Big Brands Bash!
Round seven of the British Superbike series took us to the full GP circuit at Brands Hatch in Kent. This is one of the biggest events in the calendar with over 50,000 spectators packing into the course. Although once again it was not quite the result we hoped for, we did end the weekend in the points on both races.
I began Friday’s free practice on a fairly steady pace, taking the opportunity to get a feel for the course and to try to find the best lines. There were a few issues with the bike running wide in the turns, meaning I had work quite hard to keep it on track but despite this things went okay and I was relatively pleased to finish the session in 11th position, although I was aware that work was needed to get my times down further.
The second qualification session commenced at 9am on Saturday and due to a few issues with the bike I lost the pack a little and ended up having quite a lonely ride around. With nobody to pace myself against my times slipped against those I had set on Friday, however in the last 10 minutes of the session I found myself once again lapping with Jorel. I managed to stay with him which helped me take a half second off my times, but in the event I was slightly disappointed to finish the session with a 13th place on the grid.
Race one began well enough and although I lost a place initially, I pushed to get it back in order to keep pace and stay with the faster riders group. I managed to maintain this position for a couple more laps before making a big mistake which not only lost me a couple of places but also resulted in me losing touch with the leading bunch. Throughout the rest of the race I was at the front of the chasing pack and worked hard to get in the fastest laps possible. I managed to hold the pursuing riders off and came home in 12th place, which was not bad considering that I had spent most of the race riding defensively to maintain my position. However, unfortunately the starting positions for race two were determined by lap times in race one, meaning that I had to start from a disastrous 23rd place and leaving me with quite a lot of work to do!
In the warm up we completely changed the ride height settings, hopefully meaning that the higher engine position would give some more stability and improve the issues with running wide in the bends that had being causing problems. This took a little getting used to as the bike felt completely different at speed and substantially different to how it had been set for the rest of the weekend.
I made a good solid start in race two and immediately picked up a few places. I ended up in a battle with a several KTM machines and was progressing well through the field until I was hit from behind by another rider in one of the fast left hand corners. The collision threw me right out of the saddle and I immediately lost around six places. However, I recovered and got back on the pace but unfortunately there were only two laps left in which to regain ground!
I pulled out all the stops and managed to make up three places and on the final lap took a gamble and squeezed past Josh Hodge to secure 13th place. Although it was good to be amongst the points again I was a little disappointed as I know that I could have been in contention for 11th place if things had gone differently.
I am already looking forward to Cadwell Park in three weeks’ time, however first up is the chance to relax on holiday for a while in France. I’m hoping for some nice weather and a good chance to prepare myself for battle for the next round!