Photo credit - Jon Jessop Photography
It was great to be back at Brands Hatch and I was looking forward to getting out there for round 2! FP1 was a steady session and we made I few slight changes to the bike and I got going back into Brands. FP2 was a good session but I wasn't completely happy with the bike in certain areas so me and Mark had some ideas for tomorrows qualifying and race, that's what practice is for after all.
I went into qualifying confident and ready, after 15minutes I came in for my new tyre and set my best time 47.6 which wasn't bad but not good enough! I qualified 7th EVO. I was annoyed and I knew that we had to make some changes to myself and the bike in order to break into that top 4. For the race we gambled with some big changes and I got a great start and was up to 5th but I had a little battle in the first two laps with Day and Field and just lost the gap to the top 4 riders. I finished 5th and had a bit of a lonely race but I was a lot happier with myself and the Road and Race Kawasaki for tomorrows feature race!
Warm up we had one or two tweak to try so I was pushing on in warm up but unfortunately had a little off at Graham hill, I knew what happened just a cold tyre on the left and it let go, luckily me and the bike were fine and only a small bit of damage. It didn't dent my confidence and I was buzzing for the race! Feature race lets go! I got a great start and was right up behind Collier, Neill and Perrin I stayed with Perrin but Neill and Collier managed to gap and about half way through Neill went down at Druids and I past Perrin for 3rd place, then I saw that a rider was closing the gap to me and I thought it was either Perrin or Luke Jones I managed to manage the well but on the last 2 laps it came down and Jones Past me on the last lap in Paddock Hill, I tried to get him back into druids but I just wasn't close enough! So I finished 4th EVO. This time i was as happy as you can be with 4th but I knew we had made a big step with the new bike in that race and I now know that I just have to just find that little bit more and we can break into that top 3!
Massive thanks to Road and Racing's Mark Hanna and Alan Cook, Pinkey Parker, Mum, Dad, Ellie and Grandad for all their support and also to my sponsors Purbrook Garage, Pro bolt, Kushitani, Oxford Products, Richard at Maxton, Pipe werx, HJC and R&G for all their help so far season!
Roll on Oulton Park on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of May
I came in Donington confident after a good couple of tests at Jerez and Donington. I wanted to have a strong weekend and start the season well!
FP1 was cold and a little damp so it was a steady start for everyone and we didn't change much with the bike I just got up to speed and back into Donington. FP2 I got up to speed and then notice I was struggling with braking, the bike was difficult to stop and I was struggling to make the apex, I finished the session 9th and we got to work on sorting this braking issue, we found a small problem with the callipers and pads so we changed them and I was ready for qualifying on Sunday!
Sunday - Qualifying and Sprint race 10 laps
Qualifying was at 11.40 sunday morning, I went out confident after we had sorting the brakes out, I got out and was pushing on but the lap time wasn't coming I came in and we put the new tyre in and I went faster but not enough, I still had an issue with the front end, so I qualified 11th not where I wanted to be.
We made a massive change to the suspension for the race putting more weight on the rear and softening the front to help me get the bike into the corners. It worked and I got a great start and was up to 5th, we then had a red flag and a restart of 6 laps, it was going to be a dash to the flag! I got another great start and was battling for 4th with Bjorn Estment and Levi Day. During this race I notice out of the Esses, Melbourne loop, Copice and Mcleans I had a misfire, luckily I was able to continue and fight, I finished 5th EVO which was positive after the qualifying. Now we had to sort this misfire.
Monday - Feature race 18 laps
We changed a lot of things on the bike we thought could cause the misfire and I was ready for the feature race, I started 5th EVO on the grid after a good lap time in the sprint race. I got another strong start and was right up behind Danny Webb and Marshall Neill. I dropped off a bit by lap 3 and then the misfire had started again, I battled with Levi Day, Josh Day, Freddy Pett, Bjorn Estment, Guy Martin and Paul Curran for 3rd EVO, I managed to get to the front of that group again and tried to push on to create a gap, but every time I had this misfire and I would get passed again. It was a frustrating race as I knew I could have been on the podium.
All in all a very frustrating weekend but I know it was no-ones fault and I'm glad it only round 1 and we have the rest of the year to prove we can be up there in this championship. Big thanks to Road and Race's Mark Hanna and Glyn 'Pinkey' Parker for all there hard work this weekend and also my Dad for his hard work, Ellie, Mum and Grandad and everyone who came to support me. Also thanks to Richard at Maxton, Oxford Products, Kushitani, Pro Bolt and The Pipe Werx.