MOORSIDE MOTORCYCLE racer Ashley Beech continues to be plagued by technical problems in the National Superstock 1,000 Championship.
After scoring points in the first four rounds of the championships, the 28-year-old’s bike has been beset with issues in the last three races.
The latest tale of woe was on the second visit of the season to the iconic Brands Hatch circuit where the full 2.43 mile Grand Prix circuit was used.
Beech, plagued with brake problems for the last two previous rounds, was hoping for a change in fortune.
Last week Beech and his team attended a club race meeting at Oulton Park where he scored a win, second place and fourth position, although the main aim was to test new brake discs and pads from a different manufacturer ahead of the Brands Hatch round.
In the first of two practice sessions at Brands Hatch, Beech used the old set of discs and finished 25th quickest before fitting the new components for second practice which improved the braking and he moved up to 14th.
When the team technicians stripped and replaced the brakes after the session they found some wear on the radiator cover caused by the front wheel rubbing against it under heavy braking.
The most likely cause of this would be a damaged front fork which was removed and checked and found to be 8mm out of alignment, enough to cause problems with brakes and handling.
A new set of forks were borrowed from a fellow competitor and the team worked late into the evening to rebuild the bike.
Beech noticed a difference when he started the qualifying session and improved his lap time and moved up to eighth quickest and would start from row three on the grid.
New for the 2017 season, organisers have introduced a two-part race consisting of 17 laps
each with a 10 minute gap between to allow teams to change tyres and refuel ready for the second part.
Grid positions for part two are determined by lap times in the first half but a rider must complete part one to be eligible for the second start.
Beech started well in the first part of race one and was holding position before the dreaded brake gremlins struck again and he dropped to 26th before several crashes on lap nine caused the race to be red flagged.
As less than two thirds of race distance was completed, the first part of race one had to be run in two parts. Confusing?! Even the circuit commentators were referring to the rule book
but eventually part one was completed with Beech finishing in 24th position.
The second part of the race was also brought to a premature end when heavy rain fell, but this time sufficient laps had been completed for a result to be declared. Beech would start the Sunday feature race on the sixth row of the grid.
Beech made a great start and was running well until the gremlins struck yet again and he was forced to return to the pits bringing his race to a premature end.
“I thought finding the fault with the front fork may have solved the braking problems but it is back to the drawing board,” said crew chief Mike Elliott.
The team will be striving to solve this ongoing issue before the next round of the championship at Thruxton on August 6.
You can follow Ash and the team’s progress at www.jonesdorlingracing.co.uk, on Twitter @JDR_Racing or on Facebook JonesDorlingRacing