Second place – thanks to sudden heavy rain on the last lap and an odd two-lap count back.
Qualifying was poor. It showered constantly and, with new dry tyres fitted, I never felt confident to push, ending up 14th and on the fourth row of the grid. Nevertheless, I still felt positive for a good result in a dry race.
And dry it was. I got a good start, avoided a three-bike crash in the first corner, and came out about sixth on the first run down Craner Curves. By halfway around the second lap I was into third and set about chasing down the two in front who had opened a gap. Needless to say, Andy Denyer was one of them, along with a non-regular rider. Over the course of three laps I bridged up to them. My bike felt fantastic.
I took the lead on lap six, though Denyer fought back into the Esses. He went wide, but I decided to bide my time a bit and not take a risk. I planned my move for the first corner, Redgate, and made it cleanly on the brakes then charged and opened a bit of a lead through lap seven.
Throughout the race we could see rain approaching and at the start of the last lap it started falling hard. I raised my hand to get the race stopped because it was already dangerously slippery. There were no red flags at turn one though, so I tip-toed through and tried to hold the lead. Denyer came by at the Old Hairpin, but by now it was lashing down and I was sure the red flag was imminent.
Sure enough, the race was stopped as we came to the Foggy Esses. Because the results get counted back to last time over the line, Denyer was fuming and I was delighted. The joy lasted about twenty minutes though. The official results were counted back nearly two laps, to the end of lap six when I was tucked in behind Denyer and lining up a pass, the last time the whole field crossed the line. Not everyone had finished lap seven. It’s unusual, but it’s the rule. I’m gutted.
Second to Denyer costs me ten points and now puts the gap at 36. That’s the biggest it’s been and it makes the championship look very difficult now. All I can do is try to win as many races as possible. I still haven’t been beaten in a straight fight, and I had the fastest lap and class lap record again. Kindly, Ian Newton from Aprilia and the nine guys from S&B Automotive Academy who made the trip up were all very supportive and understanding. Thanks to all the friends who sent texts too.
Straight after the presentation I jumped in the hire van and caned it home in time to catch the Tour de France highlights and enjoy a sympathetic hug from my gorgeous wife, with a delicious curry and loads of ice cream. Tomorrow, work starts towards Brands Hatch.
The 2008 season was my novice year, and I entered Thundersport’s top class, GP1, on a GSX-R1000 K4. Racing on a shoestring, with no back-up at all and riding the oldest bike on the grid, I scored strong results against fierce competition. These performances earned recognition and praise from commentators, organisers, and rivals alike, culminating in the club’s Rookie Of The Year award.