2021 Round 1 - British Superstock 1000 - Oulton Park

2021 Round 1 - British Superstock 1000 - Oulton Park

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all well in these strange times. We still have some lockdown restrictions here in the UK, which have made 'normal' life rather difficult, but we have been fortunate that our race season has finally got under way. We should have started in April, however it was delayed until June, where we will now race every fortnight until October. It's been a long off season but it was so nice to be back at a track! There will be 12 rounds throughout the UK, and for 2021 I am riding with Powerslide Motorcycles/AJN Steelstock, onboard a Suzuki GSXR-1000 in the British Superstock 1000 class. This year's field looks set to be one of the most deeply filled class of great riders for a very long time. This class is always filled with great riders but this year it has ex-Superbike and showdown contenders, over 5 previous British Champions, TT winners and many podium finishers across Superbike/Superstock and Supersport classes.

We had the first round of the Championship over the weekend, at Oulton Park in Chesire. There were 54 riders entered for the weekend, with only 38 spaces on the grid, so the field was split into two groups for practice and qualifying, so that the track wasn't to packed for these sessions. The fastest 30 would then make the main race, while the riders from 30th to 54th would have a last chance qualifying race, with the top 8 finishers in this race would decide the final 8 spots at the rear of the grid.

We had two practice sessions on the Friday. The first session was dry with the second session being patchy damp conditions. It was good to get a run out in patchy conditions as I'm sure we will race in that at some point throughout the year. I felt good in the dry also, and I finished the day in 7th position. The Suzuki was feeling really good. Oulton Park is such an undulating circuit, and it's really a handful around there, but with every lap I was feeling more and more comfortable.

Saturday, we had one qualifying session, which the conditions were perfect for. I had gone through my riding in my head and knew we could improve more today. The pace was fast in both qualifying sessions, and I took over half a second off my time from the Friday. I ended qualifying 8th on the grid, which put me in the middle of the 3rd row for Sundays 14 lap race. I was really pleased with this position and was feeling really comfortable on the bike.

We had no warm up on Sunday, as Oulton Park is near a church, so they aren't allowed to much noise before midday. So it was straight into the race! I hadn't lined up on a grid for a race since the final round last year, in October, so I was buzzing to get going! I got a reasonable start and stayed clear of any carnage on the opening lap. The first 4-5 laps I got a bit beat up and dropped down to 11th, and lost a little rhythm. I was able to regroup and pick up a place or two back in the next few laps. By this stage I had lost the group in front of us but managed to string some good laps together to keep my position for the rest of the way through the race, to cross the finish line in 7th position. 

I am really stoked with a top 10 finish at the first round of the year! To be fighting with and beating some Ex British Champions i'm really proud of. The team is new to the championship this year, and we are the only Suzuki running Maxton Suspension. So we have no previous data to go from and we are learning it all as we go along. The team has done a great job and I can't thank all my mechanics and crew enough for all their hard work throughout the weekend. They stay calm and we are working well together. There are many things I can work on going into Knockhill in Scotland in two weeks time, some areas in the race craft to work on and so on. But i'm taking nothing but positives away from this weekend.

I couldn't be doing what I'm doing without the support of my great friends and amazing sponsor, AJN Steelstock. Thank you to them for their amazing support.

And to our team sponsors and partners:

AJN Steelstock - Powerslide Motorcycles

Bathgate - Boast Plumbing Supplies - Sublime Designs - Maxton Suspension - Plus Racing Gear - Motogear UK - Nolan Helmets - Gaerne - 

Smith and Johnson - Seropian CBD - Moto46 - Health Foundation PT - Fuchs Silkolene - Sean Davies Motorcycles - Paul and Tanya Read - 

Sharon and Paul Walker - Road Race Performance Shropshire - R&G - Xpress Coffee - Hawk Racing - PCR - Brandfixx