Unpredictable Weather Challenges Drayton at Silverstone
Round nine of the Pirelli National 600 Superstock Championship proved one of the most difficult events for many of the riders, including Lincolnshire’s Daniel Drayton. Being the first time racing at Silverstone there would be a great deal to learn, for both rider and team.
Weather forecasts predicted a mixed bag of conditions, at times ranging from sunshine to showers. Sadly, the latter resulted in more than showers as the Northamptonshire circuit was more akin to a tropical forest monsoon. Heavy rain and winds presented all classes with some difficult choices in term of set up as with the long flowing Silverstone Circuit offering a mixture of dry patches and standing water..!
Free practice one, Daniel was settling into getting to grips with the rain soaked circuit and with lap times steadily improving confidence was building. However, just like many other competitors, the circuit conditions got the better of Daniel and after fighting to contain the back end of the bike braking loose the Lincolnshire rider was launched into a high side. The resulting crash incurred limited damage to the bike, but sadly a knee injury to the rider.
Not deterred by this accident Daniel headed out in FP2, with the circuit still rain drenched he was more focused on keeping the bike upright.
Qualifying gave a rest bite in the weather and on a dry circuit 36 riders were unleashed from the paddock, all with the aim to make the most of the conditions. Pushing on Drayton used the fast open circuit to his advantage and at the end of the session landed a reputable 13th spot on the grid, just 2.380 seconds behind pole sitter Tom Oliver.
With dark skies looming the race got underway and immediately Daniel secured five places. With a 3.6 mile lap, hard braking and differing lines the Lincolnshire rider was beginning to experience arm pump and with many passing opportunities on the wide circuit he eventually had to relent two places in a bid to remain in the top ten. As the last lap flag was presented there was some comfort that the end of the race neared and with determination Daniel brought his Kawasaki ZXR 600 over the line in a respectable tenth place.
As in previous meetings there are a selected number of 600 Superstock riders offered the opportunity to take a place in the highly competitive 600 Supersport race, once again Daniel was presented with this opportunity.
Much deliberation from riders on the grid as to tyre choices as the heavy skies loomed even closer. With minutes to go the heavens opened giving little option other than to change to wets for the impending race. With no rain visor at hand and time running out Daniel had no alternative other than to go out with a tinted visor. A race full of spills Daniel paced himself in slippery conditions to end up in the points.
‘’My first experience of racing at Silverstone and I couldn’t have had any more difficult weather conditions thrown at me! From a dry track, to a soaking wet surface it was 100% concentration all the way just keeping the bike upright at times. As the season has progressed my confidence has grown and I think my results this weekend have shown the potential both myself and the team have to run well within the top ten. I always have in mind though that my results are a team effort and without the back up of Neil and my dad who maintain and give me the best set up as possible I wouldn’t be able to progress.’’
With only a few days to go until round ten at Oulton Park the team are preparing for yet another top ten finish.
I would like to thank all my sponsors and supporters for backing me in my first season in the Pirelli Nation 600 Superstock season
Capture Motorsport Media