My first time competing with No Limits Racing after an invitation from Matt Waldron to partner him in the 3 hour Endurance event riding one of his gorgeous Triumph 765RR machines at Oulton Park.
I’ve coached Matt so know he’s a quality rider; plus he runs very tidy machines with his bike hire company Smallboy Trackbikes, so all in all, ‘what’s not to like?’ I was excited about going racing with him.
In between BSB events, it was bound to have a very competitive entry with a great spread of ability right through the large field of some 43 teams.
Once at Oulton it was good to know that I’d be on track with James Ellison again, ages since we did the World Endurance Championship in 2002, plus my first time racing with young Josh Daley; always great to see him and his dad Pob plus many more friends, competitors and coaching clients.
Qualifying went well, I quickly got down to low 42’s experimenting with a few set up changes working with Colin at 100% suspension.
I then tried a different rear tyre and went backwards for a while, which surprised me as I couldn’t believe it was down to the rubber.
Frustratingly, I couldn’t improve on my initial practice times, and we qualified 10th on the grid.
Matt being loads younger, fitter and little quicker on his feet than me meant he would be doing the Le Mans start.
I was flummoxed by not being able to get the initial good setup back, so had a run out in the Triumph Cup race for some extra set up time.
I hadn’t qualified, so I started from the back of the grid. I worked my way through to lead the race but pulled in before the flag so as not to disrupt the points for the regular championship contenders.
For the Endurance Matt got a good start and after 40 minutes he pitted and it was my turn, I think we were in 4thplace at the time. I quickly settled down, fighting my way through the traffic; unfortunately, while passing a slower rider around Druids, he sat up mid corner, I had to take evasive action to avoid a collision, taking to the grass, then the gravel.
I remounted and rode back to the pits where Matt was waiting for the transponder so he could go.
My Held E-vest airbag had deployed, so I needed a few minutes to get my breath back, kick the bike straight and waited for Matt to come in again.
Now, tactically we were disadvantaged, so from then on it was simply about damage limitation, we’d dropped to about 15th.
Lapping fast and consistently we fought our way back up to 6thin time for the flag.
I had a really great time riding with Matt, the perfect team mate, very focused and fast. It was a pleasure to be back racing in a great family style team, and I totally enjoyed the whole event. It’s always good to race at Oulton Park, my first UK organised Endurance race since I used to compete with KRC back in the ‘black and white days’ – well run by No Limits, great marshalling and thankfully great weather too.