BRITISH Superbike racer Tom Tunstall narrowly missed out on a Cup podium at Oulton Park.
Overcoming mechanical issues throughout the event, the Denby Dale ace came away with a brace of fourth places and was only a few tenths of a second away from climbing onto the rostrum.
The Hardinge Doodson team worked flat out to rebuild the teams Honda CBR1000RR race bike after the problems in the opening round and travelled to Cheshire looking to kick start their championship challenge.
During the practice sessions mechanical and electrical issues forced Tunstall to utilise all the track time to set-up his machine for the undulating and technical 2.69-mile circuit.
Throughout qualifying progress was evident and, lapping at an average speed of over 97mph, Tunstall slashed nearly two seconds off his lap time placing him fifth of the Cup competition.
Race day brought changeable weather for the 30-strong rider grid formed for the first of the day’s two races.
Tunstall struggled from the start and although he worked his way from seventh, rear tyre life problems meant he was unable to progress further and finished the opening race in fourth place in the Cup.
“I was the only rider on the gird who was on the wet part of the track and I lost a load of time,” he said.
“Unfortunately the suspension still had some wet settings and the balance of the bike didn’t feel good. The rear tyre only lasted half the race and after that it was a matter of getting to the flag.”
The rain held off for race two and, with a dry set-up, Tunstall got away well holding fourth at the end of the opening lap.
Throughout the 18-lap race he diced with Yamaha mounted Peter Hickman, and after closing down a three-second gap was challenging for third.
Posting personal best lap times, Tunstall did his utmost to get onto the rostrum.
Constantly improving Tom posted his fastest sectors on the last lap of the race, and at the chequered flag only tenths of a second separated him from the podium.
“Of course I’m disappointed to miss out on third place, after the amount of work the whole team has put in the last three weeks they deserve it,” said Tunstall.
“All things considered I can’t be too unhappy. We’ve gained a lot of experience with the new bike and I know that we’ll bounce back stronger.”
Round three of the championship takes place at Donington Park between May 23-25.