BRANDS HATCH GP RACE REPORT
We arrived at Garage 27 Thursday evening at about 9pm ish, unpacked and turned in for the evening in anticipation of a busy day on Friday, as we were to be instructing three rookies.
Friday was practice day and due to noise limitations, we were restricted to the Indy circuit. This means that instruction was based around three corners, body position and getting on the gas early. Fortunately, Nick #97 and Dave #74 were happy on their own for the first few sessions as I had a proper rookie, having only done one track day before this moment. I knew it was going to be a tough day. 70 laps later, three happy rookies albeit one a little off, and we were good for qualifying.
The track walk that evening held by Jeremy Hill was invaluable as ever and the banter was good.
Saturday: Qualifying. Race 5 and 17... Sunny and dry
Qualifying was a laugh as we all remembered to turn left at Surtees, apart from one unlucky soul who missed his braking marker and sailed on through. I managed to get my head down pretty much straight away and I could notice the improved grip that the new Supercorsas were giving.
Gearing was spot on, the bike was running well and ended up qualifying 3rd in class with a 1:48.618 (13th overall).
First Race (Race 5 in the programme). Starting Row 5 P13
Got a brilliant start and headed off up to Druids feeling confident. The whole race was great with lots of close but fair overtakes between me, Kurt #28, Sam #35 and Ben #125. It ended with a cleverly planned slipstream and draft to the line. I finished P13 3rd in class with a best time of 1:47.159, only 0.150 behind #28 but more importantly, 0.276 in front of the same class rider #125.
Race 17 was delayed until Sunday due to an unfortunate incident on track resulting in the tragic death of one of our Bemsee family #34 RIP.
Sunday: Race 17 starting Row 5 P14
Another good start and class race. I love the GP track and it proves great racing. Spent the whole race keeping Sam #35 behind me and managed to pip Kurt #28 too. I was smiling the whole race and found a nice rhythm.
Finished P11 2nd in class 1:46.819
Race 5 Starting Row 4 P12
Yet another good start and I was away with the full-power guys only to be dropped by Gary on the way to Hawthorne's. No one came by me until #28 into Surtees and Sam #35 made a brilliant overtake around the outside of me at Druids holding me to Graham Hill on the last lap. I planned a similar overtake to race 5 over the line but it didn't work out, even though we were rubbing shoulders up the start-finish straight. Definitely racing for 3rd in the championship now.
Finished P11 3rd in class 1:45.522
Race 17 starting Row 5 P14
It was a howler of a start. I did a massive wheelie off the line, had to back off to stop it flipping and take avoiding action of Grant who also fluffed it. Spent the whole race over trying, making mistakes and generally trying too hard. Slow is Fast...Even though it was scrappy I brought it home in what I and the team thought was third in class again but #37 who overtook me and I didn't challenge back was also a sub 64bhp class bike but with no orange sticker!! My error - know your competition. Finished P13 4th in class 1:46.647
I had an absolutely brilliant weekend racing with the Bemsee family. I'd like to say a huge thank you to Wemoto for their continued support and bearing with me whilst I get the hang of this 4-stroke thing. I'm up to speed now and it doesn't go bang all the time like the stroker!!!! The new tyres were ace. Thanks to RockOil for slippery stuff and more importantly to all of the medics and marshals that give up their weekends and often deal with stuff I'd rather not think about. I salute you all.
On a personal note, thanks to Sadie, Crew Chiefing, who does everything bar ride the bike, my Dad who visited for the first time, my cousin over from the U.S. and to all my school chums and race fans that made the BBQ Saturday evening - such an event.
I'm currently 3rd in the championship by a gnats whisker. The race is on. See you at Cadwell Park on the 3rd and 4th August.
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