Round 7 – Thruxton Race Report
The next round of the British National 600 Superstock Championship took place at an extremely sunny Thruxton this weekend. Friday morning’s practice session started off as a success. The sun was beaming on us and we were all eager to get out there to see what we can do. The practice brought a 5th and 6th place which was completed on old scrub tyres and post crossing the chequered flag there was no tread at all on the right hand side. It is one of the most abrasive circuits on the calendar and not to mention the fastest which was a great thrill when the bikes began sliding on the power.
During the first qualifying session of the weekend we set out on old scrub tyres in order to keep within our annual budget. Unfortunately, the heavily abrasive circuit along with the 42 degree ground temperature left us with a huge challenge to overcome when having to compete against other teams going for the new rubber option. Kurt managed to pull a 12th place position out of the bag putting him in a strong position ready to take on Q2, however, Matt struggled to piece together each sector in the same lap leaving him further down the grid in 21st.
Saturday brought our second qualifying session of the event and new rear tyres it was, with a special thank you to Steve from Chase Accident Repairs. We knew that there was a small window of opportunity to secure a fast enough lap time that would be competitive so early in the session whilst the tyre was new. Kurt waited to go out on track on his own where he spent a lap to settle down and the second launched him straight to the top of the screen in P2. Matt was short to follow suit, putting down a time which hit an early P12. We both continued to improve on these times but each additional lap of tearing up the tread meant we were fighting a losing battle. Towards the closing stages of the session, both lads were pushed down the grid bringing the session to a close with Kurt’s final qualifying position of 8th, only 0.46 seconds off pole position. Matt finished 0.88 seconds behind Kurt, putting him in 20th place on the grid as this is one of the most competitive championships in the series.
A 12:35 race on Sunday got the team on edge to get stuck in from the lights out and It was a perfect day for it at the Thruxton circuit. As the lights went out, Matt battled his way through the pack of riders to make up as many positions as possible whilst the field was close. Kurt fought to hold his 3rd row place as everyone entered the first series of turns to begin the 14 lap race. As Matt turned into turn 2, Campbell, he was involved in carnage resulting in him being taken down by a fellow competitor Sam Lambert. Although this was an unfortunate end to Matt’s race, Sam showed great sportsmanship making sure Matt was unhurt and walking him off the circuit. From this point all eyes were on Kurt as he was involved in a 12-man battle for the podium. Every lap the riders were dicing for the highest positions they could grasp taking advantage of the huge straights and slipstreaming opportunities. On lap 9, in the closing stages of the race, Kurt out braked and overtook the current championship leader, doing so he lost the front end due to entering the final chicane far too fast, bringing his race to an abrupt end from 7th place. Although it was a tough end to the weekend, Kurt still sits in a strong 9th place position in the championship and Matt in 18th.
Round 5 – Knockhill Race Report
Last weekend was BSB’s 5th round of the season, the round which took place at Knockhill Race Circuit in Scotland. Matt and Kurt started the weekend on a high with free practice even despite the wet conditions. Both lads were on the pace and Kurt hit 1st position part way through the session, although this was taken from him towards the end as a dry line appeared due to staying out on wet tyres. Matt began putting down his fastest times later on with his last lap being the fastest of the session putting him 0.108s ahead of the leader at the time making pole! Kurt’s best time was not far behind putting him in 5th position. This was a fantastic start to the weekend leaving both Kurt and Matt feeling confident and ready to take on Q1.
Friday afternoon bought more showers resulting in similar track conditions for Q1 to those of free practice, however Kurt and Matt had already proven that they were fully capable of achieving great times and this was clear from the result. We decided to go out on wet tyres due to the weather and track conditions which was the best choice to make for the beginning of the session. Each lap continually improved throughout the session and by working together on track towing each other along they reached 1st and 2nd on the timing board. They held these positions for the majority of the session, however just 5 minutes before the end several other riders came out of the pits on dry tyres as the track had dried up dramatically. Such a short amount of time meant that there wasn’t enough time for a tyre change and it became impossible to set any faster laps as we lost all grip on the circuit. In this short time Kurt was pushed back to 12th and Matt to 16th. This result was simply down to poor timing and whilst we were disappointed that we had not maintained our positions, this also solidified our strength in the rain.
Qualifying 2 was a much better day but with a very unpredictable forecast. We dropped lucky as our qualifying fell on a dry period and the sun was shining meaning that we had another shot at improving our lap times. The choice for both bikes were dry tyres. Approximately half way through Q2 Kurt set the fastest lap by far which even by the end of the session was 0.119s ahead of 2nd place. Matt also demonstrated a fantastic performance and was able to secure a 4th position! Everybody was over the moon with the fact that we got out first pole position, however, we were later informed that Kurt was to start from 4th on the grid after a yellow flag infringement earlier in the session. We attempted to protest against it because he wasn’t racing on the lap and was unaware of the error, this was dismissed by BSB officials with no option to view CCTV footage of the offence. This news was not entirely negative as Matt was pushed to the front row of the grid.
As race day came around we were once again faced with difficult weather conditions. The circuit was dry but the rain had begun to fall delaying the start. Nevertheless, before too long the race was declared as dry and we proceeded with our warm up laps on dry tyres. Then, the race began. Both Kurt and Matt had fantastic starts and maintained their grid positions. At the hairpin Kurt managed to pass Matt and broke away with the first pack. Matt successfully fended off others looking to obtain his position and stayed at the front of the second group. On the 4th lap his race went downhill fast, he was caught up in somebody else’s crash and as they hit the side of his bike it broke his throttle meaning that he was unable to continue and was forced to retire. Kurt continued to battle with the leading group with the high possibility to obtain the win. It was a close fight but the track was getting slippery due to the constant fall of rain. On lap 9 Kurt unfortunately touched the rear tyre on the painted white line on full power as he drifted the 600cc machine out of the chicane, the race was over as Kurt was slammed to the ground in a huge crash that wrote off the bike as it rolled.