21 June 2009
Mixed Fortunes for Tunstall at Snetterton
The fifth round of the British Superbike Championship held at Snetterton over the weekend saw Hardinge Doodson backed Superbike racer Tom Tunstall experience mixed fortunes as he made up for an engine failure in race one with a third placed rostrum finish in race two.
Keen to continue the impressive progress made over the previous couple of rounds Tom Tunstall and his Hardinge Doodson Motorsport team headed to the Norfolk circuit in a determined mood.
With times always being tight around the 3.14km circuit, the team worked at optimising the set-up of their Honda CBR1000RR throughout the practice and qualifying sessions, posting a lap averaging just over 105mph Tunstall claimed 4th place of the Superbike Cup contenders, feeling confident of more to come: “To be honest I was scratching my head after the practice sessions to understand what we needed to do to improve the bike, but we got our heads together and went for a different setting in qualifying. It worked really well and once I got a feel for it my lap times improved. It's set us up well for tomorrows races and I’ve got the team to thank for that.”
Tunstall was eager to celebrate his birthday by collecting some silverware. In race one, after only 3 of the 22 laps, Tunstall’s engine expired whilst holding a strong third place just behind Cup championship leader Gary Mason and Peter Hickman. Tom managed to stay aboard his machine but without a spare bike was forced to sit out the restarted race.
“It's incredibly frustrating, I’d got a good start and felt really dialled in, it went in a big way and fortunately the marshals got to it quickly as it had caught fire! It’s a bitter pill to swallow not getting back out there. The engine was well inside its mileage schedule I guess it’s just one of those things, fingers crossed we should get antoher engine in the bike for race two but it’ll be tight to get out there."
With only two hours till race two the team worked frantically to prepare the team’s machine and with minutes to spare took their place on the grid.
Another good start saw Tunstall slot into third place before being edged back to fourth by race one winner Tommy Bridewell at the Esses. Lap seven saw Tunstall retake the position as he chased after Relentless Suzuki’s Atsushi Wantanabe setting a pace even faster than in qualifying. On lap 17 the pair pushed passed Buildbase Kawasaki rider Tristan Palmer. With two laps to go Chris Walker passed Tunstall and he was unable to respond but maintained his third place – making it three podium finishes in the last three meetings.
“It was a victory just getting out there. Once again the guys proved it’s a team sport. I felt really good on the bike and although I had to work my way through , my times were similar to the winner [Gary Mason]."
“It's a relief to get something from the weekend after the disappointment of this morning especially now we’re consistently on the pace."
“With only a week before we’re scheduled to head up to the next round at Scotland we have a blown engine and one that is now due a rebuild. It will be an uphill struggle to regroup but as we’ve shown this weekend we never give up.”
The sixth of the twelve round British Superbike championship takes place at Knockhill near Dunfermline in Scotland over the weekend 3rd-5th of July.