AFTER SCORING points in the first four rounds of the National Superstock 1000 Championships, Moorside motorcycle racer Ashley Beech was suddenly plagued by problems in the last two.
The 28-year-old was forced to retire from the latest race at Snetterton, Norfolk, with mechanical problems.
That came hot on the heels of woes at Knockhill, Scotland, where he also had brake problems followed by a crash early in the race.
Originally a World War Two United States Air Force base, Snetterton was first used for motorcycle racing in 1953 and was redeveloped in 2011 drawing inspiration from iconic names from the past including two fast straights
named Senna and Bentleys and tight flowing corners named Hamilton, Agostini and Brundle.
At three miles in length the circuit is widely regarded as a difficult track for bike set up so his BMW S1000RR race bike needed a combination of power and good handling.
During the first practice session, Beech quickly realised there was still a problem with the brakes, despite replacing every component since the last round.
He came back into the pits and adjustments made by his crew showed no improvement and he posted the 19th fastest lap.
In dry and bright conditions, Beech returned to the track for the second practice session but the frustration continued when the brakes failed again after six laps and, despite improving his lap time, he could only manage 17th quickest.
Beech again struggled in the qualifying session so he returned to the pits where the team changed to a brand new tyre and he waited until five minutes of the session remaining before taking to the track and he put in a massive effort to record 11th fastest lap.
“We decided that I should wait until the very last minute to go out and try to get in a fast lap before the brakes started to fade and the gamble paid off,” he said.
On the evening before race day the team technicians replaced the brake master cylinder yet again but would have to wait until the race before knowing if this had finally cured the problem.
Beech got off the line well but the gremlins persisted and after five laps he was forced to retire. To continue without brakes would have put himself and other riders in danger.
He said: “We have three weeks now until the next round so we need to identify and cure this problem as it’s costing me championship points.
“I’m frustrated because the handling and power output of the bike is good so if we can solve this then I am confident I will be on the podium.”
Beech will be back in action at Brands Hatch for round seven of the championship.
You can follow Beech and the Teams progress at www.jonesdorlingracing.co.uk, on Twitter @JDR_Racing or on Facebook JonesDorlingRacing