THE British Superbike Championship’s annual trip north of the border to Knockhill in Scotland proved to be eventful for Denby Dale rider Tom Tunstall.
Having fought through the field for points in race one, deteriorating weather conditions led to race two being cancelled.
After struggling to find a bike set-up to suit the short and undulating 1.2-mile track throughout the free practice sessions, the team made a breakthrough with his set-up for qualifying.
Having missed reaching the second phase by only 0.05 seconds Tunstall was still upbeat.
“I was not exactly over the moon with my grid position (22nd) but I was really pleased with the progress and my feeling on the bike,” said Tunstall.
“I dropped my lap time by around a second a lap and when you consider we were only a second from pole, it reflects the steps we’ve made. But more importantly my confidence is back. I’ve now got a bike I can race with.”
With the first two days practice sessions taking place on a dry track, race day saw heavy rain and strong winds delay the morning warm-up session while the standing water was cleared.
The conditions had improved but were challenging for race one. With crashes halting proceedings it took until the third start to get the race underway.
At a reduced distance of 15 laps instead of the original 30, Tunstall struggled in the opening laps dropping to 25th.
But as the track continued to dry the Doodson Motorsport racer started to make inroads on the field ahead.
On laps 10 and 11 Tunstall passed three riders as he stormed his way through the pack and charged his way into the points taking 15th at the flag.
Tunstall said: “At the start I was having massive issues with rear tyre grip but as the track started to dry out the grip came back.
“I didn’t get greedy with my tyres and although they were overheating and sliding a lot it was controllable. If there had been more laps we’d have finished even higher.”
With the poor conditions continuing throughout the day, race two was reduced to 20 laps around the still wet Scottish circuit. A multiple rider pile-up exiting the first corner meant the race was red-flagged while the marshals cleared the track.
The weather deteriorated further and in the interests of safety the organisers made the decision of abandoning the race.
“Obviously it’s a shame we didn’t get two races, not only for riders and teams but all the spectators and fans that had made the journey,” said Tunstall.
“But it’s the third meeting in a row we’ve been in the points and we’ll be looking to build on that at the next round.”
Snetterton in Norfolk stages the seventh of the twelve round series over the weekend of July 16-18, and with the cancelled race two from Knockhill being re-run on the Saturday, it promises to be a busy weekend.