3rd Place at Brands Hatch GP
Monster Energy British Superbike Round – Brands Hatch GP Circuit – National Superstock 1000
The Brands Hatch GP circuit is my favourite race circuit on the calendar. I enjoy riding the track more than any other and when we rolled out for the first few laps of practice we found we had started the weekend with a good set up to support me on the bike right away. I was happy with the bike and finished the session in 6th position on a time of 1:30:040 with just minor changes throughout the session.
Qualifying 1 was met with Brilliant blue sky’s in the middle of the day so track temperature was up. We got a fast time in early, sitting us in 6th position once again on a 1:29:117, considerably faster than practice. For the rest of the session I stayed out only returning to the pits to try a few things to get used to the used tyre.
Our strategy for qualifying 2 was to put together a few laps on the old tyre for familiarity with the circuit, then put in a new rear for a qualifying lap. Once again I felt comfortable right away so came in for the new tyre early. I found a gap, done one outlap then pushed for my qualifying time and got it with a 1:28:620 which moved me up to 4th place where I would stay for the rest of the session after putting in a string of high 1:28’s and low 1:29’s which gave me confidence that I could keep the pace in the race. In warm up we sat out most of the session due to a wet track after rain in the early hours of the morning. I entered the circuit with a few minutes to go just to practice some starts.
A good launch got me away with the front pack and I was up to 4th by we entered the GP circuit, but with little initial grip I had moments at Surtees and a big out of the seat moment at Hawthorne’s which let Jess Trayler and Luke Quigley by. It was a less than perfect first lap which I would complete in 7th position. Lap 2 I held station and pushed away with the leading pack, at Stirling’s bend I had a moment where my gear lever touched down and knocked the bike out of gear which had my heart in my mouth. I lost a bit of time after this which I would need to make up to Luke Quigley and Jess Trayler as Adam Jenkinson had crashed out at Clearways bend. On lap 3 I had kept in touch on a 1:28:804 and had moved up to 5th position due to Hudson Kennaugh retiring out of the race. For the rest of the race until the last lap was a case of staying in touch and maintaining my pace. I was struggling with front grip but with a last push I closed on to the back of Luke Quigley in the last two laps. During the last lap I was right on him and knew my best part of the circuit was the 3rd sector. I made a move at Hawthorne’s knowing I had the pace on Quigley and held the 4th position for the rest of the lap until I got to clearways where just a few seconds up the road Josh Elliot had lost the front going in to Clearways. 3rd place was mine and when I crossed the line I was ecstatic! I was effectively gifted the podium after Josh Elliot fell, but I still feel I deserved the podium as our pace had been strong all weekend, and we were there at the end. I fought hard in the race, battling with grip issues amongst others and we were still there at the end, which gives me confidence for the coming rounds and generally makes me feel like I am back to the rider I know I can be. I can’t thank Downshift Motorsport enough for their faith and support; it’s appreciated beyond words as well as the support of our collected financial and product sponsors. Further thanks go to my personal sponsors Walters Medical and all of my family and friends. I’m a lucky lad! And I can’t wait to get to work for another podium at Thruxton.
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