DENBY DALE’S Tom Tunstall admitted the first round of the ViSK British Superbike Championship could not have gone any worse after crashing a lap into his first race at Brands Hatch.
Tunstall, who has set his sights on winning the privateers competition, had shown glimpses of his potential with some encouraging runs before the big race for the Hardinge Doodson Motorsport Honda team.
But all that good work came unstuck when engine problems hampered his preparation over the weekend before the 32-year-old lost control seconds into the first race.
That crash ruled him out of the second race and Tunstall was left to rue his bad luck.
“It’s been really tough for us,” he said. “We started so well on Friday, and got down some really good times but then everything went a bit disastrous from then on. I only managed to get two practice sessions in out of the six before qualifying.
“We had trouble with our engine in qualifying and someone hit into the back of the bike.
“So we were going into qualifying with a bent bike and a broken engine.
“Even with all this and riding a bike I had not really got used to, I got my best qualification on 17th. There’s a lot there that bodes well for the future.
“But in the race, I went down on my backside and the bike carried into the wall before the race had really begun. It was very disappointing.”
Superbike debutant Sylvain Guintoli set the pace in Kent with first and second-place finishes while Gary Mason led with the way for the privateers by coming sixth and ninth. But already Tunstall is planning his comeback in three weeks time at Oulton Park.
And Tunstall, who finished fourth in the privateers last year, refused to be downhearted by his nightmare showing in Kent.
He said: “All the difficulties have hardened our resolve for this season, which starts at Oulton Park as far as we are concerned.
“We are looking stronger than we ever have done and that’s what I am more than encouraged about.
“We have got to get the bike right, but I can’t wait for Oulton.”
British Eurosport 2 has live coverage from every round of the 2009 British Superbike Championship.
See the action on Sky channel 411 or Virgin Media channel 525.
Next race Oulton Park on Monday, May 4, and for updates head to uk.eurosport.yahoo.com