A happy team setting up at Brands Hatch, still bathed in the reflected glory of Danny Buchan’s race two performance at Donington Park. Better still, pit boxes are allocated based on championship points scored – so we were in garage 11, up at the posh end!
The weather was still an issue. The promised emergence of Spring warmth and sunshine hadn’t arrived by the Friday. Cold, windy and misty for most of the day. The track was damp first thing too.
As for the campsites and car parks, four-wheel drive and wellies were the order of the day.
Lee Jackson. Pirelli National Superstock 1000. Kawasaki ZX10-RR.
Lee got a load of laps in on the Friday too, around 50 in total. He really hasn’t had that much track time on the ZX10-RR so far, so it was a pity to lose some track time in the first session as he worked on some basic set-up issues with Lee Dickinson. Much happier with the brakes, attention had turned to fine-tuning the gear change quick-shifter and the down-shift auto-blipper, which matches engine and rear wheel speeds for fast and smooth gear changes going in to corners. By the afternoon, Lee was much happier and put in a string of competitive times as he worked on race pace.
Tough qualifying session early on Saturday morning. 30 laps and ending up P14. Not ideal as things were so tight – 30 riders covered by 1.5 seconds. However, Lee is becoming more and more at one with the bike. Race one that afternoon and Lee loses three places in the first lap rush through Paddock Hill Bend and up to Druids Hairpin. P17 and battling away. ‘It was hard work’ he said later, having ended the race in P13. The frustrating thing was that during the second half of the race he was on the same pace as the riders in the P4 – 8 group. His best lap was good enough for P13 on the grid for race two.
First, drama. All ready for morning warm-up, but at the press of the starter button the engine emitted a loud clank…. Dave Parkes and the lads swung in to action, engine turning over but something odd with the gearbox. Quick decision to put in a new engine. 90 minutes later, job done and Lee’s out on to the grid.
The new engine ran faultlessly, and Lee got a good hard race under his belt. He worked his way up on to the back of the second pack of eight riders disputing P4. Shadowing Michael Rutter for the second half of the race, Lee kept it smooth and safe, rather than risk any marginal overtaking moves. Lee crossed the line two seconds behind the fourth-place finisher in P11. Seems like he’s got the ZX10-RR to his liking so roll on Oulton Park. Lee just needs a good qualifying spot to get away at the sharp end and put some big points on the board.