31 May 2009
Another Podium for Tunstall
Hardinge Doodson Motorsport racer Tom Tunstall made it two podiums in two meetings having climbed onto the rostrum again on Sunday after netting an excellent second place in the British Superbike Cup championship.
Only days after an impressive performance at Donington Park, Tom Tunstall and the British Superbike paddock headed south to the ultra fast circuit of Thruxton in Hampshire.
The “airfield circuit” is renowned for its wide, bumpy track and is easily the fastest track on the BSB calendar. The lap speeds tell the story eloquently. In qualifying Tunstall averaged over 110mph for the lap, which includes two chicanes, placing him 2nd of the cup contenders for Sunday’s races.
“It takes a bit of time to get your head up to speed here - I’m doing just under 200mph on the run to the last chicane which is only 45mph and getting your judgement right is crucial.”
“I’m pretty pleased with qualifying and I’m really enjoying the track, the bike slides around a lot here which is fine and we’re looking to try a few things to improve the stability in warm up which should help.”
The weather conditions throughout the weekend were perfect and race day was no exception with 27 degrees ambient temperature and unbroken sunshine baking the 2.35mile track.
Race one saw Honda mounted Tunstall get away well and complete lap one in third. In the opening laps Tunstall was embroiled in a dice with Martin Jessop, jockeying for 2nd. On lap eight Tunstall made it stick and immediately pulled clear. Four seconds ahead was a group containing Jason O’Halloran, Graeme Gowland, and former Japanese Superbike Champion Atsushi Wantanabe. At the flag Tunstall had caught the group but it was too late to mount a challenge. But the impressive ride earned him 2nd place in the cup, 15th overall and only 2 seconds from Karl Harris in 11th.
Tunstall launched off the line well in the second of the day’s 20-lappers, but opting for the outside line in turn one he was pushed wide losing time and valuable places. The Yorkshireman set about cutting his way back through and on lap four held fourth with more than three seconds separating him from the riders ahead. Valiantly Tunstall chipped away at the gap, reducing it a few tenths a lap.
Tunstall narrowly avoided Wantanabe's riderless machine on lap 13, and started the last lap having caught the four rider group. Managing to pick off O’Halloran, he ran out of time and laps, crossing the line in fourth, only 0.5 from second in the cup and Gowland in 13th overall.
“I definitely had the pace to make it two 2nd places today but lost too much time getting boxed out in turn one. I’m really happy with the progress the whole team is making and my confidence on the bike is still growing. Race one proved that with we have the pace to run with some of the established superbike teams and riders If we can keep this progress going it certainly bodes well for the rest of the season.”
After a hectic couple of weeks the teams have a three week break before the Championship heads to another ex-airfield circuit, with Snetterton in Norfolk next up on the 12-round calendar, taking place over the June 19th – 21st weekend.