BSB | brands hatch gp
Brands Hatch GP for Round 7 of the British Superstock 600 championship, another track I had not ridden before. The aim for this weekend was a top 10 but I knew I would have my work cut out. After cycling many laps on Thursday I was raring to go for Free Practice Friday morning.
Free Practice- With the sun shining and the track temperature rising at 9:00am pit lane opened and I set off for my first laps of the Brands GP circuit. With the opening laps done the smile on my face grew and grew as the track was so much fun to ride. With the first 15 minutes of the 25minute session being steady I needed to put in some faster laps to bump myself up the order.
As I started to push on harder I started to find a few little problems with the handling of the bike. With the session coming to close I was in 26th and seeing this on my pit board frustrated me. However, with the session ending and me finishing in 28th we had a post practice debrief. Obviously I didn’t want to be that far down on the timing sheets so I looked at what needed improving on the bike which was easily adjusted, then after I looked at my sector sheets and I could see in certain areas I got slower towards the end of the session, which is when I started pushing harder as I was disappointed with my result. Therefore I came to the conclusion I was trying too hard and making too many mistakes meaning I wasn’t flowing which is key to a fast lap.
Qualifying 1- with perfect track conditions and the bike having different settings in I was feeling confident. As the claxon went off signifying the pit lane had opened I set off and got straight in to it. The suspension felt good so I was determined to string a few good laps together. With 10 minutes of the session gone I was already faster than free practice so I was heading in the right direction. After getting down to the low 1:32’s from a 1:33 which I done in practice the bike was noticeably different but there was still a few minor adjustments. In addition, I wasn’t 100% happy with the gearing so I knew this was going to change for Qualifying 2 on Saturday. As the session came to a close I was 30th, very disappointing. I didn’t let this bother too much as I knew I had some changes to make that would benefit me for the second qualifying. After a de-brief we changed the gearing and opened up the rebound on the front end. With me on a 1:32:3 I was 2 seconds off of pole so I was aiming to close this deficit.
Qualifying 2- I was fired up and determined to improve from qualifying 1. Immediately on my out lap the gearing was a massive improvement. Within in a few laps I matching my previous best lap time and that was on the same tyre so I knew when I pitted for a new tyre I definitely had more to give. 15 minutes of the session left I was out on a new tyre, however on my out lap on my new tyre I did make a mess of the turn 6, Westfield, and I ran through the gravel. Fortunately I held it up right and got my head down. After my first flying lap on the new tyre I was 0.5 of second faster than my previous best so I was heading the right way. I put in some consecutive 1:31.5’s then on my final lap I put in my fastest time of a 1:31:4 to put me in an improved but not brilliant 22nd. I was satisfied with the bike but I knew I had my work cut out to get in the points for the race.
Race- having a good start and clean first lap was crucial for this race. As the lights went out I made a good jump overtaking two riders on the row in front of me moving into 19th, after making some more moves on lap 1 I was in 17th after the first lap so I was making positive progress. I plugged away and kept improving my lap times in to the low 1:31’s so it was looking promising for some points. With 8 laps of the race left I was chasing down 14th and got down to a 1:30.8 which was very pleasing. 14th, 13th and 12th where just up ahead so I charged hard to catch them, on lap 9 of 14 I made some mistakes so I used lap 10 to regroup and get my rhythm back. 3 laps remaining I had made good ground on the riders in front, the last lap flag was out and I was right on 14th and 13th . With two corners to go I made a move for 14th and made it stick to finish the race in 14th. After the post-race technical checks had been done a rider in front of me was disqualified resulting in me being promoted to 13th. I was pleased with this result although it wasn’t my best result I was happy with how I rode and the progress throughout the race and weekend.
Overall a challenging but good weekend and we proved our hard work setting the bike up worked. So now with the remainder of the season being at tracks I know I aim for top 10 results and look forward to my local track, Thruxton, on the 31st July- 2nd August.