26 May 2008
Donington Podium Double For Tunstall
Hardinge Ice Valley Superbike racer Tom Tunstall stepped back onto the Superbike Cup rostrum at Donington Park over the weekend not once but twice, as a brace of third place finishes saw the Yorkshireman promoted to third in the championship standings.
The conditions for qualifying were far from ideal with rain and strong winds. Unfazed, Tunstall rode well to post the fourth quickest time of the Superbike Cup contenders and in front of established superbike riders such as Rizla Suzuki mounted Atsushi Wantanabi and Simon Andrews.
“The track was weird as some areas had really good grip and other areas had virtually none, which was catching people out. But if it’s wet for the races tomorrow we’ll be up there.”
Although the strong winds remained, the rain held off for race day and the first of the two outings saw Tunstall struggle with grip for the second half of the 20 lap race. The combination of a consistent pace and the demise of Chris Burn’s MV Augusta and Luke Quigley’s Suzuki left Tunstall in third place.
After stepping off the podium Tunstall commented, “I chose to go with a soft tyre but I think the track temp was too cold as from half way the tyre went off and I had very little rear grip. I just tried to be smooth and get to the flag safely. We’ve all been working hard and making progress so it’s great to get back onto the rostrum as a reward."
A revised tyre choice in race two meant Tunstall's pace around the 2.5mile circuit was consistently faster. Holding fourth the Yorkshireman closed down on third place rider Luke Quigley. With five laps to go the Hardinge Ice Valley backed rider made his move taking third place and upped his pace further.
It came down to a typical Donington last lap fight as the riders swopped positions on multiple occasions around the tight Melbourne Loop section with Tom coming out on top and taking his second rostrum of the day behind Gary Mason and John Laverty.
“I knew he was close enough to have a go but I also knew I was strong on the brakes. Once I got into Goddards [the final corner] I knew I’d got it. I really had to fight for that one which makes the champagne taste that bit sweeter.”
The next round of the British Superbike Championships takes place at Snetterton in Norfolk on the 15th of June.