The journey to Cadwell Park for the bank holiday race weekend is long and slow with windy lanes from the team’s base on the South Coast and after supper the team settled onto the grass paddock and prepared for the weekends riding.
Free practice on Saturday started cloudy but dry and Thomas spent the session learning the track as this was the first time he had raced at Cadwell Park. The track is considered by all riders as difficult to learn as the layout includes the mountain section which is narrow and twisty followed by the sweeping curves of the other half of the track. Thomas finished 6th which was good for the first session of the weekend.
The weather for Qualifying one later on Saturday turned drizzly and damp. The track was slippery and colder so all riders struggled to find a good pace. Thomas put in an early quick lap then came into the pit lane to make some adjustments, by the time he returned to the track the weather had become very wet and he could not improve on 10th place. The day ended with a huge thunderstorm and torrential rain that soaked the circuit and paddock area.
Next day started with Qualifying two and much improved conditions and all riders were able to test out new lines and improve on Q1 session times. Thomas ended this bright and dry session in 7th place and again built on his confidence and knowledge of the track. Over the first 3 sessions Thomas had been able to improve by over 4 seconds per lap which the team were very pleased with for this weekend.
Race one was also on Sunday and the day continued with good conditions. Thomas had a good start and improved his position through the first few corners. He improved on his lap times from the previous sessions but mid race had lost a few seconds to the riders in front, on the last lap Thomas was catching the group in front and crossed the line just behind them finishing 7thplace.
Bank Holiday Monday started with warm up on the best day of the weekend. Race two was sunny and dry and all riders were keen to do well. Thomas got an excellent start and was second into the first corner overtaking 5 other riders. By mid-race Thomas found himself in 3rd place but was separated from the two riders in front. Thomas held his pace but on the last lap was passed heading down the Park straight, Thomas tried hard through Mansfield and again as they head into the mountain section. Thomas knew he only had one chance left and would have to slipstream to the line; unfortunately he missed out on 3rdplace and a rostrum by 0.117 seconds.
The race weekend was a good result for Thomas especially as it was his first time at the track! The next meeting will be at Oulton Park 9 / 11 September. Thomas’ thoughts after round eight:
“I’m really happy with how the weekend went, especially as it was my first race meeting there. I knew before we got to the track that it would be tough to learn, but I was excited to get out and see what I could do! The first few sessions out I learnt the track quite well and knew I needed to stick with the riders in the race and see whether I could improve on my qualifying position. In the first race I was pushing hard and made a few mistakes on the narrow track but managed to finish and score good points. In the second race I got an amazing start (Which is something I have been practicing hard on) and from row 3 on the grid I was challenging for the lead going into the first corner! Overall the weekend in my opinion went great, and I’m looking forward to getting back out on a track that I know well for the next round!”