Round Seven. Hampshire. Swings and Roundabouts.
Interesting fact number one: our three riders have scored points in every single race they have started so far this season. Team consistency!
Interesting fact number two: Lee holds the superstock 1000 lap record at Thruxton.
Interesting fact number three: Danny has a real chance of making it in to the end of season Superbike Showdown.
Interesting fact number four: the super-high-speed corners and undulations of the Thruxton circuit destroy tyres. Pirelli brought especially durable ‘option’ tyres for the superbike and superstock 1000 classes, just to make sure.
Oh yes, we left Thruxton early last year after two huge superbike crashes.
What could possibly go wrong?
Lee Jackson. Pirelli National Superstock 1000. Kawasaki ZX10-RR.
On one side of the garage Lee was chipping away, as we like to say. You already know he’s the class lap record holder.
FP1 and Lee settled in, P6, 0.3 off the super-fast BMWs of Rutter and Mackenzie. Another strong session later in the day, working on the finer points of set-up and getting his head around the tyre choice. Lap time down to 1.18 dead. By the time we got to qualifying Lee was ready to go and knocked off another 0.6 to set fourth fastest time, just 0.3 slower that Taylor Mackenzie. Rutter was out of the equation as his times were disallowed due to a technical infringement.
Morning warm up and Lee elected to run the option tyre as the regular tyre was showing signs of stress. Our issues weren’t as severe as others’, but we had to make sure we could fight to the end. In the event, Lee went 0.1 under his qualifying time in the seven-lap run. Come the race, option tyre it would be, for everyone.
Just one ‘standard’ length race for Lee this weekend, over 16 laps. What a race it was. The championship leading trio of Billy McConnell, Farmer and Collier hadn’t qualified particularly well. Billy made up for it with a good start. After three laps, Lee, Billy, Mackenzie, Olsen and Josh Elliott had made the break. Lap 12 and Olsen was dropping back before retiring to the pits. Tyres shot, probably. By then, Lee had already started to make his move having been running behind the leaders.
The last five laps were frantic. Elliott held the lead for most of the race but behind him Lee, McConnell and Mackenzie were getting stuck in to each other. Lee was crossing the line in P2 from lap 12 and managing to get alongside and pass Elliott at the complex before losing the lead back on the high-speed stuff at the back of the circuit. He hit the front again on the last lap and was leading in to the chicane – I know! Inevitably, Elliott went in on the inside of Lee and played the race-craft card, slowing a tad through the flip-flop. Lee had to ease off to miss his rear wheel which gave Mackenzie the opportunity to wind-up his BMW to drive for the line 200 yards away. He beat Lee by 35 thousandths of a second.
From first to third in a matter of yards. Lee was on the podium but very upset that he hadn’t ben able to make it on to the top step. He’d ridden a fantastic race and is now really ‘there’ with his big Kawasaki. He did manage to raise a smile when he realised his lap record hadn’t been broken.
Frustratingly, the win enabled Elliott to get two points ahead of Lee in the table. The three leaders all finished behind Lee but they’re still well ahead, so it looks like it’s going to be a fight between Lee and Josh for fourth place overall, but you never know. Just like Danny, he’s a Cadwell Park specialist and the superbike lap record holder to boot. Lee will be testing at Cadwell on Tuesday night too.
Bring it on!