For the seventh round of the 2019 season, the team headed to Andover where we took on Thruxton, the fastest circuit on the calendar. This is a circuit that does pose us a great challenge due to its flat out nature, however our first aim was to get back up to speed from where we left off last season. The initial free practice session was strong as Kurt got to grips with the circuit and began looking for changes that could be made to give more.
Free practice 2 saw Kurt reach his personal best lap time with a P11 finish following some mid session suspension changes. The biggest difficulty would be the rear grip and managing the tyre life as a result of the abrasive tarmac. Although Matt was not in attendance due to his recovery, Josh was out and keen to show his pace. FP2 saw the youngster claim P4 and shy of the top 10 in the main class.
Following a night of track walks and data analysis, we set out for qualifying with some pretty substantial changes to the bike and a plan to move forward. We split the session into 2 for Kurt with a fresh rear tyre and clear mindset mid way through. In the closing stages of the session, he set a new personal best lap time 0.7 of a second faster than practice. Although this stormed his personal best lap time from the previous season, it wasn’t quite enough to remain at the sharp end of the field due to the level of competition. Josh also set to the track on Saturday morning for his qualifying as he managed to keep with the improvements of the class between sessions and secure a 4th position in class.
Unlike Snetterton, the changes that we decided up on between each session were a step in the correct direction allowing for a weekend of continuous improvements. Kurt had a strong start to the race as the lights went out as he started in the thick of the field. Despite struggling with top end sped, Kurt managed to bring it home within the points just shy of the top 10. Josh on the other hand was looking to have the best race of his season as he battled it out for a podium position, unfortunately on the last chicane of the final lap, he pushed to secure a 2nd place finish and in doing so ran too much kerb on the inside causing an attempt of a high-side. This has a disastrous affect on his race as he crossed the line in P4.
Following the regretful end to race one for Josh, he was evermore determined to spray the champagne. With an awesome beginning to the race, Josh moved up to 2nd position ready for a tough battle. Following a red flag, the race was restarted closing up the gaps and taking his advantage away for the shortened sprint. Josh achieved his goal of standing on the podium as he crossed the line to secure a P3. Kurt on the other had did not have the best of races. He was penalised for failing to see the Long Lap board that requires riders take a longer route on a lap as a time penalty. As the board was held out at the end of pit wall with minimal effort to ensure the rider could see (this is because by this point Kurt was banked over, braking and traveling around the 100mph mark) Kurt did not realise and received a 15 second penalty taking him to the lower end of the points.
The next race is at Cadwell Park next weekend where Josh is hoping to continue his podium success and Kurt aims to brush aside the outcome of Thruxton race 2 and keep pushing on.