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31st May 2011 

Tough Blow for Tunstall

Photo courtesy of motoprofessional.com

Tom Tunstall produced another strong showing in tricky conditions. He was less than a lap away from making it two podiums in a row when he was taken out by another rider at the latest round of the British Superbike Championship.

The 2.35 mile Thruxton circuit in Hampshire provides a unique challenge for the riders and teams alike, with an undulating surface and fast open turns providing the fastest track on the calendar.

Off the back of a debut Evo class podium at the previous round, both Tom and the Doodson Motorsport team were keen to build on the success and used the practice sessions to good effect, working towards an improved bike set-up and good race pace.

Although only qualifying in 10th place Evo runner Tunstall was still upbeat heading into race day:

“Qualifying didn’t really work out for us but I know 10th isn’t a true reflection of our current level. We’ve made smaller changes to the bike this weekend and we’re still heading in the right direction. My pace is very consistent, even on used race tyres, which is very important here as the track is hard on tyres which are always a factor at the end of the race.

It's a great track to race on, plenty of places to pass and I’m looking forward to both races”.
Tunstall’s comments were backed up in the morning warm up session as more minor tweaks brought a confidence inspiring pace.

The weather gradually deteriorated in the build up to Race One, meaning a tough call for not only the riders and teams but also the organisers who commendably dealt with staging the race in the unpredictable conditions.

Once underway, and reduced to 15laps, the “Wet Race” provided Tunstall another great opportunity and despite being baulked and last out of the first corner, he’d already made up ten places 2.3 miles later.

Tunstall’s pace was impressive as he continued to pick his way through the field, lapping within a tenth of the pace of the Evo leaders. By lap seven he was the fourth placed Evo bike and working to close down the two second gap that separated him from another rostrum finish.

Five laps later he was on the back wheel of Swiss rider Patrick Muff and with two laps to go he made his move, passing into the ultra fast Church corner. Muff pulled alongside down the back straight but once again Tunstall out braked the Honda rider into the chicane.

Starting the last lap in third, Tunstall lost the position on the start and finish straight but once again lined up the pass into the Campbell Complex.

Having pulled alongside, on the inside of the corner, Tunstall was surprised to see Muff slam across the front of his BMW – the impact throwing Tunstall from his machine and onto the tarmac. Winded and with the bike too badly damaged, the Yorkshireman was unable to remount.

The Doodson Motorsport team worked hard to rebuild the bike for the second outing and Tunstall’s lap times placed him third on the Evo grid. The visibility was poor back in the pack. 

After passing Kawasaki rider James Hillier for fourth on lap two Tunstall’s front brake, which had been damaged and repaired after the crash locked on into the Club Chicane forcing him into the pits and out of the race.

Understandably disappointed Tunstall explained;
“It's been a very tough day. Two DNF’s [Did Not Finish] and both out of my control...

 “For me it was a good race, I rode well, the lap times were good, did all the hard work but unfortunately didn’t get the reward. At least Muff apologised for his mistake. Obviously race two was also disappointing, following a crash these things can happen but it’s frustrating as we had two very good opportunities today.

“There are a lot of positives from the weekend and it’s important to focus on them and move on... A few hot baths later I’ll be fine!”

The next round of the series takes place at Knockhill in Scotland on June 19th.

Photo courtesy of motoprofessional.com

Photo courtesy of motoprofessional.com

Photo courtesy of motoprofessional.com

Photo courtesy of motoprofessional.com