Brands Hatch, the venue for round 2, with beautiful brisk spring weather to set the scene over the short, sharp and demanding Indy Circuit.
I was really looking forward to this race, Brands Indy is one of the shortest circuits on the calendar, and this leads you in to a sense that it would be the simplest, however this is not the case. To acquire a fast lap time you must gain enough grip to generate a lap just a few hundredths of a second faster than the man next to you, and on a lap where you’re pushing to finish in just 46 seconds, these hundredths are impossible without a bike which is working with, and for you.
In practice we got away well and went to work on generating grip and control of the rear shock, of which had plagued us with issues at Donington Park.
We made some changes to generate feel from the bike, however the session would end before a balance could be found. After the session, several changes to the bike’s geometry were changed to try and generate grip.
Qualifying 1, we improved again with a longer bike and several suspension and geometry changes. I pumped and slid my way to 9th spot, I was pushing hard with around 6 laps before the new tyre started to unmask the ongoing issue of losing control on the rear suspension. Q1’s efforts for 9th place would be achieved with a 47.4 second lap time.
After first qualifying we made changes again with spring rates on the front and rear, Q1 had me focused on a smooth and fast lap time, as the session was very frustrating with the unpredicatble nature of the grip given. Qualifying 2 I had the plan of doing a few laps to get my head up to speed then put a new tyre in to push for a lap time.
We did a time good enough for 11th on the grid, which was achieved on the new tyre but after 6 laps we were sliding and losing control. This wore the tyre quickly which had me concerned for the length of the race.
Further changes were made for warm up, and we found more grip again, with the new set up I was as confident as I had been and ready to sink my teeth in to the race.
The launch off the line was good and I was in the mix on the first lap, overtaking people on the exit of druids and in to clearways. Pushing hard I got through to 8th place but on lap 4 a massive moment was to come at the bottom of clearways. My strongest overtaking spot has always been paddock hill bend, so as I came out of clearways I needed a good drive to get alongside for Paddock Hill Bend. I did exactly that, drove hard off the turn but as I hit the dip at the bottom of clearways the back came right around on me and pinged me out of the seat, I held on as the bike was heading for the grass on the inside to finally grab a hold of the bike, rush along the grass, hit a foam advertisement sign and re join.
With the pack so close I was a way back in 17th place but got to work straight away on making the places up. Mostly in to paddock hill bend I picked off as many people as possible, to finally finish in 9th place.
This 9th place also puts us in 9th place in the championship standings. I know when we find a consistent set up, we will be able to push towards the top 5 and grab podiums in the not too distant future, I’m excited for the season ahead.
Thank you to the entire team, with special thanks to my mechanic and chief tech Dave Hopkinson for his relentless efforts.
Further thanks go to our treasured sponsors who provide 100% support from their respected positions. Thank you to my personal sponsors Walters Medical.
Thank you all, I will keep pushing until we get there.