Race Report Mallory Park
Race Report Mallory Park
The first Thundersport GB race meeting of the season started for me on Friday afternoon at Mallory Park. I only managed one wet test day during pre-season testing and haven’t raced at Mallory for nine years. I felt the need to take part in a test afternoon prior to the beginning of the meeting on Saturday morning. New “Kemtile” liveried awning up and I finally look like I know what I’m doing (appearances can be deceptive)!
The day started well and we got a few jobs done on the bike during the morning. The first session went well and I began to find my way around the circuit again. It did highlight that I had an issue with excessive rear tyre wear. The circuit has been completely re-surfaced over the winter and it would appear to be harsh on tyres. Some suspension changes were made and I went back out for session two and by mid distance the tyre was already finished. Some more changes to suspension and tyre pressures during the last session of the day took place but to no real improvement. I hoped that with some brighter and warmer weather would bring a turn round during qualifying and racing on Saturday.
Qualifying went well, once again the tyre was heavily worn after mid distance but I managed to qualify in 3rd position. The first race started well and I hung onto the leading duo for the first 5 laps. Again tyre issues forced me to lose ground. At nine laps in the race was red flagged due to an incident on circuit. I took the opportunity to have a look at the tyre, quite shocked to see it all but completely torn on the right hand shoulder. I knew I had no chance of running at the front for the remaining 9 laps and had to run at a damage limitation pace. A few laps in and I was holding onto 3rd place but rear grip had deteriorated so badly that I was sliding heavily through Gerards. I actually considered the idea of fitting some speedway handlebars for the second race! Eventually slowing to cross the line in 5th place, the aggregate result was called from the two starts. I had landed myself on the last step of the overall podium but winner of my class (Superstock 1000). A good result considering my issues.
Knowing that I was unable to cure my tyre woes and having spent most of my next mortgage payment on tyres. I spoke to the tyre specialist at the circuit. He informed me that several other riders were having issues with Dunlops tearing, the conditions and new surface just didn’t appear to like them! A shame as the Dunlops work so well for me usually, I’ve never had a problem with them up to this point. I took the decision to race on Bridgestones for the two races on Sunday. Unfortunately, as the morning warm up was held in wet conditions, I started the race completely untested on the Bridgestone drys. They worked well, considering I’d dialled in my base suspension setting, fitted them to the wheels and raced. I again finished third on the road but winner of the Superstock 1000 class. I found the Bridgestones to have a more aggressive turn-in to the corner and they held together well. In fact I started the second 14 lap race of the day on the same set of part worn tyres from the first race. With some subtle changes to the suspension the bike felt better and I held tight to leaders for the first few laps of the race. I found myself losing time out of the bus stop chicane and onto the devils elbow. Other than that the bike was working well. I pushed hard and managed to set a time just 0.3 of a second slower than my fastest lap on the Dunlops. Towards the end of the race I began making good time on the second place man, almost on his rear tyre by the hairpin for the last time I crossed the line just a second behind. Third on the road and Winner of the Superstock class again.
Happy with my results from the weekend I left the circuit leading the championship and with some useful set-up information but slightly “cash light” after paying my tyre bill!
My next race runs alongside the World Superbike Championship round at Donington Park over the weekend of the 26th/27th March. It should be a good event and running alongside the world series is a real privilege.
Posted: March 14, 2011