20 April 2008
Weekend Of Two Halves For Tunstall
The fortunes of Hardinge Ice Valley Superbike racer Tom Tunstall were as changeable as the weather as the opening races of this year’s British championship took place at Thruxton in Hampshire.
Having struggled to find a setting in the dry opening practice Tunstall took to the wet qualifying well, with an average speed of over 102mph claimed 3rd position in the superbike cup grid – which was backed up with fastest of the cup runners in the damp warm-up session.
By the time the 32-rider field took to the grid for the first race of 2008 the sun had broken through to dry out the 2.35mile track. However Tunstall struggled to match his pace of 2007 and had slipped back to 7th by end of the 20 lap race.
Desperate to make amends the team reverted back to the 2007 spec suspension and swapped the front forks and rear shock for race two.
Immediately Tunstall was able to lap between 1.5 and 2 seconds a lap faster and just missed out a rostrum position by 1.5 seconds in 4th place.
“It's been a strange weekend... in the wet the bike felt fine but we didn’t get enough time to sort it out in the dry – Race one was a nightmare I had very little confidence in the bike. But the team did a great job to change all the suspension for both bikes in time. The start of race two was like a test but once I got a feel for the bike I was able to ride with confidence and race rather than just survive.
The weather didn’t help us this weekend but I’m very pleased with how the team is working and we have a much better direction for Oulton... hopefully we’ll get some more consistent weather too!”
The next round of this year’s championship takes place over the May bank holiday weekend (3rd- 5th).