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3rd May 2011 

Persistence starts to bring progress for Tunstall




The Second round of the 2011 British Superbike Championship saw Tom Tunstall start to make inroads with his new BMW gaining confidence and points with the new machine.

The picturesque and undulating Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire is renowned as a technical and physical track, which presented a formidable challenge for the Yorkshireman who was still suffering the effects of his foot injury and lack of track time after crashing at Cartagena in Spain in March.

Tunstall and his Doodson Motorsport backed team were keen to pick up from the tough opening round the previous weekend and the consistent dry weather gave plenty of opportunity to hone the S1000RR.

Heading into race day the search for a satisfactory bike set-up continued and each of the two 18-lap races were preceded by radical changes to the bike as Tunstall explained:

“Obviously in standard spec the BMW is a fantastic bike, but we aren’t able to run a lot of the standard parts so we have to start from scratch. On a superbike there are many variables and each effect and compromise each other which makes the job complicated.”

“We made some massive changes to the bike geometry for race day as we know we’re far from our potential at the moment. It means the races are test sessions with points for us!

Race one was hard work for Tunstall and despite lapping eight tenths faster than qualifying he was rewarded seventh place in the EVO class.

More changes to the bike geometry and front fork springs in the second outing brought progress, and once familiar with the way the bike handled with the new setting he was able to lap consistently at his best pace.

After passing Aaron Zanotti on lap nine a crash by Josh Brookes brought out the safety car at the half way point and closed the grid back together. After the restart Tunstall passed fellow BMW rider Barry Burrell to claim sixth place at the flag.

“It's far to say we still have a lot of work to do to get to the level we know are capable of and be fighting for the podium. Although it can be very frustrating at times we must take heart from the fact we are heading in the right direction.

“We desperately need to test away from the races to minimise the disruption to the race weekend so we can turn up and get on with racing rather than bike development, something I’m certainly looking forward to!”

The next round see the British Superbike Championship visit Tom's home county of Yorkshire over the weekend of the 13th-15th of May







All photos courtesy of motoprofessional.com