Progress and challenges for Tom Neave at Oulton Park
Over the May Bank Holiday weekend, Tom Neave was in action at the second round of the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship where despite some challenges across the weekend, Tom continued to impress in what was just his second race meeting in the BSB premier class.
Admitting that Oulton Park is not one of his strongest circuits, Tom soon got to grips with his Superbike machine, placing a respectable 18th at the end of practice on combined times, with a best time of 1:35.323.
Across the weekend in each session at the 2.69-mile circuit, Tom smashed his personal best lap times and went into Q1 on Sunday confident of securing a good grid position for Race 1. However, with changing weather conditions for Qualifying Tom crashed out at Lodge, not setting a lap time and was relegated to the back of the grid in 32nd for the opening race.
With the whole BSB field ahead of him for the 14-lap race, Tom knew he had some work to do and as soon as the lights went out he started picking off his rivals to move through the pack. Eventually making up 15 places throughout the race, which was shortened after a red flag on lap 12, Tom placed an incredible 17th and was just shy of a point scoring position.
Monday’s Race 2, saw Tom in a much better grid position in 15th, just one place behind his Honda teammate Glenn Irwin, who was in 14th. Despite some small mistakes in the race the reigning Superstock Champion came home 15th, adding points to his BSB tally.
Sadly the final race of the day was cut short, as Tom fell on the opening lap at turn one. With suspected concussion he was taken to the on-site medical center, where he received an X-Ray and was transferred to Stoke hospital for further checks and scans. Thankfully, Tom was discharged from hospital Monday evening with the all-clear.
There is now a small break in the British Championship, before Round 3 takes place at Donington Park on 20-22 May.
“Leaving Oulton Park in the back of an ambulance wasn’t the most ideal way to end the weekend! We’d been making good progress across each session and I was happy with my pace and also setting personal bests throughout. The crash in Qualifying set us on the back foot for Race 1, but to come through the pack and finish 17th I was chuffed with and showed the pace we did have. In Race 2, I made a lot of mistakes on track, which slowed us and also meant I wasn’t able to push on and move further up. But to finish 15th in the points my first time riding the Superbike there, I was happy with. I don’t really have much memory of the crash or what happened in Race 3, all I know is that I was in the gravel and not in the race anymore. I’d like to say a huge thanks to the BSB medical team, the trackside marshals, Honda Racing UK and also all the well wishes and messages that have been sent. Thankfully I received the all-clear and was able to leave hospital last night, and will be back in action for Round 3 at Donington Park.”