HOLMFIRTH racer James Lodge turned a crisis into a dramatic success in the latest British Superbike Championship round at Oulton Park.
The two-time British 125cc champion had considered not competing at the Cheshire circuit as he was still nursing a wrist injury from a tumble in the previous round at Knockhill, but his decision to brave it out paid handsome dividends.
Not only did the 23-year-old get round, but he produced his best performance yet in the Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship as he claimed a place on the podium coming home in second place.
“It was a great and unexpected finish to the weekend at Oulton, especially as my wrist is still injured from my Knockhill crash,” said Lodge.
“In free practice I was a lowly 19th fastest, and I was really struggling to ride due to my wrist.
“I was even considering giving up because I could only complete four laps before the pain got unbearable.
“However, in qualifying I managed to get a row three start, starting from ninth on the grid.
“I still had doubts about the race because the pain only allowed me to do short stints in qualifying, so I was not sure how it would hold up in the race but I knew I could get in the points if it was okay.”
As it was only the Kawasaki of Lee Jackson finished ahead of Lodge’s Moto-Breakers team Yamaha as the Holmfirth rider pushed himself into eighth in the championship standings as he collected 20 points.
“In the race I was about 10th off the start and couldn’t really believe how well it was going to begin with, I was making my way through the pack and gaining lots of positions when I thought I’d be going backwards,” said Lodge.
“With four laps to go I was up in third place and, again, I couldn’t really believe that I could be on for a podium.
“On the last lap my teammate Jake Dixon passed me into the first corner, but I went round the outside into the next corner, and got great drive to pass my other teammate James Rose putting me in second, and I managed to hold it to the line.”
Next up is Brands Hatch on July 20-22 and, with his wrist improving, Lodge can’t wait.
“I managed to get my best result in Superstock 600 with an injury that was so bad I was considering not riding,” added Lodge.
“So I’m now really looking forward to the next round at Brands.”
And James’ older brother Jonathan enjoyed a productive run in the Motorpoint Supersport Championship, picking up points from two fourth place finishes in the Cup competition to put him fifth in the season’s standings.
“It was a fairly good weekend at Oulton even though we didn’t make such a great job of qualifying ending up in 23rd,” said the ANR-TSS Racing Triumph rider.
“But we made some tweaks for the first race which helped and I got a decent start and got up to 20th by the end of the first lap.
“From there I had a really good race to finish 15th overall for my first points finish in the Supersport Championship and just missed out on my first Cup podium.
“Race two was similar with fourth in the Cup again and 18th overall with me knocking another half a second off lap times.
“I’m hoping for even better at Brands as I really like the track and we can get the bike working even better.”
Also in the racing in the Supersport section Vancraft Triumph team rider Josh Caygill made steady progress finishing in 20th and 23rd.
The Netherton rider said: “It was a bit of a frustrating weekend as we missed a lot of time in practice on Friday as the rain was torrential.
“The guys worked really hard and we made some changes after the first race which definitely seemed to help me for the second race.
“We made some changes to the suspension which gave me a better feeling of the front end and helped me push a little bit harder.
“I am looking forward to racing at Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks’ time and it would be nice to get some Championship points there.”
Ashenhurst rider Dijon Compton was back in action in the Ducati 848 Challenge series.
Riding for the Buymobiles.net team, Compton managed two top ten finishes coming home eighth in race one and ninth in the second race.
There was also a top ten place for teenager Joe Irving, from Holmfirth whose ninth place in the British Motostar Championship and Cup race ensured he remains in the top ten of both the championship and Motostar Cup standings.