Another Top Ten Finish for Drayton at Oulton
Round ten of the British Superbike Pirelli Nation 600 Superstock championship landed in the leafy Cheshire countryside and the picturesque Oulton Park circuit. The undulating circuit is a firm favourite with all the riders as it offers a mixture of flat out sections, crossed with cambered hairpin bends.
Going into the event the NP Motorcycles team were still in a confident mood on the back of their creditable top ten finish for Dan at Silverstone, in what can only be described as one of the most challenging rounds in terms of weather and set up options.
Friday morning and free practice one witnessed 32 riders take to a rain soaked parkland circuit. Oulton offers an even greater challenge in wet conditions, due to parts of the circuit passing through overhanging tree lined sections, such as Druids. Dan set out with the experience and confidence gained of wet conditions at the last round and in doing so managed to record a lap time of 1.55.354 and return him a tenth fastest slot.
FP2 and just two laps in the clutch on the NP Motorcycles Kawasaki ZX6R developed a problem and with quick thinking the Lincolnshire rider coasted back to the paddock in a bid to avoid sustaining any further damage. Neil Pearson and the team quickly set about remedial work to prepare the bike for the following days qualifying session. The team were disappointed with the lack of track time as Dan knew he had a good opportunity to improve his lap times.
A dry bright Saturday morning presented riders with the ideal opportunity to record respectable lap times and as qualifying got underway there would be no doubt that each of the young chargers in this highly competitive class would be pushing hard. Dan started to get into his rhythm and it wasn’t long before he achieved a personal best for the Oulton. With just six seconds covering the whole of the 32 rider grid at the conclusion of the session Dan brought home the NP Motorcycles ZX6R to land a 20th position, recording a 1.42.598 lap, just 2.3 seconds off pole sitter Brad Jones. More importantly for Daniel two seconds faster than his outing in dry conditions at Oulton Park back in May.
Early showers on Sunday morning covered the Cheshire circuit, but a glimmer of hope that come the race start ( 12:50 pm) that the track would have dried out. However, just ten minutes before race start the rain descended and confirmed the decision by race organisers it would most definitely be a wet race. As the red lights extinguished Dan made a charge and immediately gained four places and set about making his way through the field. As the 12-lap race counted down Dan progressed and fending off a late challenge he crossed the line to record another reputable 10th place. However, post race and with a review from the stewards three riders were excluded returning Daniel 7th place and more points gained.
Image Credit Ian Hopgood
Given Dan’s finishing position he was once again invited to take part in the 600 Supersport feature race, this involved a frantic effort from the team in the parc feme area to prepare both bike and rider in the 30 minutes slot between races.
A highly competitive class, packed with some seasoned riders there was no doubt that the weather conditions would play a critical part in the outcome. With a field of 25 riders this was also a further opportunity for Dan to gain valuable experience.
The race underway the pack in a train like procession headed off toward cascades in a plume of spray from the wet track. What followed was an incident packed race, but the Lincolnshire rider kept his cool to pass the chequered flag in 15th spot.
‘’Oulton is one of my favourite circuits and having raced here before I know what challenges it offers to both rider and machine. Although we had a small mechanical issue early on in the weekend I was confident that Neil Pearson (NP Motorcycles) would rectify the problem and return me with a bike that was capable of being on the pace. I am delighted with another top ten finish and with just one round remaining at Brands Hatch my ultimate aim is to repeat or better my recent form.
The team worked hard all weekend and specifically to get me out on the startline for the Supersport feature race, so I can thank them all enough.’