Mixed Results Under Stormy Skies At Oulton
Mixed Results Under Stormy Skies At Oulton
The wet British weather reared it’s head in Cheshire this weekend as the NMT No Limits Kawasaki squad left Oulton Park with mixed results in round two of the Pirelli National Superstock 600 and 1000 Championships. At times across the weekend torrential downpours threatened to bring racing to a halt, but despite the rain the Team Green backed squad did their utmost to push themselves and their bikes to the limit.
Jordan Weaving left round two with possibly the biggest smile of all, the 18 year old took his second successive podium at Oulton in as many visits finishing in a terrific third place in the Superstock 600 race. In the 1000cc class, James East ended the day in a very respectable 11th place as he fought diminishing grip levels from his wet tyres on a quickly drying track to pick up valuable championship points, while Nick Anderson couldn’t bring home his ZX-10R in the race as he unfortunately suffered a DNF.
On Saturday, Weaving used the opening practice session of the weekend to ease his way around the track and assess conditions as a cold wind blew across the wet 2.69mile circuit. However, by the afternoon the ZX-6R was lapping almost four seconds quicker than earlier in the day. On Sunday, the number 34 was consistently amongst the front runners on the timing screens and with his final lap of the qualifying session, Weaving posted his fastest time of the weekend. A time which rewarded him with a second place start for the race, just 0.04 seconds behind pole position.
Race day brought more rain, so much that it delayed the start, meaning the Superstock 600 race would be reduced to a nine-lap blast. Undeterred, Weaving’s front row starting position gave him the perfect platform to get away with the leaders and he did just that, consistently pushing eventual race winner Davey Todd and Lewis Rollo all the way to the finish line picking up a more than creditable third place result.
Naturally, the young South African rider was pleased with his points haul which lifts him to fifth place in the Championship.
“I got away really well, it was really wet out there so it took a few laps to get used to the grip levels.” Weaving said.
“But I was comfortable and was really confident I could get at least a podium position. We set out to enjoy ourselves this weekend and although the weather wasn’t great we leave with a third place finish that I’m really pleased with. Having both a strong qualifying and good result leaves us with only positives to take into Brands Hatch for round three.”
In the STK1000 class Nick Anderson and James East faced changeable conditions as free practice got underway, with East pushing the top six whilst Anderson grew in confidence as the session progressed. In the afternoon the sun came out briefly for Q1, just long enough for the riders to get in some quicker laps on a much drier track. Both riders significantly improved their times as they were split by just over a second in a competitive session with East taking provisional 10th place on the grid, with Anderson a little further behind his teammate. Ultimately the times from that session would sort the grid line up for the race, as the wet conditions on Sunday were far from conducive to setting anything like record pace.
As the lights went out both East and Anderson started well, with East pushing right to the head of the race within a couple of laps from his 10th place starting position. The number six machine was to battle with a host of riders pressing for the front over successive laps for over half race distance before grip levels dropped off leaving East to eventually finish in a creditable 11th spot. Anderson fought bravely throughout most of the race but ultimately wasn’t able to bring his bike home as a problem meant he had to pull over before he saw the chequered flag.
East was in somewhat pragmatic mood after the race but is confident that lessons learned around the Cheshire circuit will reap better rewards at Brands Hatch next time out.
“It was probably the most productive weekend we could have made out of the conditions we had with it raining, then being dry and raining again.” He said.
“We hadn’t really had much chance to have enough dry track time to set up the bike and then the rain came again so we had a half wet, half dry track which made it difficult. I tried to go for it straight away and led the race for a while but it just wasn’t to be.
“I have to thank the team for all their hard work this weekend. We’ve managed to pick up some points and we’ve ticked a few more boxes in terms of moving forward the development of the bike, so we’re looking to be able to push even further at the front when we get to Brands.”