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Up and down weekend for Hopkins
Up and down weekend for Hopkins

Well that was an up and down meeting. Cadwell is not my favourite track and the layout makes it a bit of a logistical nightmare for the team but one thing is for sure; it draws a crowd!

The place was rammed all weekend, no doubt helped by the (mostly) decent weather. Really great to see so many fans there and fantastic for the sport.

Having not ridden there for nearly a year, I was grateful for the test on Friday evening when I was able to do 48 laps – pretty much the distance we would run in all three races combined!

The test allowed us to sort some issues with the bike and I went in to Saturday’s free practice sessions with a pretty solid setup. In FP2 I dipped under my previous personal best at Cadwell but my 1:28.579 was only good enough for 27th place, a position I maintained through qualifying which meant that that would be my grid position.

For race one I made a cracking start and moved up two places but on lap two Lee Jackson crashed at the top of The Mountain and Dan Jones hit his bike which was in the middle of the track. It was a massive crash and it happened right in front of me.

Both bikes were smashed to pieces and I had oil from one of them all over my screen and visor! The race was immediately red flagged and there was a delay of over an hour whilst Dan was being attended to and whilst they cleaned up the track.

The re-start was a 12 lap sprint but I didn’t make the best of get aways and I ended up having a fairly lonely race to 22nd place. Thankfully Dan escaped serious injury and he was back at the circuit on Monday! Amazing.

For race two I started P24 but from the off I had a problem with the front brakes. After nine laps the lever was coming back to the bar so I had to pull in which was really frustrating. Rami, my mechanic, fitted a different master cylinder for race three and the brakes were spot on again so at least we identified the issue.

From 25th on the grid, I didn’t make the best of starts to race three but I settled down in to a good rhythm smashing my PB on lap six with a 1:28.073. I was chasing down Leon Jeacock but on lap 10 I had a big slide at Chris Curve that kicked me out of the seat.

I landed on the tank and held on but somehow, I knocked the brake lever down so I could only just reach it for the rest of the race. After that I calmed down to bring the bike home in 22nd again.

It wasn’t quite the weekend I was hoping for but next up is my favourite track, Snetterton, which I’m really looking forward to after a positive test there at the start of the season. #bringiton

Images courtesy of MotoAero Photography