It’s been an extremely busy start to the year preparing for the 2019 season.
We spent the beginning of this year building the R6 into Superstock Spec, and personally I put great effort into improving my fitness.
We have had 3 pre-season tests, Circuit Cartagena Spain, Oulton Park International, and Silverstone National.
As you can imagine after a long winter, I was very excited to get going on my new Yamaha as we made our way to Cartagena Spain.
We had 3 days in Spain, with 160+ laps under me. I loved the Yamaha and felt so at home with the bike from the get-go; things felt right!
We had Mark Arnott from MotoShox there which was a huge help with setup. I’ve never made so many adjustments to a bike in my life! But we came to a good setting that I liked and learnt a lot about the bike. Plus, I was pleased with my pace.
After a few weeks reflecting on Spain we had a few small things we wanted to adjust, leading us to Oulton Park and Silverstone – two new circuits for me to learn and the first two rounds of the BSB.
After a ferry crossing and a few hours’ drive, we got to Oulton. I’d watched a few onboard laps and had a bit of an idea of how the circuit went.
We managed 6 sessions (around 60+ laps) and figured out lots about the place. What a circuit! Really enjoyed it; had to be one of the best circuits I’ve ever ridden at.
We jumped in the van that evening and headed down to Silverstone for the Official BSB test the next day. I couldn’t find any onboard laps of the National Circuit, so I was really heading out knowing just what I saw from last year’s BSB round on TV.
Five sessions complete and a better idea of gearing put us in a far better situation going into the first round, especially knowing what corner is coming up next! Good, steady run comfortable with my pace, the top 22 covered by 2.5 seconds was tight. I think I ended up 14th, 0.5 covering the next 7 ahead of me. I’m confident I will go faster there at the first round having been there now. This was definitely a really valuable, positive week of learning.
With around 1200 miles covered in England/Wales we finally arrived home and only had a few hours to prep the bike and run down to Bishopscourt Racing Circuit for the first round of the Irish Championship. You can do as much testing as you want but race miles are totally different!
I knew it would be tough riding in the Supersport class on my stock R6, at least 15HP down, but it would make for good racing.
Qualifying went well, ended up on the front row. Plan was to get a good start and make it hard for the Supersport boys to pass me!
I made a great start, away in 2nd and tried my hardest. I held them off for near half the race until two went past either side of me down the start straight! I held in there and actually had faster lap times than the two ahead but just couldn’t get close enough to pass. Finished P4 just 2 tenths behind.
Race 2 had the same plan. I managed to get the holeshot away first, put in a great lap but hard to outweigh the Horse Power. Held onto 2nd for quite a while but the Supersports just towed me in. Had a great dice for 3rd place on the last lap, managing a podium on my stocker!
A great weekend at Bishopscourt! Next up: the British Superbike Championship!