Race Report: British Superstock 600 rider Bradley Jones
Silverstone, Northamptonshire for round 11 of the British Superstock 600 Championship.A very fast flowing and famous circuit which is lots of fun to ride.
9:00AM Friday morning and I set off for my first free practice session of the weekend. The track temperature was low so I didn’t know how much grip was there so for the first few laps I pottered round to get a feel for it. Lap by lap I built up my pace, after 5 laps I started to pick up the pace. However, as I increased my pace I discovered a few minor issues with the handling of the bike so for the rest of the session I focused on pin pointing where exactly the issues where and what it was doing. As Silverstone is a 3.6 mile circuit I could only get 11 laps in 25 minutes. On lap 6 I posted my fastest time of the session with 2:17:186. Last year my best time of the whole weekend was a 2:15:2 so I wasn’t too far from my personal best. From lap 6 to lap 11 I was doing consistent 2:17’s and I was confident with some changes to the bike I could lap at a much quicker pace. As the flagged dropped I finished in 14th place so it wasn’t a bad start to the weekend. After a post practice debrief we came to the conclusion to alter the front end to help turn the bike and allow the suspension to soak up the bumps and undulations.
Qualifying 1 – With the alterations made and the track conditions being perfect I was all set and aiming for a top 10. Pit lane opens and we all charged off down to Maggots and Becketts. After two laps the bike felt 100 times better and I could feel a lot more through the front end. Lap 2 and I had already beaten my personal best lap and I was feeling really confident. Lap 4 I went 1 second quicker than my personal best with a 2:14:150 which put me comfortably inside the top 10 with 14 minutes of the session remaining. I entered the pits and got the tyre pressures checked and then went again to try and improve my time. After a 4 minute stop I had 3 laps to put in a fast one. I left it late until my last lap and went quicker by 4 thousandths of a second to put me in 8th. I was happy with this result as the bike felt good and I still felt there was some time in me and my riding so I was feeling confident for Qualifying 2.
Qualifying 2 – For this session we made only one small change as I was very happy with the bike. As the session began I didn’t even finish my out lap and the red flag came out. Back to pit lane and we sat for 10 minutes waiting for the session to restart. Pit lane did re-open but with only 17 minutes remaining. This session we had planned to put a new rear tyre in halfway through so I went out and done two laps then came in for my new rear tyre. 6 minutes left as left the pits so I had two laps to go much quicker. My first flying lap and sectors 1 and 2 felt really quick. Up a head I could see a slower rider in which I was catching quickly, as I caught him up I came upon him in a chicane which messed my lap up and I did a 2:14:3. I had one more lap so I had to give it everything I had. I felt good through sectors 1, 2 and 3 but I was losing lots of time in sector 4. However, as I crossed the line I done my fastest lap of the weekend of a 2:13:892 which was only good enough to put me in 12th. I was disappointed with this result as I was aiming for a top 10. As always I was looking forward to the race and aimed for a top 10 like every other round.
Race – Starting from 12th I was aiming for a solid top 10. I knew with a good start a good race was possible. As the lights went off I made a lightening start and made some moves in to turn 1. After the first lap I was in the top 10 and breaking away with the front guys, I got passed by a few riders but immediately I got them back as I knew I had to go with the front group. 3 laps flew by before I even knew and I looked at my pit board on lap 3 and seen the riders behind me where a good few seconds back so I had to push on to get past the riders in front of me and make a good race. I battled with the riders in front and enjoyed the first half the race. Within the first few laps I was straight in to the 2:12’s and was feeling very comfortable. As the race progressed the rear tyre started going off and I was really struggling for grip. I lost touch with front group and I was sitting in a lonely 8th for majority of the race. 3 laps from the end and 2 riders fell off moving me up 6th. I finished the race in a lonely 6th and I
was happy with the result. In contrast, I wasn’t happy with my last half the race as I lost touch with the front guys but I was happy to take 6th, be 0.6 of second off the lap record and to have moved up to 6th in the championship with one race to go.
Overall it was a good weekend; I really enjoyed the race and also learnt a lot. I would just like to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors and I hope I can end the year on a high at Brands Hatch on the 16th-17th of October.12th October 2015