HUDDERSFIELD superbike racer Tom Tunstall is looking ahead to 2013 aiming to get his balancing act right.
The 32-year-old from Denby Dale found himself managing the Doodson Motorsport Team as well as getting out on the track and riding in the British Superbikes Championship in 2012 and he reckons he had more than a few lessons on a steep learning curve.
To add to his increased workload the team’s initial move to Ducati 1199RS Panigale race bikes went awry and by mid-season Tunstall was left to salvage something from the 2012 season by returning to the Honda Fireblades.
“The Ducati project unfortunately turned out not to be the best of partnerships,” said Tunstall.
“They ran out of finance and that left the team in a very difficult position, and we had to dig out the old Hondas – literally we took them back off ebay – and put them back on the track.
“But for me meetings were the busiest times having taken on the management role and, when you really want to be just concentrating on getting the bike on the track doing your best, I had everything else surrounding the team to consider.”
And the 2012 season was never going to be the easiest for Tunstall as he returned to the saddle after a nine month lay-off following his horrible crash at Snetterton in July 2011, which saw him sustain serious spinal and pelvic damage.
“It was difficult after months out and to return to testing on the Ducatis, which meant I was trying to regain my confidence on a bike that needed a lot of work.
“It affected me because the Ducati could be erratic and it was one of those situations that really erodes confidence, but I crashed at Silverstone this season and it really was a case of ‘getting that out of the way’ and it showed me that I could come off and not do any more damage than I would tripping in the street.”
Along with the return to the Hondas came the addition of Robbin Harms to the team and the Danish rider proved a real shot in the arm taking the Tom Tunstall Team into the points five times over the last four meetings of the BSB championship.
“It really was unknown territory for both of us,” said Tunstall.
“For me it was running a team where I had to consider two riders’ needs, and for Robbin superbikes and BSB were a whole new challenge.
“It was a very tough start at Cadwell Park, but after that we started to get some very good results.
“And a lot of that was down to the loyalty and hard work of the people in the team and the continued backing of Doodson, who I am pleased to say have committed to be involved again next season.
“I will be looking at how best to make the rider and manager structure work within the team for next season – obviously evaluating what happened last season in many respects – but the more we try the more we learn.”
In the meantime Tunstall has been turning back the clock and taking part in trials events with Huddersfield Falcons.
“They are a great club and it is where I started riding competitively back when I was 16 or 17,” he explained.
“While it seems miles away from the speed of superbikes, trials really does test all your bike riding skills.
“While that control is totally different in some ways, the trials skills give you a great feel for the bike and are definitely transferable to racing superbikes.”