Knockhill - Round 4, 2016
Knockhill - Round 4, 2016
Round 4 of the British Supersport Championship was held over the weekend at Knockhill, Scotland. This is one of the shortest tracks on the calendar, with a lap being completed under a minute. I've had some good rides in the past at Knockhill, putting it on pole in my first season of racing in England, in Superstock 600, and a podium there in 2015 in Supersport Evo. It's a very technical circuit with a blind chicane and an awkwardly tight hairpin that goes from 6th gear back to 2nd.
The weather at Knockhill didn't give us much of a break from what it's been like at the other rounds so far this season. For Fridays two practice sessions the rain came down, but then dried up in the middle of our sessions. I was reasonably happy with how the bike felt. It was handling well, and we over layed the data from 2015 and could see some nice improvements to be made for Saturday. We were struggling with power from the bike, and scratching our heads slightly as to what the issues could be.
Saturdays qualifying session went a step in the right direction. The bike was a little faster in the speed traps, and the handling had improved from Friday. I had more confidence in pushing the front and I was feeling confident riding the track. The rain came down hard Saturday afternoon, and the sessions were delayed by sometime. Our sprint race went ahead in the late afternoon on a wet track. As a rider, if your confident in the machine underneath you, that is one of the main aims of the game however the bike felt completely unknown in the wet. It's pretty disheartening riding a race where you know your not performing to your capability, but that just taught me that there is work to do and gave me somewhat of an aggressive motivation to want to do better.
Our Sunday race was scheduled for 3.35pm with the weather changing from perfect sunshine in the morning to a storm in the afternoon. This meant that the track conditions were much worse than Saturdays Sprint race, with rain falling consistently throughout. We knew we needed to try a much different set up for the race to see if I could gain some more confidence. While it was still a struggle, I went faster than Saturdays race, on a much wetter track, so for me that is a huge positive to take away. I feel that the set up we ran on Sunday is where we need to start from next time it's wet, and as a team we need to work hard to get the feeling back that I once had trying different set-up's to work out the best option to be competitive in a wet or dry race scenario.
My goal is to be a competitive rider, not a rider making up the numbers. I am always taking positives away from each weekend, and working to improve on them at the next round. Moving forward is always what I aim to do.
We have Snetterton in two weeks time, with a new engine going in before this race. We are hoping that this can make the bike a little more competitive from where it has been so far this season, along with the budget constraints that we have. It would also be nice for some consistent nice weather, for a change this season! Thank you to my team at CPE Motosport and to all my sponsors for the support.