Sunday, 22 June 2014

Our Best Result To Date! - Snetterton Rd. 3

It's been a long 5 week break, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little concerned that I hadn't ridden a bike for the duration. A little comfort was founf talking to my Dad when he reminded me that through my whole career we've never been able to afford much riding time between races and I've always ridden just fine without the practice - fortunately his words lay true this race meeting seeing us exceed our goals considerably to have our best race to date! Thanks Dad!

It was great to get back to the track and meet up with my guys and the rest of the team. I was confident in my bike and the setup we found at our previous race at Oulton Park and was looking so forward to getting on track to twist the throttle again!

I took a slightly different approach the start of the weekend which I normally don't do, but this change made the fundamental difference in my riding. I won't say what it was as that's my little secret;) From the first practice we were on pace, sitting most of the sessions around 14th place - about 10 places ahead of where we normally find ourselves! This made finding small problems in setup a much quicker process, allowing me to have a bike I was happy with pushing hard well in time for Qualifying. This translated well into a starting place of 20th for Sunday's main race. A few places behind were I was expecting to start, but so so close lap time wise, I wasn't too worried. The team were very pleased as it was actually our best qualifying so far!

Morning warm up came about and we tried a small adjustment to my engine tuning, which worked well, setting us up nicely for the race. I pulled up to the line knowing I loved my bike, and couldn't wait to ride it hard again! Dan and Ian pulled the tyre warmers off while Mark gave me the pre-race 'Go for it' and I was ready to go for it.

The lights went out and the bike worked great off the line, seeing me shoot inside the top 15 after the 1st lap. Everything was working well and I felt good to push even harder seeing us reach the top 12! I felt comfortable where I was and made a another move into 11th before I saw the rider in front of me crash unexpectedly. The race was Red Flagged (Set to Restart) due to an engine blowing up, spilling oil on that corner - fortunately we managed to avoid the oil line! This meant we would restart the in our current positions, and I was in 10th place!!!

The team were buzzing when I returned to pitlane as we readied the bike for the restart. An hour or so passed as the clean up and another race took place, then we were called back to the track for a sprint race of 6 laps!

I pulled up to 10th on the grid, smiling at where we were starting. The lights went out for the second time, and the bike worked great off the line for the second time and we were in 6th! With the front in clear sight, I knew I had to just ride with my head to hold off as many of them as possible as I was in front of a lot of the top championship contenders who I knew were a bit faster than me.

After some epic racing with established championship front runners on their factory bikes, we came home in 11th place with the group for 3rd just in front of me! The riders we were with, including Freddy Foray (Double World Endurance Superbike Champ) on a factory Honda, who finished one spot behind me, is where I've been wanting so badly to be with and it was like a weight off my shoulders to finally reach them.

This 11th is a major milestone for me, but also for MWR Kawasaki as it's their best finish to date, and first points score in British Superstock 1000 and I'm so glad I could be the one to give it to them after all their hard work!

After a celebratory burn out and a few wheelies, I returned to an elated team of grown men skipping around hugging eachother. A satisfying sight knowing what we had just achieved!

I'm really chuffed with where we've progressed ourselves to and I can't wait to get back to work and build on this to make sure we can maintain these positions. Then work towards even better positions! The support I've had has been really great and thank you to everyone for all the nice messages and photos - much appreciated!

A huge thank you to the people who make it possible for us to even get to the grid - Rocket 88, Leatt Corporation, SA Racers Abroad and of course Mom & Dad! I'm so glad to give you some good results in return.
A special thanks goes to my team, the main man, Mark, and my guys Dan and Ian for working with me to make the bike my own, and the whole MWR Kawasaki team for making our race weekends so enjoyable and fun with all the laughs and cheers included!

Our next outing is Knockhill in Scotland for Rd.4 on 29 June - back to the gym I go!

Cheers for now,