustrating because i thought we had the pace for much more than that.
I was disappointed on missing out on a points scoring finish, but i was pleased with the progress over the weekend on a track i’d never been to, so its certainly something to build on for the rest of the season.
BSB 600 Super Stock Round 2 – Brands Hatch Indy Circuit
After a promising but difficult start to the season at Donington Park, we were eager to kick start our season at Brands Hatch. With it being just the Indy circuit and only around 48 seconds a lap, it certainly doesn’t take much learning and I know I can be quick there so I was looking forward to it!
Free Practice 1
Free Practice 1 was wet, very wet! Nonetheless I went out around 10 minutes into the session and within 3 laps I had topped the times by half a second, so I think it is fair to say we have got a good feeling with the bike in the wet! On the last lap of the session, on the last corner, I lost the rear suddenly and crashed out. This was hugely frustrating because I had done nothing different to what I had done the previous 14 laps and it meant the bike once again needed rebuilding. At the end of the day, this is racing and these things happen so we move on and go again!
Due to the crash we missed FP2 and at the same time missed valuable track time because it was dry, so this meant going into qualifying on the back foot; nonetheless I was still confident
Qualifying was held in perfect conditions. The sun was out and I was buzzin’ to get going. It didn’t really go to plan though, we made the wrong choice with gearing and I was struggling in too many areas to be able to post a lap time we were capable of and I felt like I was over riding the bike. 21st is work to do, I like a good challenge so game on!
Warm up On the Sunday we had warm up in the morning which we had made some big changes for and I felt so much more comfortable on the bike, ending that session 10th. I was quite pleased with that because I knew I could go a lot quicker and the pace I was running I felt really comfortable with, so I was looking forward to the race.
The race day was again perfect conditions and I was confident of fighting my way through the pack. I got an alright start but I wasn’t aggressive enough in the opening laps because Brands Indy is a very short circuit and when you’re bunched up with 30 odd other riders it can be very easy to tangle with someone, so I was biding my time. On lap 3 is when I started to push and I made a hard, but fair, move on someone into turn 2 at Druids. Sadly though he tried to go around the outside of me and in the process clipped my rear wheel taking us both out.
It was a racing incident and thankfully we were both okay, but frustrating at the same time because it’s safe to say luck is not with us at the moment! I think that could have been a good race and we could have got a decent result inside the points but it wasn’t to be.
This is racing, if it was easy every man and his dog would be at it so it’s just a case of having to work a bit more at it, but on the plus side I think we’ve shown glimpses of the speed that we have, so now it is just a case of keeping it up right, staying out of trouble and proving to everyone that we can run with the fastest Stock 600 riders in the UK!
Massive thanks to you all for sticking by us and supporting us through it all, honestly does mean a lot! ☺