ROUND eight of the National Superstock 1,000cc Championship brought about a change of fortune for Honeybourne-based Team Jones Dorling Racing and their rider Ashley Beech, who was able to record a points-scoring finish thanks to plenty of hard work.
Beech and the team needed a change of luck in Sunday’s race at Thruxton after a number of technical gremlins had ruined their chances of top ten finishes, including a podium in the last few rounds.
The venue for this round was the 2.4-mile circuit in Hampshire which is widely regarded as the fastest on the calendar.
Being such a fast circuit, many riders use race bike set-up very similar to that used at the Isle of Man TT, where top speed is crucial for the long straights, although the bumpy sections of the track can cause the bike to feel unstable when travelling at 180mph.
Soft suspension on the front should cope with the bumps and hard suspension on the rear will help get the power down for maximum speed on the straights, although this strategy can also cause problems with tyre wear.
Each team is allowed three sets of new tyres during a race weekend, so choosing when to use them is another decision the rider and team have to make as the abrasive surface at Thruxton will cause the tyres to deteriorate after just a few laps.
In the free practice session Beech felt the geometry on his Kawasaki ZX-10R was wrong, so amendments to the rear to lower the bike and shift his body weight further back were made to increase traction.
In the first of two qualifying sessions the bike felt better, although he was losing time through the twisty sections and then gaining the advantage back on the straights.
Again very small changes were made and his lap times improved and Beech finished final qualifying in 11th place. A rider ahead of Beech was subsequently disqualified for a technical infringement, which promoted Beech up to tenth and meant he would now start from row three on the grid.
He started well but as feared he lost time on the opening lap through the twisty sections and he dropped to 15th as he crossed the line for the first time. For the remaining laps Beech fought his way up to 12th place and managed to hang on to this position until he crossed the finish line.
After a great deal of hard work by both rider and the whole team, a points-scoring finish was a great result and just reward.
“That was hard work under the circumstances, I had to use slipstreaming in order to get back up to the riders ahead of me and leave it very late on the brakes approaching corners to hold on to my position,” said Beech, who will return to action at the next round at Cadwell Park (August 21-23).
Follow Beech and the team’s progress at www.jonesdorlingracing.com, on Twitter @JDR_Racing or on Facebook by searching JonesDorlingRacing.