It was mixed fortunes for me at Snetterton last weekend in the Henderson Yamaha R1 Cup.
I was really looking forward to this one as this is the first time I’ve rocked up at a track I’ve actually raced at. That makes a big difference to getting on the pace straight away, especially as I’m not getting extra practice by racing in any other classes over the weekend.
In our 20-minute free practice session on Saturday I was 13th fastest and looking forward to improving my times for qualifying later in the day.
Unfortunately the Yamaha R1 Cup got rained on yet again and qualifying was on a drying track on wet tyres and was treacherous. I didn’t much enjoy the conditions and ended up 14th on the grid.
Pole position went to Sam Warren on his Mission Racing-backed Yamaha R1, he was also kept busy during the weekend riding his GR/Ssangyong Racing (“It works for me”) – backed Superstock 1000.
After a dry 10-minute warm-up session at 10.30 Sunday morning, with all the delays during the day for rain and oil on the track, we didn’t get out to race until 6pm, which felt like an eternity. It’s a good job there was some motorbike racing on to watch!
British Superbike race two was wet and our race was straight after. The track was still half damp so we had to choose between slick or wet tyres.
Everyone chose wets as the safest option and once again the lights went out on another R1 Cup race in mixed conditions. Out of the last five races, we’ve only used dry tyres for two of them, at Donington Park, when it was blowing a gale!
I had a blinding battle with Stu Wilson and we were both spinning and sliding at the end of the race when the wet tyres cried enough in the rapidly drying conditions.
I managed to capitalise on a mistake by him into Russells on the final lap to just edge ahead at the line, to finish in 12th, my best result of the year.
The race was won by flying Richard Cooper, who also won the KTM Super Duke R Battle in similar conditions, followed up by Sam Warren and Jack Kennedy.
Our next outing is at Donington Park this weekend where we’ve got two MotoGP support races on Saturday night. See you there.
Jack Kennedy: "It was fairly hairy out there, I was trying to put in consistent laps but as the track got dryer and the back tyre got hotter it became more difficult.
“I was chasing Sam and saw an opportunity right at the end there through the chicane. I got good drive out of it and chased Sam down to the line which pulled me up to third ahead of Marty."
Sam Warren: "I got a terrible start and ended up about 12th on the first lap. I just got my head down and got on with the job ahead.
“I managed to get into third and second was in my mind but Richard had ridden a great race for the win and he was too far ahead to catch.
“It was definitely a tricky conditions with the wet tyres on a drying track. I'd like to thank all my sponsors who enable me to be here competing in the cup."
Richard Cooper: "I'd already ridden the KTM race yesterday in similar conditions and I won that by eight seconds so I knew that I could go well again today.
“It's great to take the win on a day like this, this time we were the last race of the day so it's made the wait worth while! I'd like to thank my team and quote Pete Bradshaw of Co-ordit racing who had offered me the ride for the remainder of the year if I finished in the top five! It looks like you'll be seeing me again for some more great racing."
Rob McElnea, Team Principal: "Another great show, this is what the Henderson R1 Cup is all about. It's given us another great race with some different podium finishers.
“Sam continues to impress and Jack Kennedy put in a stunning ride to steal third. Richard Cooper had that away, another winner to mix the championship up a bit.
“The series is proving to be a great racing platform for riders from all different abilities and backgrounds, some with limited track time, yet they are all still competitive alongside the riders who are competing in a few different championships."
Snetterton Henderson Yamaha R1 Cup race result:
1. Cooper 2. Warren, 3. J Kennedy, 4. Nutt 5. B Wilson, 6. Mason, 7. Coates, 8. Kirkham, 9. Etheridge, 10. R Kennedy
1. Kirkham - 94, 2 - Warren - 76, 3. Wilson - 67, 4 - Emmett - 64, 5. Mason - 59