Mallory Park - 29.10.14
The final round of the 2014 season was at Mallory Park which is a track I had not ridden on the 600 prior to this meeting so I didn’t know what to expect. We had no test day on the Friday due to Mallory having noise issues and are not allowed three consecutive noisy days.
Qualifying- straight into qualifying so I had to get my head up to speed and pick up some lines on the 600 very quickly. After 5 laps in I started to look at my pitboard and it said I was 2nd which surprised me. I had lots left in me at this point so I pushed on and wanted to see what I could do. With 5 minutes remaining I was 1st so I kept putting in fast laps and the session ended seeing me qualifying on pole. This made a good start to the weekend and gave me bags of confidence for the race.
Race 1- From pole position I didn’t make the best of jumps and I was in 3rd into turn 1. By the time I got to turn 2 I was 1st but as we entered the corner one came past pushing me wide leaving me in 3rd place. By the end of lap 1 I was in 1st and felt comfortable. As the laps went by no one came past and my pitboard was showing me I was gapping the competition lap by lap. With 4 laps left I had a 9 second lead so I knocked off the pace a little to finish 1st by 8.8 seconds with the fastest lap. This was totally unexpected but I was over the moon with this result. Again I was very confident I could do this again in the next two races.
Race 2- Off of pole again and very similar to race 1 I didn’t make the jump but going into turn 2 I was back in 1st again. As we charged up into the hairpin and I went to go down the gearbox and it crunched and then selected a false neutral, with no engine braking I coudlnt stop t he bike, despite my efforts, and I ran off track dropping back to last place. I charged hard all race trying to catch back up and managed to get 7th in the race and 3rd in the Superstock class with the fastest lap again. I was gutted with this result as I knew I was on for another win if the gearbox had not plagued me. But I got over it and it made me want it even more for the final race of the weekend and year. Race 3- final race of the weekend and year. I wanted to go out with a bang. From pole I made a better launch off of the line and was 2nd into turn 1 but I went round the outside of 1st place to come out of turn 1 in 1st. From this point on I lead the race and I was gaping them lap by lap. With about 5 laps left I had a 5 second gap and I was feeling comfortable. I charged up to the hairpin just like all the previous laps and the gearbox wouldn't select any gears again so I ran on just like race 2. I was so angry so I raced as hard as I could to catch back up and managed 4th and 3rd in Superstocks with another fastest lap. I was gutted that I lost the win through no fault of my own. But I had to take the positives that I was the fastest rider in every session/race and that I had secured 3rd in the Superstock championship and 3rd in the overall championship.
Overall the weekend was really good and there was lots of positives to take away from it. This week we have had the gearbox out to see what was going on and we found that it is badly worn so at least we know what the problem is. I am over the moon to have finished 3rd in both championships and it sums up a fantastic year!