MOORSIDE MOTORCYCLE racer Ashley Beech moved into the top 10 in the National Superstock 1000 Championship table following his 13th place finish at Oulton Park.
The 28-year-old picked up three further points to maintain his solid start to the season after three rounds of racing.
Oulton Park in Cheshire is a challenging circuit with tight corners, climbs and descents and is regarded by many riders as a technical track and difficult to find that perfect set up for a race bike.
Beech, who had picked up points in all four races in the opening two rounds, attended a test day at Oulton Park to try various settings on his BMW S1000RR race bike, but rain in the morning and technical issues in the afternoon ruined any chance of gaining valuable data.
Starting the weekend in dry and sunny conditions, Beech finished the first of two practice sessions 10th quickest, but was troubled with the bike trying to wheelie out of the corners.
For second practice, the team altered the wheelbase of the bike by adding an additional link in the drive chain and despite improving his lap times he was still plagued with the handling issues and he finished ninth fastest.
With just 25 minutes in each practice session, Beech decided to revert to the settings used last season but with softer suspension on the front and stiffer on the rear to give him more feel on the front wheel before qualifying.
The handling improved and Beech went faster by three tenths of a second to cling on to his ninth place and a start from the third row on the grid.
The weather was very unpredictable on race day and made set-up decisions difficult but only minor changes were made to the suspension and dry tyres before the start of the race.
Beech was in 10th place when on lap seven of the scheduled 18 laps it started to rain causing the race to be red flagged.
He returned to the pits and changed to wet tyres before the restart. Drama as the riders were on their warm-up lap when the rain stopped.
Wet tyres have more grooves giving the rubber more movement which allows the tyre to cut through water quicker causing friction which then creates grip but if the track was to dry then his wet tyres would start to shred very quickly.
As the race restarted for a nine-lap sprint, Beech slipped back to 18th during the early stages but when the rain started again on lap seven and the track became wetter he started to move back up the field and when several riders, who had made the wrong tyre choice crashed ahead of him, he eventually crossed the line in 13th position.
“A hard race in difficult conditions, but more importantly the three points I scored was enough to move me up to 10th place in the Championship table,” he said.
Included as a support race for the British round of the World Superbike Championship, Beech will be back in action again at Donington Park on May 28th.
Follow Beech and the team’s progress at www.jonesdorlingracing.co.uk, on Twitter @JDR_Racing or on Facebook JonesDorlingRacing