Second Trip to Oulton
The team started the trip to Oulton Park hoping we would have an easier time than our last trip! With good weather and a dry free practice day on Friday the first day went well and the bike and Thomas performed as expected. Thomas worked hard to build a good setup for qualifying and the first session went well but even though going 3 seconds faster than he had ever been around the track the team felt there was more to achieve in Q2. The second qualifying session resulted in positions 4th to 8thbeing within 0.4 seconds and with Thomas in 8th for the race.
Sunday started with another glorious day and a late start due to local track regulations. The team spent the morning talking to the general public and relaxing before racing started at midday. The Motostar race started at 3.25pm and Thomas got an excellent start moving through to second place. Thomas got a brilliant start and worked his way up to 3rd position on the first lap. After having a few problems with the bike Thomas dropped back a few places but wasn’t giving up. The race came down to the last lap with 5 bikes dicing in a pack and Thomas was in front, after being pushed wide from an overtake Thomas dropped back some places, but with a last corner overtake he ended up finishing 6th.
Thomas rode a great race, despite some bike problems but the team were pleased with the result and with one week to the next round, left the track feeling positive for the meeting at Donington Park.
The weekend started with a wet free practice, and Thomas headed out onto the Donington Park circuit, confident that he could get some good results having ridden at the track with Ron Haslam earlier in the year. After completing a lap Thomas headed into Pit Lane with a few problems which were difficult to diagnose. Thomas re-joined the track but had to pull over at the Esses, he was able to get the bike back to pit lane with 15 minutes to go but nothing could be done to fix the problems before the session ended.
During the break before Q1 the team worked flat out to address the problems, but after changing multiple parts nothing was working. Thomas prepared himself for Q1 and way ready to go out, but unfortunately the bike still wasn’t running correctly. That night with help from other teams, the bike was checked again and further changes made the bike still wasn’t perfect, but they hoped it might clear on track. Thomas headed out in Q2 but the problems where still there, he knew that he had to complete a certain amount of laps to qualify, so he nursed the bike around and qualified for the race.
The team worked further on fixing the problems for race 1, Thomas lined up to the grid and the bike felt alright on the sighting laps. He started the race from last on the grid and by the first lap had already caught the front riders in his class. Problems where still occurring with the bike, but the safety car was brought out and Thomas knew he would close back up. On the restart another rider crashed and Thomas got caught up having to avoid the rider. He tried his hardest to keep the bike running and work his way through riders. Thomas finished the race in 9th but improved his grid position by 4 rows. That night the bike was worked on yet again by the team to see if this cause could be identified.
During warm up on the opening lap the bike was running nearly perfect and Thomas pulled into pit lane to adjust some minor settings. The bike was running a lot better now and Thomas and the team where feeling better for race 2. The race started and Thomas got a brilliant start moving up 3 more rows heading into the first corner. At the end of lap one Thomas had an issue with his brakes and the performance of them decreased every lap but Thomas still managed to finish 7th.
Unfortunately the team and Thomas didn’t have enough time to perfect the setup of the bike for Donington and so achieving two race results, regardless of position, was the greatest reward for all the effort shown by everyone who helped.
The next meeting will be at Assen 30th Sept – 2nd Oct 2016 and another new track for Thomas! Thomas’ thoughts after round nine and ten:
“I’m really looking forward to racing at the next circuit in the Netherlands , it will be my first ever race abroad and a chance to get back out on a GP circuit!”