At the last couple of BSB rounds I had been struggling a bit and I thought it was because I was trying too hard to go fast without properly learning the tracks, so after the last round at Cadwell Park I did a lot of training on concentrating on learning the track and doing my track maps and setting markers. Brands Hatch isn’t one of my favourite tracks but because of my training I knew I could do well and as it was the last round I was determined to get a good result to finish the season.
When I went to Assen for the British Talent Cup and I basically went out on track last and spent FP1 and 2 just learning the track on my own setting my markers and then spending time working on my technique. By doing this I didn’t have the distraction of other riders and trying to keep up with the faster ones when I didn’t really know the track, so by the time of the race I knew what I was doing and was able to make up a lot of places. I decided that even though I knew the track I would do this again and just concentrated on setting my markers then pushing them and working on being smooth. At the end of both practice sessions I was in 14th position which I was happy with as I was on old tyres and hadn’t been pushing for lap times and was really happy with how the bike felt.
I had decided not to use my new tyres for qualifying as I wanted to keep them new for the races and we just used old tyres again. I knew this would make getting a good qualifying position difficult but as I was still learning how much to push I just wanted to use qualifying as almost a practice session. This went well and I got faster every lap but there was a couple of areas I was struggling with so I came into the pits, Gary Wilson made some adjustments to the bike and I went out to try and push for a fast lap. Even though by this time my tyres were moving a lot the bike felt like it was on rails and l still managed to qualify in a very good 13th position. I also knew I could go a good bit faster especially on new tyres and I was only 1.5 seconds from 6th positon.
In the first race I got a reasonably good start and I made up a couple of positions and I was then right behind Harvey. I managed to get by him on the second lap but he got back past me going into the final corner. I then managed to get past again going into Druids and I took a really defensive line into Graham Hill but all this overtaking had really slowed us both down and let the group in front break away. We then had a good battle for the rest of the race overtaking each other a few times before the last lap where I manage to stay in front and get a really good 10th position. My lap time also moved me up a position on the grid for the second race and I knew that I would be able to be in the group battling for the top six. It rained really heavily during the night and when we went out for morning warm up it was very wet and we knew it had a good chance of being wet in for the race. It was very wet for the race and on my formation laps my visor totally misted up and I couldn’t see. This isn’t meant to happen with my helmet as it has a coating on the inside and I’m not meant to open it or touch it but I had to get my dad to wipe it before the race which wasn’t good! We think it was because I had all my vents shut. Anyway, it meant I had to start the race with my visor open slightly, I then had to shut it going into the first corner and still couldn’t see very well. I just guessed my way round the first couple of laps and tried to keep out the way but this meant I dropped back to 17th position. The visor then started to clear and because I was near the back I was able to just be smooth and relaxed and although the track was treacherous I started making up positions every lap. Lots of riders were crashing but I felt great, with 3 laps to go I had got into 5th position and could see Ross Turner 3 seconds in front and knew if I kept it smooth I could catch him. I managed to do this on the last lap to finish in an amazing 4th position. I was also delighted that I set the 5th fastest lap of the race.
This result moved me into 11th position overall for the championship which I’m really happy with in my first year racing in the BSB Motostar class as every track was new to me and I found them difficult after a year racing on very different tracks in Spain.
Once again I have to give huge special thanks Gary and Nikita of Wilson Racing as they couldn’t have helped us more this season and also everyone else in team Wilson Racing. Also a massive thanks to all our sponsors especially everyone who helped out after my big crashes at Thruxton as without it I would have been able to finish the season.
I now have a few weeks of serious training before the last round of the British Talent Cup which I can’t wait for as it is at my favourite track Valencia and also running along with the last MotoGP race of the season.
Photos courtesy of David Watson and Kerry Rawson