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23 July 2006

Battling Tunstall Comes Good In Tough Brno Race

Tom Tunstall battled through a tough weekend at his first visit to the spectacular Brno circuit in the Czech Republic to secure a hard fought 18th position in the World Supersport race. Despite not securing any world championship points this time out, the team remained satisfied with their performance and the pace they had shown onboard the Hardinge - Ice Valley Motorsport Honda CBR600RR.

Tom arrived in Brno with no previous knowledge of the fast and undulating circuit, but he and the Hardinge - Ice Valley Motorsport team worked tirelessly to achieve the optimum set-up for the Honda CBR 600RR throughout the two days of practice and qualifying before the race. Unfortunately they were hampered by both technical problems on the Honda CBR600RR and an untimely rain shower in the final qualifying session which left Tom way down the grid in an uncharacteristic 35th place.

"It's always tough coming to a new track but we certainly made some good progress. Between the Friday morning and the afternoon session I slashed 2.5 seconds off my lap time and then went out on Saturday morning and took another second off. I was feeling confident for qualifying and after about four laps I came in to fit a new tyre but when I went out on track the bike had developed an engine problem so I had to come in and use my number two bike, which was set-up a bit differently. By the time we got it working it had started to rain so I had no chance to get myself higher up the grid for the race," explained Tom.

The 18 lap World Supersport race took place in scorching 34 degree temperatures in front of a strong 41,000 crowd who got to witness a full day of seriously exciting racing. Tom fired his Hardinge - Ice Valley Motorsport Honda CBR600RR off the start line well and dived up the inside going into the fast turn one. This proved a wise move as a number of his Supersport rivals got tangled up going through the corner and were forced out of the race. Tom quickly forgot about the incident and began closing down the group of riders in front of him posting some impressive lap times in the process. After battling with former World Supersport champion and Superbike rider Stephane Chambon, he was soon entangled in a hard battle with Russian rider Vladimir Ivanov. Tom eventually won through to claim a well deserved 18th position, finishing less than five seconds behind the final point scoring finisher.

"We were helped a little bit in terms of position after the first corner crash, which I was lucky to avoid. It was my plan to go up the inside at the first corner and although I managed to miss the crash it left me with a big gap to bridge to the group of riders in front. I was battling with Stephane Chambon but then I started dicing with Vladimir Ivanov and although we were having a good fight, we were holding each other up and we started to lose ground. In the end we started to real in the group in front but just ran out of laps to get any higher up the field," said Tom.

"Our aim is to be in the points every weekend and we haven't quite been able to manage that this weekend. On the positive side weâve made some good progress with the bike, which should put us in good stead for our home race at Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks time. Brands Hatch is a track I really like and it will be nice to turn up at a track at least knowing which way it goes," he continued.

The next race for Tom and the Hardinge - Ice Valley Motorsport team takes place at Brands Hatch on 4th to 6th August 2006. Brands Hatch is the team's home event and with in excess of 100,000 spectators expected throughout the weekend Tom will be aiming to make a real impression and fight for championship points once again.