MOORSIDE MOTORCYCLE racer Ashley Beech produced his best performance of the season in round 10 of the National Superstock 1000 Championship at Oulton Park.
After a season plagued by mechanical and technical problems, the 28-year-old has belatedly overcome the challenges that have confronted him.
And at Oulton Park, the Cheshire venue that is closest to home, Beech crossed the line in sixth place.
A hard fought nine points moves Beech up to 14th place in the championship table.
“It is the 10th anniversary of Jones Dorling Racing this year and what a way to celebrate with a season best qualifying, a season best result and a personal best lap time from Ash at Oulton Park,” declared team owner Chris Jones.
Beech arrived at Oulton Park having finished in a season’s best eighth place at Cadwell Park two weeks earlier.
He was hoping to continue with the development of his BMW S1000RR race bike which has proved a real challenge since the team swapped from Kawasaki power halfway through the year.
The team had learnt a great deal regarding gearing and suspension at previous rounds and arrived at Oulton Park confident that they now have a good base set up to work with.
In Friday’s practice, Beech put in a series of fast consistent laps and finished ninth quickest despite the bike running wide at several corners.
Changes to the front suspension and rear shock improved stability and he quickened his lap times in first qualifying and he finished in eighth place.
Minor changes made and a new set of tyres, Beech took to the track in cloudy and dry conditions for final qualifying and again his lap times improved to finish the session sixth quickest, less than one second off the pole time and more than one second quicker than he had ever been around Oulton Park.
Beech, who started from the second row on the grid, said: “I’m really happy with the bike now and I want to try and get on the top step of the podium before the end of the season.”
As the lights went out at the start of the race, Beech got off the line well but lost a place after some bumping and barging into the first right hand corner and down into Cascades corner.
For the first half of the 14 lap race he was battling in ninth position before moving up to eighth and during the closing stages he was matching the lap times of the leading group.
On the last corner of the last lap the two leaders clashed and both tumbled into the gravel enabling Beech to cross the line in sixth place.
The next round of the championship is at Donington Park on Sunday, September 18th.
Follow Beech and the team’s progress at www.jonesdorlingracing.com, on Twitter @JDR_Racing or on Facebook JonesDorlingRacing