ASHLEY Beech secured his best ever result in the National 1,000cc Superstock Championship in the final meeting of the season at Brands Hatch on Sunday.
The round 12 finale saw Beech and the Honeybourne-based Jones Dorling Racing team hoping to finish the season on a high after being plagued with bad luck throughout the year.
This they did in style as 26-year-old Beech crossed the finishing line in fourth place to cap a highly impressive race.
Beech has had mixed fortunes at the 2.3-mile circuit with a pole position at the final round in 2013 and then a heavy crash at the opening race of 2014.
Conditions for practice were bright but with a damp track and Beech used the same bike settings as the last meeting at Brands Hatch in July.
Midway through the session he returned to the pits to change to dry tyres when track conditions started to improve and he finished 11th quickest.
After a few minor suspension changes and on a dry track Beech pushed hard during first qualifying and completed the session in seventh place. The following morning the weather conditions worsened and, with light rain falling, the track was mostly damp but with a narrow dry line.
Tricky conditions, particulary in the sections of the track that were shaded by the trees, made spotting the dry parts extremely difficult so, being too dry to use wet tyres and too wet to use dry tyres, the team decided to fit a wet tyre on the front and a dry tyre on the rear.
It is easier for a rider to control a sliding rear tyre than a front. The majority of riders opted for the same tactic but none were able to improve their lap times from the previous day so Beech started the race from seventh on the grid.
Beech made a great start and, entering the first corner, he had moved up two places but was pushed off line and dropped back to seventh as all 40 competitors dropped down Paddock Hill and up to the tricky right hand corner at Druids, where many incidents occur especially on the first lap.
Beech managed to get through and was battling with the leading group until on lap eight of the 14-lap race he had moved up to fourth position, which he hung on to until he crossed the line, narrowly missing out on a podium finish.
Team owner Chris Jones said: “Despite a great deal of bad luck this year Ashley has beaten his lap times at every circuit by more than a second and definitely saved his best until last!
“We are pleased to announced Ashley will be racing for us again in 2015 and with this result we know we can compete against the best and can now challenge for the title.”
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