25 May 2009
Tunstall Back On The Podium
Tom Tunstall and the Hardinge Doodson Superbike Team returned to the British Superbike Cup Rostrum at Donington Park over the weekend with a hard fought 2nd place in race one.
After a turbulent opening couple of rounds Tom Tunstall and his Hardinge Doodson Motorsport team were heading to the East Midlands track looking to get their Superbike Cup Championship campaign back on track. Progress throughout the race weekend was evident as he consistently improved throughout the free practice sessions in preparation for Monday's race.
The almost perfect weather conditions continued through into the single qualifying session. For the second time since its conception Tunstall passed through to the second phase, another sign of the team's development.
For the majority of the session the Yorkshireman held a strong 2nd place in the cup and 16th overall, only a tenth of a second off a potential pole position. With only three minutes to go the session was red flagged after Graeme Gowland was thrown from his machine. In the restart Tom was unable to improve and just got bumped to third by 0.1 second.
"We came here to get our season back on track and not rip any trees up in the early sessions – the consistent good weather has helped and I've got a good feeling from the bike which is getting better with every session."
The improvements continued in the morning warm up session as Tunstall equalled his qualifying pace.
In the first of the day's two 20-lap races Tunstall ended the opening lap fourth of the Cup runners and the following lap was up to 3rd. Closing down a two second gap to 2nd placed Martin Jessop, Tunstall sat on the back wheel of the fellow Honda rider, making his move with just over two laps to go. And, although Jessop tried to fight back, it was Tunstall who got to the chequered flag first, taking second place and his first belated rostrum of the year.
Confident of replicating his impressive ride in race two, Tunstall's plans took a knock when he lost ground on the first circulation of the 2.5mile circuit. Having cut his way through to third, Tunstall once again set about tracking down Jessop in second place, however Peter Hickman passed him on lap 15 and before Tom could respond he became embroiled in a battle with Victor Cox. As the two exchanged positions Hickman got away and with him so did Tom's chances of making it three double podiums in a row at Donington.
"In race two I got caught up racing slower riders, which was frustrating as I had the pace to be back on the podium, but I've got to be happy with how the weekend has gone. The progress we've made all weekend has been great and we have proved we have the pace to be consistently on the podium. My feeling and confidence on the bike is still growing and I know we'll build on this weekend at Thruxton."
Tom and the Hardinge Doodson Motorsport Team won't have long to wait with the fourth round taking place this weekend at Thruxton in Hampshire.