MOORSIDE motorcycle racer Ashley Beech made a disappointing start to the new National Superstock 1000 Championship.
In round one at Donington Park, Beech has suspension problems as he finished well down the field in 33rd place in the first race before being forced to retire in the second and third ones.
Beech had been to the Cartagena circuit in Spain for testing ahead of this year’s championship.
For three days Beech concentrated on bike set up with crew chief Michael Elliott as they tried suspension, gearing and many other configurations to get the maximum performance from his BMW S100RR race bike.
“Lap times were not important, but it was an ideal opportunity to explore the bike’s capability and I was happy the bike was ready for round one at Donington Park,” said Beech.
Heavy rain during practice prevented the riders posting quick lap times but conditions improved for afternoon qualifying and Beech finished fifth quickest despite sliding off in the closing few minutes of the session.
Beech escaped injury and damage to his bike was minimal, but he earned a start from row two of the grid.
Last season the organisers added an extra race for the Superstock 1000 class. On Sunday there was a two-part race consisting of 18 laps each with a 10-minute gap between to allow riders and teams to change tyres and refuel ready for part two.
The 10-minute break is barely enough time to change tyres and refuel let alone make adjustments to suspension and brakes therefore this new format is a real challenge for both rider and crew.
Beech struggled right from the off with front suspension problems and he quickly dropped back and crossed the line in a disappointing 33rd place.
Tyres were changed and the bike refuelled, the crew only had time to make minor changes to the suspension before Beech returned to the track for part two of the race.
Another quick start off the line, but again the suspension did not feel right and he was forced to retire after four laps.
After heavy overnight rain left the track flooded, Monday’s feature race was delayed.
Beech made another great start but the suspension gremlins struck again and he was forced to retire after five laps.
“A disappointing weekend, but we have two weeks to sort the bike ready for round two,” said Beech.
He will be back out on track on April 15 at Brands Hatch. You can follow Beech and the team’s progress at www.jonesdorlingracing.co.uk, on Twitter @JDR_Racing or on Facebook JonesDorlingRacing