A DOUBLE podium return at Oulton Park will provide the perfect impetus for Denby Dale racer Tom Tunstall in 2010.
The final rounds of the 2009 British Superbike Championships at Oulton Park saw the Hardinge Doodson Motorsport rider produce another impressive performance with a pair of podium finishes – taking his season’s tally to ten.
For the second time this season the series headed to the Cheshire track and, off the back of a great penultimate round at Silverstone, Tunstall and his team were aiming to keep their strong progress going and end the season well.
With the final event staging three races – the first being only two hours after qualifying – made it a tight schedule to get Tunstall’s Honda CBR1000RR prepared for race one.
The first contest proved eventful with a number of crashes in the opening laps bringing out the red flag stopping the race, while marshals’ tended to riders and also fishing one bike from the lake next to the track!
On the restart Tunstall lost a couple of places, but recovered well passing Dan Linfoot, Howie Mainwaring and Cup rival Martin Jessopp to take fourth place by lap seven which he held to the flag.
“I got held up early on, so I needed to get away quickly in the following races to battle for the podium,” said Tunstall.
Rain showers meant the track conditions for race two were tricky with only a narrow dry line around the circuit and, with riders choosing slick tyres, it wasn’t for the faint-hearted.
A good start saw Tunstall up with Championship runner-up Peter Hickman and the pair both got past Linfoot on lap two, before catching Yamaha backed Graeme Gowland four laps later.
Hickman crashed out at Hizzy’s Chicane a lap later and the following lap Tunstall passed Gowland at the same corner.
As the track continued to dry the pace quickened with the pair vying for position. Gowland managed to take it at the flag, but the assured ride had earned Tunstall a rostrum place with third in the Cup.
The season finale was delayed briefly as light rain showers passed over and the tarmac was dry as the lights went out at the start of the 16-lapper. However a crash on the second corner brought another stoppage.
Despite a resilient ride lapping ever faster than during qualifying Tunstall couldn’t close down the leaders crossing the line third.
“I’m really pleased we’re continuing the momentum and with all the top four cup guys on the same row of the grid it should make for some interesting racing,” said Tunstall.