DENBY DALE racer Tom Tunstall bounced back from a mechanical problem to push for points in the latest British Superbike round at Thruxton.
Producing a strong performance, Tunstall fought his way through the field only to be denied a points scoring finish by just a few tenths of a second off Superbike legend Chris Walker.
The second round of 12 in the 2010 British Superbike Championship campaign was staged at the ultra-fast Hampshire circuit and Tunstall and his Doodson Motorsport team progressed well in free practice, and the culmination was an impressive qualifying lap, with an average speed of 111mph, placing him 17th on the grid of 34 riders.
Tunstall said: “I was really pleased with the progress the team made. We changed the bike set-up which gave me a lot more rear grip.
“I’m lapping nearly two seconds faster which says it all. The times are close and I’m confident we’re capable of turning it into results in the race.”
The conditions were near perfect for Sunday’s races, but as Tunstall took to the grid a slight oil leak was spotted by the team, and after attempting to solve the issue the Yorkshireman was forced to start from pit lane.
However, after completing only one lap, oil smoke was visible from Tunstall’s machine forcing him to retire from the race.
Things took a turn for the worse as his machine then caught fire, but the swift work of the marshals meant no serious damage was done.
The Doodson Motorsport team worked swiftly to re-prepare the bike for the second race, but with new rules basing the race two grid positions on race one lap times Tunstall was dealt another blow being shuffled to the rear of the grid as he’d only completed one lap.
Undeterred Tunstall made swift progress and consistent throughout the second race.
Tunstall closed down a three second gap to a five-rider battle for the final points placing.
On lap 17 the group hurtled into the Club Chicane four abreast with Tunstall managing to find his way past two of the riders taking the outside line.
However, the close battle ended in tears for two of the pack as Craig Fitzpatrick and Supermoto champion Christian Iddon crashed out, with Tunstall having to ride over the chicane to avoid being taken out.
BMW mounted Steve Brogan managed to pull away from the fracas leaving Tunstall and Chris Walker to fight it out for the last point.
Tunstall found a way past once into the Campbell Complex and also into the 120mph plus Church Corner only for Walker to find his way past on both occasion.
On the run into the chicane for the final time Walker misjudged his entry and took evasive action over the chicane, which meant Tunstall couldn’t mount a final attack and followed the multiple race winner over the line missing out on 15th and the point by only a few tenths of a second.
“The oil leak and the change in grid positions meant I had a big hill to climb and I’m gutted to miss out on the points, the team and I definitely deserved it,” said Tunstall. “To come from that far back was hard work.
“To be honest I was focusing so hard I didn’t realise it was the last lap! Chris was struggling and I should have had it but I’m happy with the bike, how I was riding and the team have done a great job.”
The next round is the first of two visits to Oulton Park in Cheshire taking place over the May Day bank holiday weekend.