04 May 2009
Tunstall Just Misses Out On Podium
British Superbike racer Tom Tunstall narrowly missed out on a podium result at Oulton Park over the weekend. Overcoming machine issues throughout the event, the Yorkshireman came away with a brace of fourth places and was only a few tenths of a second away from climbing onto the rostrum.
The Hardinge Doodson team had worked flat out to rebuild the teams Honda CBR1000RR race bike after the issues at the opening round and travelled to Oulton Park in Cheshire looking to kick start their championship challenge.
During the free practice sessions mechanical and electrical issues meant Tom was unable to utilise all the track time to set-up his machine for the undulating and technical 2.69mile circuit.
Throughout qualifying the progress was evident. Lapping at an average speed of over 97mph Tunstall slashed nearly two seconds off his lap time placing him 5th of the Cup runners. “It's been a frustrating meeting so far but I’m happy we’ve turned the corner – we’re playing catch up now but we know we’ve got a good bike and once we get it dialled in I’m confident we’ll be up there.”
Race day brought changeable weather and as the 30-strong rider grid formed for the first of the day’s two races, it was on a damp but mainly dry track.
Tom struggled off the start and, although he worked his way from seventh, rear tyre life issues meant he was unable to progress further and finished the opening race in fourth place. Afterwards commented: “I was the only rider on the grid who was on the wet part of the track and I lost a load of time and places trying to get the bike off line. Unfortunately the suspension still had some wet settings and the balance of the bike didn’t feel good. The rear tyre only lasted half the race and after that it was just a matter of getting it to the flag.”
The rain held off for race two and with a full dry set-up Tunstall got away well, holding 4th at the end of the opening lap. Throughout the 18-lap race the Huddersfield rider diced with Yamaha mounted Peter Hickman and, after closing down a three second gap, was challenging for third.
Posting personal best lap times Tunstall did his upmost to get onto the rostrum. Constantly improving, Tom posted his fastest sectors on the last lap of the race and at the chequered flag only tenths of a second separated Tom from the podium.
“Of course I’m disappointed to miss out on third place, after the amount of work the whole team has put in the last three week they deserve it... With the weekend we’ve had, all things considered I can’t be too unhappy. We’ve gained a lot of experience with the new bike and I know that we’ll bounce back stronger."
"We’ve got some testing planned before the next round and we’ll make sure we're well prepared to fight for the rostrum.”
Round three of the championship takes place at Donington Park over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend [23rd-25th May].