Rockingham - 31.07.14
Rockingham was set to be a scorching hot weekend so I was looking forward to it although in previous years I have never done that well there.
Friday free practice was really hot, going well and I was enjoying the circuit more than I have before. We made a few changes to help me with the bumps but we couldn't completely dial the bumps out as that’s the nature of the track, however we did the best we could and it made a big difference. Unfortunately, in free practice 4 I crashed which I wasn't very happy with as it destroyed my helmet, ripped my leathers(so on TV you will see me in my old leathers), broke my boot, made me very sore but fortunately the bike wasn't too badly damaged. I put this to the back of my mind and got out there again to get as many laps possible to help me for the rest of the weekend.
Qualifying, I was out around 10 o’clock so the temperature was perfect. As soon as I did my out lap I felt really comfortable and smooth. My first flying lap put me to 3rd which is where I stayed for around 5 minutes of the session, then I jumped up to 2nd. I pushed hard to put in a 1:25:3 which was enough to put me on pole but 0.006. This looked good for some close racing. I was very pleased to get pole as I have never done that before.
Race 1 Saturday, I was going into the
race with bags of confidence starting from my first ever pole position start. I made a good start getting the holeshot down into turn 1 and charged down to turn 2 where I got passed on the brakes, but I’ve learnt you've got to get straight back passed them if you can; which is what I did down into a hairpin. He passed my back on the straight and I thought maybe I should follow him to see where I am weaker and stronger and see where I could launch an attack near the end of the race. On lap 7 I ran on at turn 1 loosing around 2-3 seconds on 1st but I didn't loose any positions as we had broke away from 3rd by 13 seconds. However, I closed to gap to 0.5 of a second but not enough to make a move so I settled for 2nd. This was a good ride and I got the fastest lap and smashed the lap record by 1.3 seconds.
Race 2 Sunday, this was a hectic race as it got red flagged 3 times, after the second red flag they sent us in for 30 minutes while they sorted the incident. This allowed us to make a few changes to help with edge grip as I was struggling with this. In the final restart I got a good start again I got passed at turn 2, so this told me that I need to improve there. I got him back by then end of the the first lap and pulled a gap of 0.5. As I was leading the whole race I tried to stay cool and ride smooth which is what I did and this resulted in me taking my first win on the 600. I was over the moon with this result and happy with how I rode whilst being under pressure from 2nd place.
Race 3 Sunday, with all the confidence from race 2 I was going for another win. I got the jump and lead the first half of the lap until I got passed, I followed him for 2 laps but I was struggling for grip out of the turns and I could catch on the brakes and mid-turn but I didn't have the grip to gas it out of the turns, this is when I went back to 3rd. However, I hung with them and did my best with the grip I had and brought it home for 3rd.
Overall, it was a really good weekend and it moved me up to 5th in the Superstock championship. To top the weekend off I was awarded ‘Rider of the day’ which was the icing on the cake for the whole weekend. Unfortunately my lap record was taken off me in race 3 by 0.1 of a second but I still had the fastest 600 lap time all weekend as my fastest lap in qualifying was faster than the lap record, but lap records can only be set in the race meaning my qualifying lap didn't count.