Round 3: Oulton Park

Round 3 of the British Superbike Championship saw local motorcycle team Jones Dorling Racing travel to Cheshire’s Oulton Park circuit. It was a mixed weekend for the 3 bike team competing in the Superstock support series. Ashley Beech on the BMW 1000 finished free practice sessions on Saturday in 19th after struggling with the feel of the bike, so the team worked overnight to try new settings. Cameron Fraser and Ewan Potter on the Yamaha 600’s were looking to improve on their lap times from the test day 2 weeks before. Qualifying on Sunday saw a field of 47 in the Superstock 1000’s,with Beech still uncomfortable going into corners and with the 47 riders battling for only 40 grid places ,the traffic caused even more issues. Beech qualified in 26th, being unable to improve his lap time and with the hard working crew needing to work further on the BMW before the race. Fraser and Potter steadily reducing their lap times, qualified in 21st and 27th for Mondays race Beech starting from row 9 of the grid got a great start, but an incident in front of him meant he and other riders had to take evasive action dropping him back to 30th. Despite the bike still feeling unstable, he battled through the field and by lap 4 had gone up to 25th. He was still struggling with the rear suspension, despite the changes made, but managed to continue to steadily push through the filed, and the final lap saw a sprint to the line, crossing in 20th position. The Superstock 600 race had Fraser starting on row 7 and Potter a little further back on Row 9. Fraser soon started to work his way through the 28 rider field and by lap 6 he had battled to 16th with a lap time of 1.44, being his fastest lap of the weekend. Potter started in 27th place and was soon chasing his teammate through the pack. By lap 6 he had dramatically improved his lap times and had moved up 8 places to 19th. Beside some minor arm pump issues Potter crossed the finishing line in 17th place, his best finish of the season, after knocking 4 seconds off his lap time at the beginning of the weekend and being only 0.3 seconds off Frasers best lap! Fraser continued to push, even with the bike suffering from chatter on parts of the track. However, after the safety car had come out, following an incident with 3 riders, he managed to regroup and took the chequered flag in 14th position. This was also his best finish on the Yamaha 600 and bagged some championship points! The team now have 4 weeks to the next round at Snetterton, to work on the BMW suspension issues, which had severely hindered Beech’s progress. Team Owner Chris Jones said ‘ We have to work hard to sort out the bike issues and we now have time to do so to ensure we are in a top 10 fighting position for the next round, but Beech did well with fighting back after avoiding the incident and with the bike feeling unstable. I am pleased with our new young riders Fraser and Potter’s progress with the 600 and they are learning every round and improving lap by lap’

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