EVESHAM rider Mike Tustin expressed his disappointment after returning empty-handed from round four of the Ducati TriOptions Cup at Snetterton 300 circuit.
The Norfolk event followed a nine-week break in the championship, which had given TeamMTR chance to raise more funds after the quick succession of the opening three rounds, while also being able to welcome aboard two new sponsors – Ace Taxis and DJH Installations.
Neither TeamMTR or Tustin had raced at the circuit before and this was evident in free practice. After some set-up changes ahead of qualifying, Tustin went five seconds a lap quicker from Friday to Saturday morning, proving the team’s overnight changes had made a great improvement to the bike’s handling.
However, his pace was still way off where he and the team had predicted to be and they recorded their worst qualifying of the season in 26th.
Tustin picked up six places, whilst also knocking a further second off the morning’s lap time, in race one, but 20th place was his first non-scoring finish of the campaign.
Tustin began race two 23rd on the grid and a good start elevated him to 17th after lap four. A good race followed with other riders running a similar pace and this ensured there were plenty of overtakes made.
Unfortunately, the race was cut short due to an engine blow-up from another machine, meaning the race result was declared after seven of the scheduled ten laps, leaving Mike disappointed with another 20th place.
Tustin reflected: “It was a hugely difficult weekend for the team and results were not what anyone had predicted.
“Once again, the team lacked lots of initial pace from the start and, compared to the more established teams, were just unable to reach their level in the short amount of track time available at the race meetings.
“Unfortunately, the next couple of meetings will be very similar, as these are circuits I have never been to before. I had already been expecting this part of the season to be a struggle, but it still makes the results hard to take, as I truly believe I have the ability to be much further up the field.
“On a more positive note, I was more than seven seconds faster in Sunday’s race than I was in Friday’s free practice, therefore showing the team had made significant steps forward throughout the weekend.”
Tustin is 14th in the standings with 22 points ahead of round five at Brands Hatch GP between July 21-23 which will be shown live on British Eurosport on the Sunday.
Elsewhere, Tustin is third in the EMRA Superstock 1,000cc Championship with 36 points.