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Eazi Grip

Royal Navy Royal Marine Road Race Team member Ryan Hughes at Mallory Park

Cadwell Park had been my best weekend of racing since starting in 2020. I finally managed to shed my bright orange bib and was issued my team leathers. Over the break between rounds, I had my fairings painted by our sponsor, Body Repairs Bristol, and the bike was looking fantastic with all the team livery and sponsor decals.

A decent qualifying session gave me a PB of 58.2s and placed me 14th on the grid, my best qualifying position to date in the Golden Era Supersport Championship.

Race 1 – A decent start and a few overtakes around the outside of Gerrard’s saw me sat in 12th place behind RAF rider, Rob Vickerman. I stuck with his coat tails for most the race but a mistake at Edwina’s saw me lose a place and drop to 13th. Two crashes up ahead saw me gain two places and ultimately finished the race in 11th place, my best finish, wet and dry, in Golden Era Supersport. To put the icing on the cake I also smashed my PB, achieving a 56. 6s lap.

Race 2 – An even better start than race 1 and few good overtakes in the first few laps, saw me up to 10th place at the end of lap 2 with 8th and 9th place in my sights. I unfortunately lost a place on the next lap and sat in 11th place for the remained of the race, with 10th place frustratingly close ahead.

Inter-Services Race 1 – My qualifying time placed me on the third row in 8th position for the start of the race. The lights went out and a steady start saw me lose a couple of places into Gerrard’s. I had fellow RNRM rider Max Wilmot in my sights and overtook him and an RAF rider on the outside. A good drive for the corner and favourable track position allowed me to take another place from RNRM rider Brian Fuidge into Edwina’s and managed to make it stick. By the end of lap one, I was up to 6th place, chasing an RAF rider. I remained in 6th for the remainder of the race, but a fortunate retirement of an Army rider resulted in finishing in 5th, my best finish in any race.

My lap times from the first two races had bumped me up to row 4 and 10th on the grid for races 3 and 4, so the pressure was now on to improve on the results from the day before.

Race 3 – As the lights went out for race 3, my bike slipped into a false neutral momentarily, resulting in a very poor start and I lost several places in the run up to the first corner, narrowly avoiding a fellow rider who suffered a huge high side around Gerrard’s. But I battled back, overtaking a few riders in the subsequent corners. Another huge crash on the run up to Shaw’s Hairpin saw me lose another place in the confusion, and I finishing the first lap in 12th place. Coming round Gerrard’s for the second time and another rider slid out in front of me, which again I managed to avoid. A great battle with another rider over the subsequent laps saw me finally get past on the penultimate lap, and I finished the race in 10th place. Again, beating my best finish in the championship.

Race 4 – Determined to get a better start than the previous race, I pushed a little to hard and sent the bike up instead of forward and in my struggle to control the wheelie, lost a ton of places before the first corner. A good battle with a couple of riders for 9th place ultimately saw me come out in 10th on the penultimate lap. With 9th in my sights, I was pushing hard, but the bike and the tyres could not take it. I lost the front on the entry into Shaw’s Harpin and slid off into the grass. My Held leathers kept me in one piece and the minor damage allowed me to ride the bike back to the pits.

The team did what they do best and rallied round my bike to get it ready for the second inter-services race.

Inter-Services Race 2 – After another poor start, I lost several places off the line but made most of the back round the first corner. Chasing down Max Wilmot and an RAF rider, I managed to take them both on the next lap and had another RAF rider in my sights. It was on lap 4 when I notices a strange ringing noise whenever I was taking a right hander. My rear brake lever had dropped (due to crash damage from the previous race) and was scraping along the round in the right handers. I kept going but had to reduce my pace so as to reduce my lean angle and prevent the lever being ripped off or inadvertently applying the rear brake. I subsequently lost the two places I had gained and finished the race in a disappointing 11th place.

Overall, Mallory Park surpassed Cadwell Park and was my best race weekend to date. A new PB lap time and PB finishes in the Golden Era Supersport and Inter-Services Championships, has left me eager to improve further for Round 4 at Donington Park at the end of July.

Posted on Monday, July 5th, 2021 in News

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