SIXTH FOR JACKSON AS CHANGING WEATHER WREAKS HAVOC Krystal Racing Space Air's Lee Jackson was forced to settle for a hard-fought sixth place today as a tyre gamble didn't go the team's way in a drying wet race at Croft Circuit.
SIXTH FOR JACKSON AS CHANGING WEATHER WREAKS HAVOC
Krystal Racing Space Air's Lee Jackson was forced to settle for a hard-fought sixth place today as a tyre gamble didn't go the team's way in a drying wet race at Croft Circuit. Injured team-mate Paul Veazey also struggled with tyres, leaving him languishing down in 28th spot and bitterly disappointed at his home track.
As the Metzeler Racetec National Superstock Championship made its annual visit to the North Yorkshire circuit, hopes were high that the sunny and warm weather from Friday and Saturday would last until Sunday. However as race day dawned, with it came haphazard showers and ominous looking clouds, with organisers ruling it a wet 14-Lap race.
As heavy rain began to fall as the pack headed out onto the grid, both Jackson (22) and Veazey (33) opted to run wet tyres. But the gamble wasn't to pay off, as the rain stopped just moments into the race and the track dried, leaving those riders who had chosen wets unable to compete with the rivals who were running the dry.
Jackson had started the race from seventh on the grid, and got a good getaway, moving into fifth by the first corner. By the end of Lap One he had passed reigning champ Brendan Roberts into fourth and began chasing down Steve Brogan ahead. But as he began to reel him in, he quickly came under pressure from Marshall Neill on dries, who sliced through the pack and was into the lead by Lap Eight.
As other dry-shod riders began to dispense with those on wets, Jackson was forced down into sixth on Lap Nine, and held his place until the final lap when Brogan made a dive inside him coming through the Complex area of the track. Jackson was quick to take the spot back, and ran wide into the final hairpin. Although it looked like Brogan had done enough to steal the spot, Jackson refused to be beaten and charged back alongside him and crossed the line ahead, taking sixth. The race was won by Neill, ahead of Jon Kirkham in second and Alastair Seeley third.
"I know I didn't get the result I really wanted but I have to admit, I really enjoyed that race," he said. "It's actually quite good fun running around on a dry track with wet tyres, it's just a shame we had it happen in a race. The thing is, there was nothing we could actually do out there to improve, once we'd made the tyre choice we were in the hands of the gods, and unfortunately, for the first time in about three months, it didn't rain hard enough in our race!
"Luckily most of the guys I'm fighting with in the championship made the same choice as me, so none of them had the race they wanted. The lads that got the top three aren't a factor in the title fight, so we did okay from it in the end. I have to be happy with the result as it could've been a lot, lot worse, and I'm now fourth in the championship with five races left. It's all still to play for."
Veazey meanwhile suffered a tough weekend at his local track. Still in pain from a broken hand, the 21-year-old from nearby Middlesbrough hurt his shoulder when he crashed in Friday's first qualifying session. Lining up 30th on the grid, the youngster managed to make up a couple of spots and finished 28th in a lot of pain.
"It was all bad, I'm really disappointed," he said. "The tyre choice wrecked it for me, the gamble just didn't pay off and there was absolutely nothing I could do. I was stuck out there on the totally wrong tyre and my shoulder was really sore. Strangely enough my hand wasn't too bad, I only really started to notice it at the end.
"It's been a terrible weekend for me to be honest and I think disappointed is probably an understatement. It was my home track and I had loads of people down here to watch me but I was injured before I even went out. Then after I crashed on Friday and set my shoulder off I thought it couldn't get any worse, but the weather managed to be a factor again. I'm just going to try and forget about it now and try to get back to full fitness for Cadwell in a fortnight."
Meanwhile in the Superstock Cup, Gary Jackson was lucky to walk away from a horrific smash on Lap 6. The 36-year-old, who runs his own Newell Plumbing Krystal Racing Yamaha R1, suffered a mechanical failure at Barcroft, sending him flying into the gravel. The older brother and mechanic of Lee was uninjured, although the bike was almost destroyed.
Team owner Tony Astle commented: "It's been a hard weekend for the lads but I think we're all pleased that Lee was able to take sixth. The tyre gamble could've worked either way, but we were just unlucky that this time it wasn't ours. We've had months of rain, we've almost become used to having races cancelled because of it yet today when we needed it, it stopped!
"Paul has really struggled all weekend. He perhaps should've rested his hand but he was determined to race at his home track, and then falling on Friday and injuring his shoulder did nothing to help him. The sore shoulder and hand combined with the wrong tyres ruined any chances of him making up ground but it wasn't his fault at the end of the day. We are just happy all of the lads came back safe.
"Gary hasn't assessed the full damage to his bike yet but he too was lucky not to get hurt. I think the weekend could've gone a little bit better but it could've also been a whole lot worse. The championship is still very much open and anything could happen yet."