BSB | thruxton
Thruxton, Wiltshire for round 7 of the Superstock 600 championship. Aiming for a good weekend and to get back in to the top 10 and with lots of friends, family and sponsors coming up I was hoping to put on a good show.
Free Practice- the sun was shining and at 9:00AM the pit lane opened for our free practice session, with the out lap done it was great to be back out at Thruxton as its such a fast track. With the first 10 minutes of the session done I was in a group getting good slipstream but the track was dirty and I was getting drilled by little stones, it felt like my arms where being sandblasted. With 15minutes gone I was 9th fastest and feeling comfortable. I entered the pits with 8minutes of the session left as I had arm pump and I wanted to get the tyre pressures checked which where perfect. At this stage I was 11th fastest so after leaving the pits I wanted to put in a good enough time to finish me in the top 10. However, being in the pits didn’t free my arm pump so then my arms where fatigued and it slowed down the speed of my hands. This was a hinderence to me on track and for the remainder of the session I didn’t improve in time as I was making a few misatkes therefore I finished the session 13th fastest. A little bit annoyed I didn’t get inside the top 10 but on the other hand I was confident that with a few tweaks on the bike I could improve on my time of a 1:20:9. After practice I went to the physio that is provided at the track and they sorted out my arm pump which was great help going in to qualifying 1.
Qualifying 1- Some minor tweaks to the front end on the bike to soften it off as the track is very bumpy. So as the pit lane opened and we all charged off I got my head down and set off do some quick laps in the sun with high track temeratures. Immediately the bike was an improvement but there was still a few areas where it could have been improved. But with 10 minutes of the session gone I had improved my time to the consistent mid 1:20’s and I was lying just outside the top 10. Entering the pits with with 10 minutes left the tyre pressures where checked and the arm up was gone so all was good and I aimed for a top 10 so I had to pull all the stops out and go for it. At this stage I had done a 1:20.2 so I hunted for that 1:19 lap. After two flying laps and a slipstream I had got down to a 1:20:0, so just a whisker off of a 1:19. As the session ended I was 14th which isnt too bad as I was only 0.8 off of the front row so it was all so close.
Qualifying 2- with a further few changes and some new tyres a 1:19 lap was on the cards. Straight out of pit lane and I got my head down and pushed on. However the bike didn’t feel amazing and it was obvious the changes to bike hadnt worked. I battled for the whole session just to get one quick lap but I felt like I had hit a brick wall and couldn’t go any faster at all. I could see on my pitboard that I was slipping down the order, this frustrated me but I tried not to let it show in my riding. After a quick pit stop and a few minor tweaks on the front end the bike did improve a little bit but I could only match my previous best of a 1:20:0 which was only good enough to leave me down in 21st, so very disapointing but at least we learnt that setting doesn’t work. In addition after a post race de-brief we had a chat with K-Tech, the manufacture of my suspsension, and they told us our bike was to hard and that it needed softer springs, he later told us all the superbikes have the bike a lot softer at Thruxton and it is a known fact to soften the bike off at a track like this. So with some softer springs and a few other changes all round the bike and me was all set to improve.
Race- after a quick warm up session prior the race the bike felt 100% better so I knew in the race I had my work cut out. The aim was to get in the top 15 so a good start and first lap was crucial. As the lights went out I had a really good jump and made up several places immediately which was a great start and what I needed. The first lap was also brilliant gaining many positons and after the first lap I was in 16th . As the race progressed I battled my way up to the battle for 12th and had got down to a 1:19:5 at the mid stage of the race. On lap 7 I unfortunatly got put on to the grass at the last corner and I dropped back to 20th, very frustrating. So I had all that hard work to do again with only a further 5 laps left. As the red mist came over I picked them all off one by one getting back up to 13th and holding them off for the last two laps of the race until we enetred the last corner of the last lap which was under yellow flags due to an incident meaning no one should overtake, but two came past me and beat me to the line where I finished in 15th but should of finished 12th. This was very frustrating for me but I looked at the positives like getting down to a 1:19:2 which put me 12th fastest in the race and it also proved the bike was a massive improvement so we can use that setting when we come back next year.
Overall a hard but good weekend, I came away with another points scoring finish, still 10th in the championship and a good setting for the bike so now I look forward to Cadwell Park on the 21st – 23rd of August where I hope to get a top 10 finish. I would just like to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors and everyone who came up to support me at my local round..Thank you!