After the slow (but pretty major) spill at Oulton 4 weeks ago, which resulting in a smashed-up bike and a fractured wrist for me, it was all hands on deck to get ready for round 2. The test day on Friday was initially all about ironing out the problems out from the crash and we hit a few stumbling blocks but got them sorted by the middle of the day. That then left us with an afternoon to learn a track I’ve never ridden before and dial in the best settings, and boy did we do that! It all came together well and I was starting to feel really good on the bike.
The Qualifying session was decent; I managed to qualify in 18th place for both races on Saturday with a 1:44, which I was happy with given the comparatively little time I’d had to learn a new track.
I got off to a good start but as we got to the first corner it was manic and I backed off a little, which lost me a few places. I got my head down and pushed on, getting more and more used to the track as I went, picking up my pace a little at a time, and eventually resulting in a 12th place finish.
I was out the gates like a shot again and this time I pushed more into the first corner and making up a few places. I then started dropping back a little and lost a few places due to the fact that I was still learning just how quickly I could go round the track but even so, I was mega happy with a 7th.
The strategy for this race was all about managing my rear tyre and trying to stay on the bike, while still getting a good finish. I could feel that there was almost no rear grip left so it was a race of fighting with the bike and backing off in places I knew I could go faster which was a shame because I really felt I was capable of more pace. Despite the issues with the rear which meant I was sliding and couldn’t get on the power quickly enough or as hard as I wanted to, I still managed an 8th which again I’m more than happy with.
After the tyre going off in race 3, we dipped into our pockets and bought a new rear. This was the best thing we could have done – immediately, on the warm up lap, I could feel I had my grip back and with the way I was feeling so happy on the bike, I knew I could give this race my all and maybe do really well. I pushed hard and raced like never before. At one point, I was sat in 5th for a while with a group of three of us battling for 3rd and I knew I could pass the other two. I waited for the right time and when it came, I got past them both to get into 3rd. After that it was just a case of keeping them at bay. One rider (Harper #11) stayed with me and tried to make a move on the last lap but I managed to close the door and hold off for 3rd with a last lap PB of 1:39.7.
Overall, considering the crash at Oulton Park, my busted wrist and having never seen Donnington before, I’m more than happy with what we did this weekend. I just hope we can keep this up now so I’m looking forward to Round 3 but, again, it’s a track I’ve never seen before so I need to get to grips with it early on in the weekend to be in a position to fight for a good result.
This was a massive weekend for me in more ways than one; I really felt like everything clicked together and I found speed I never knew I had! That said, I’d really need to carry this momentum on now and keep pushing so I can contend with the front runners every round.
I would like to dedicate my 3rd place trophy to Simon at SITRAmoto because, without all his work on this bike, I wouldn’t be where I am now. As well as the huge amount of work he did over winter for me, right after the crash he made space for me in his packed diary and worked flat-out to get the bike up to scratch ready for round 2. After getting on the podium in my first ever Thundersport GB event, I think it’s safe to say he did a mighty fine job. We have an awesome team and I’m looking forward to the rest of this year at Thundersport GB.
I’d like to also thank all the Club 50 members as, without you lot, I wouldn’t have half the stuff I have now to make life easier in the paddock and make sure the bike has everything it needs to help me go well. Together, we are all one big team and who knows what we can do now after this weekend.
I’m now sitting 10th in the championship and am really happy with this considering I missed the first round, so let’s keep climbing that leaderboard together.
Also thanks to all my racing pals who make the weekend just as good off the track as it is on (too many to name), and the ever-growing support from friends, family and my partner Danielle.
Kenyon Racing #75