Saturday, 6 October 2012

Silverstone BSB - Racing at its closest, bringing us our first UK Championship!

Coming from a victorious round at Donington Park, we had a weekend off and were straight back on the road to the Midlands, this time to the famed F1 circuit of Silverstone.

This was a big weekend for our series as Rob Guiver, the championship leader and 10 year 125GP British veteran, had built a lead with his fast pace from the start of the season and was one race away from sealing the championship. We were the closest to stopping him from doing it, and were determined to delay his championship as much as possible. We now know our bike well, but the circuit was still a new one to learn for me with only a part trackday under my belt.

We arrived, set up and headed out for a track walk. This isn't your small-time circuit and being 5.9km long, over an hour later we arrived back at the pits slightly wiser.

Friday practice was cold and windy, as the rest of the weekend would continue to be.We had an idea of set up from our trackday, and a good base setting we found at Donington Park. This made my job a lot easier as all I had to to do was focus on learning the fast lines of this very fast, 14m wide ocean of tar.

We then qualified in the afternoon with our opening laps setting us in 1st, then going down to 5th with only a lap left of the session. Fortunately for me, Rob Guiver came past as I started the final lap and could use him as a guide to learn the lines, whilst putting in my and his fastest laps setting him 1st and us in 3rd.

I still didn't know the track well enough to push as hard as I wanted to, and the bike felt good with our base settings so we had a relaxed afternoon before a good nights sleep.

Race 1 was a late afternoon 5 way battle for the lead, producing some of the best racing I've ever experience. We got off the line well and took the lead into turn 1, followed by an aggressive by Phil Atkinson on me into turn 2, setting the 'take no prisoners' attitude for the race. Nearly every corner saw 2 or 3 position changes in our leading pack of Myself, Rob Guiver, Freddie Pett, Phil Atkinson and Chrissy Rouse. We bumped and bashed our way around 8 laps of the Silverstone GP circuit and started the final lap with Freddie in the lead, followed by myself, Rob, Phil and Chrissy in 5th, covered by under 1sec! Freddie and I exchanged the lead nearly every corner of the final lap, then coming onto the final straight, I closed on him and made a lunge on the brakes into the second-last turn, unknowingly having the same done to me by Chrissy who had been on the move from 5th place. He bombed both of us, sending me wide and Freddie free to dive back under me into the final turn, but in turn making them both run wide on the run to the line. I squared off the corner and dashed up the inside as we all crossed the line together, all 5 covered by 0.5sec! We managed a 3rd which we were happy with considering we were 2 spots ahead of championship leader, Rob, and closed a few points down on him.

I knew the track a lot better going into race 2 as we started from the front row again. The pace just as hot as the previous day's race, with our same 5 way battle from lap 1. Phil lunged past me into the lead on lap 1 again, I came straight back at him nearing the end of the lap with a debatable aggressive move, but nothing more than his move on me in race 1. This was to be the flavour of the race! While the 5 of us were batting it out, Rob Guiver picked up our slipstream down the long Hangar straight, blowing past us into the lead. He was just out of my reach on the brakes and managed to hold the lead to the end. We were left fighting amongst each other for the remaining podium spots, and what a race it produced!

The final lap saw us going 4 abreast into nearly every corner of the circuit, right to the flag. I lunged past everyone with two corners to go and ran a bit wide, nearly holding onto it, but it wasn't enough to fend them off, Chrissy, Freddie and Phil were on my inside, fortunately we managed to fend off all of them but one, giving us another 3rd.

It was the most fun I've had all season, and possibly ever during a race, bar the result of a non-victory. It's a great pleasure racing extremely hard, but fair against such talented riders such as Rob, Phil, Freddie and Chrissy. We can bump and push eachother as hard as we dare without the fear of one of us doing something silly.

Both times we arrived at the podium, greeted an excited group of BSB staff, team members and spectators. The reception of our races really made us, as riders, feel great. Thanks to everyone who was watching and supporting us! Well done to Rob Guiver on sealing the overall championship, a faultless season well deserved.

Scroll through to 4:50sec for our race highlights

Our season has been full of challenges and one of the most difficult to date, but it paid off this weekend with celebrations of our own to conclude as after race 1 on Saturday we were officially the Premier class Champions!

Thank you to my Dad, Morne, Jason & Donna Davis, Eevie & Rab and everyone who has helped us win  this championship and achieve so much in our rookie British season. We wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for my Dad and his now tiny pension fund which he cashed in to bring me to the UK, the help from Lawrence Watson, and all our supporters including Jonny Towers from RST and Moto Direct, Leatt Brace and Stuart form Forcefield Body Armour.

We have one round left, bringing a close to our intense rookie season of British racing at the famous Brands Hatch circuit next weekend.

2013 planning has started and we hope to have a deal not too far away!

Cheers for now,
James and Team

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