What a weekend! Where to start? Three weeks ago actually, when Danny made the long trek from Essex to Fife for a day of testing on his practice bike at the re-surfaced Knockhill circuit. 100 laps covered and the sort of lap times to give a confidence boost.
Lee and Matt were also in high spirits after their podium rides at Snetterton.
The heatwave had extended to Scotland, so for once the BSB paddock could look forward to sunshine and beautiful views at surely the most picturesque circuit we visit.
Apparently, there was some football going on too, but we had more important things to focus on……
Lee Jackson. Pirelli National Superstock 1000. Kawasaki ZX10-RR.
Lee’s podium at Snetterton must have inspired Danny and Lee was looking for some more sharp-end action. He hadn’t tested at Knockhill but he’d had a good run on his practice bike at a Cadwell Park track day, just to keep him sharp.
It appeared seven was Lee’s luck number. P7 in both free practice sessions, P7 in qualifying and P7 on the grid for race two! The good thing was his lap times were much closer to the fastest with the gap usually around half a second or so. Lee chipped away through the two free practice sessions and qualifying getting his times down from 49.5 to 49 dead. However, Knockhill is a short lap so there was still a bit of time to make up, with help in that direction coming between the races.
Race one and Lee was nudged back on the first lap and came around P8. Six laps in and Lee had made it up to P6 and was in the leading group that gapped the field. Lee had been lapping at his qualifying pace and while he came in on the back of the group he was only one second off the third-place finisher. Just needed that last 0.2.
The answer was a front suspension upgrade from K-Tech and a new front brake master cylinder. The first to give more feel and the second more confidence. Something seemed to work as Lee clocked a 43.3 in warm up – cooler conditions and significantly only 0.3 from the fastest time. So it proved as Lee found nearly half a second a lap in the second race – that’s a lot when you consider the superstock 1000 race was 24 laps distance.
Into race two and unfortunately, Lee took a big handicap on lap one, the first corner in fact. Starting from his usual P7, Lee got a good launch but got carried wide in turn one and had to take to the escape road. He cleared sector one in P13…..
Now that upset mild mannered Lee Jackson! Off he went. P11 at the end of lap one, P8 at the end of lap 4, P6 at the end of lap 6. Lee was flying past his rivals two at a time – his ZX10-RR pulling like a train up the start finish straight. McConnell crashed at half distance and Reid followed him three laps later, elevating Lee to P4. Lee was biding his time for a final push into the top three when the red flag came out for Reid’s crash, ending the race at two-thirds distance. Lee was still annoyed when he came in and fully fired-up by his efforts in what had been a brilliant recovery ride.
Lee clearly had front-running pace, having benefitted from that last bit of braking power and ‘feel’ from the suspension upgrade. Frustrating that he missed out on another podium finish, but very encouraging for the rest of the season.
Lee is now seventh in the points standings, only 14 behind Andy Reid who’s in fourth place.