BSB | knockhill
3 rd - 5th of July saw us take the trip up to Knockhill for round 5. After a long 10 hour journey we finally made it to the circuit, seeing as I had never been here before I had to cycle the track many times, so I spent most of Thursday walking and cycling the track. The circuit looked good fun, tight and fast so I was looking forward to getting out there and learning the lines.
Free Practice- I needed to get lots of laps in this session so I planned not to come in halfway through. As the pit lane opened I set off down Duffus Dip, turn 1, and done a few steady laps as the track felt really alien to me. After about 5 laps I was starting to get the hang of it and my lines where improving drastically. The bike felt good but the front end was too stiff as I could feel every bump and rather than adsorbing the bumps it was skipping over the top of them. With this problem I pitted and made a change, after my out lap I could 100% feel the difference. With 10 minutes of the session left I was starting to creep up the timing sheet. I wanted to string a few faster laps together towards the end of the session, by doing this I worked my way up to 14th at the end of the free practice with a 52.3 second lap. Qualifying 1 was next so with a few minor tweaks on the front end I was confident going in to Qualifying 1.
Qualifying 1- as the track was tight and short getting a good qualifying was very important. With the pit lane open and our session started I set off on my out lap. After looking at my sector sheets from practice I could see sector 2 was my worst and I knew it was the chicane that what losing me 0.5 of second so I was focusing on getting this right for the first few laps. I started to put in a few quick laps together which put me 14th with around 12 minutes to go. Due to circuit having hard braking areas the brakes started to boil and fade so I came into the pits to let them cool for a minute. I headed back out with 8 minutes to go and had to put in a good time as I was 25th at this stage. After putting in a few quicker laps the flag came out leaving me in a disappointing 23rd. I was very disappointed with this result as I knew qualifying was so important at a place like this. After the post qualifying debrief I explained how the front end was better than practice but was still too hard. We looked at the settings we had used earlier in the year; there were few changes that we had made from the start of the season like tyre pressures etc. so I wanted to go back to base settings as that is what we used when I was running near the front.
Unfortunately Qualifying 2 was cancelled as we had very heavy rain over Friday night in to Saturday morning which had broken up some of the track at turn 1 so no racing action started until 12 o’clock and seeing as qualifying 1 was dry they scrapped our session to make up some time. This was frustrating as I needed laps even if they were in the wet.
Warm up- with the base settings in I was eager to try them. Within 4 minutes of the session I could feel the base setting was working much better. On my last three laps of the session I put three consecutive 51.5 laps in which was 0.6 of a second faster than qualifying and good enough to qualify me in 9th. So with a positive start to race day I was excited for the race.
Race- as we lined up on the grid it started spitting with rain but nothing heavy or enough to slow us down. After a positive warm up I had to get a good start to move further up the grid. As the lights went out I got a good launch making up a few places immediately. With a good first lap I crossed the line in 19th, the rain still hadn’t come to anything but it was still spitting. As the race progressed I found myself in a battle for 12th and I was swapping places from corner to corner so it was an interesting race. Again I got into the 51’s so it was clear the base setting was working better for me. With some good pace I caught up to the battle for 8th and I could see 8th place just up ahead. With13 laps of 22 gone I was in 16th and the rain was starting to come down harder, I made the move for 14th. On lap 15 of 22 the red flags came out as at this stage the rain was starting to make an effect on the track. Therefore it was counted back a lap so I finished in 15th. This result isn’t bad but I was a bit frustrated as I felt I could had moved forward and scored a few more points. However there are some good positives to take away, I have felt we made a good change with the set up and I have also learnt the track for next year. So now we move on to Brands Hatch GP circuit on the 17th -19th of July which is another track I haven’t done but I’m sure I can learn it quick, I aiming for a good result and I need to claw some points back.