11 October 2009
Tunstall Ends the Season on the Rostrum
final rounds of the illustrious 2009 British Superbike Championships
took place at Oulton Park over the weekend. And for Hardinge Doodson
Motorsport rider Tom Tunstall another impressive performance saw his
season drawing to a close with another pair of podium finishes.
For the second time this year the British Superbikes headed to Oulton Park in Cheshire, and off the back of a great penultimate round at Silverstone Tom and his Hardinge Doodson Motorsport Team were determined to keep their strong progress going and end the season well.
Oulton Park is one of the most technical and physical circuits on the calendar and since the Teams previous visit in May the significant improvements were clear. Circulating over 1.6seconds a lap faster during the practice and qualifying sessions Tunstall claimed 3rd of the Superbike Cup riders.
“I’m really pleased we’re continuing the momentum and with all the top four cup guys on the same row of the grid it should make for some interesting racing!”
With the final event staging three races – the first being only two hours after qualifying made it a tight schedule to get the teams Honda CBR1000RR prepared for the race one.
The first contest proved eventful with a number of crashes in the opening laps bringing out the red flag stopping the race whilst marshals’ tended to riders and also recovered one bike from the lake next to the track!
On the restart Tunstall lost a couple of places but recovered well passing Dan Linfoot, Howie Mainwaring and Cup rival Martin Jessop to take 4th place by lap seven which he held to the flag.
“I got held up early on and by the time I’d cut my way through the other guys had disappeared, in fairness they’re lapping very quick so I need to get away with them to battle for the podium.”
Rain showers on Sunday morning meant the track conditions for race two were very tricky with only a narrow dry line around the 2.69 mile circuit and riders choosing slick tyres it wasn’t for the faint hearted.
A good start saw Tunstall get away with Championship runner-up Peter Hickman and the pair both got past Linfoot on lap two, before catching Yamaha backed Graeme Gowland four laps later. Hickman crashed out at Hizzy’s Chicane a lap later and the following lap Tunstall passed Gowland at the same corner. As the track continued to dry the pace quickened with the pair vying for position. Gowland managed to take it at the flag but the assured ride had earned Tunstall a rostrum place with third in the Cup.
The season finale was delayed briefly as light rain showers passed over and the tarmac was dry as the lights went out at the start of the 16-lapper. However a crash on the second corner brought another stoppage.
When the riders finally got underway Tunstall was again riding well cutting past both Jessop, and Tommy Bridewell on lap two taking the Hardinge Doodson racer up to 2nd place. Linfoot was next up and as Tunstall lined him up Bridewell edged back though. Tunstall disposed of Linfoot on Lap six, but Bridewell had pulled out a gap. Despite a resilient ride lapping ever faster than during qualifying Tunstall couldn’t close him down, crossing the line third in the cup and only 0.2seconds behind James Ellison to take very respectable 13th overall.
After climbing from his tenth podium of the season Tunstall concluded; “It was a good race, it was a shame I couldn’t hang onto Tommy but I was really pushing hard. It’s great to finish the season on the podium and in some respects it’s a shame it’s the end of the season.
“We started the season with a bang [referring to the massive crash at Round 1] which set us back big time. Throughout the season we’ve worked hard on a very limited budget & we’ve learnt an understanding of the set-up and how to get the best from the bike now, as a rider I’ve also learnt a lot about riding Superbikes this year which shows not only with the fastest lap and qualifying performances but the podiums and consistently lapping around two seconds faster than before with fantastic progress which I’m looking to carry through to 2010.
“I owe a massive thank you to Hardinge Machine Tools and Doodson Broking Group for their support this year and along with the team who’ve been great the success we’ve enjoyed has been a true team effort.”
Tom and the team will be working hard to ensure 2010 is their strongest season yet aboard a superbike, watch this space!…