Bad luck strikes Tom Neave at Oulton Park
The ninth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park dealt Tom Neave a bad run of luck across the weekend, with the BSB rookie only finishing one of the three races at the Cheshire circuit.
Heading back to Oulton Park for the second time this year, Tom was determined to make amends after crashing out heavily from the final race at the second round, where across the weekend he had been making steady progress.
Starting the ninth round 20th on combined times in Friday’s practice, Tom went into Saturday’s opening qualifying session flying, and sitting in the top-six for most of the session it looked like he would progress into Q2. During the final stages Tom was knocked out of the top-six by his Honda Racing UK teammate to finish the session eighth, to qualify 20th overall.
Lining up 20th for the 14-lap eBay Sprint Race Tom knew he and his Fireblade machine had some work to do to get through the pack and into the points. However a careful and well ridden race saw him make up places, to cross the line 13th and scoring a personal best lap time, breaking into the 35s with a 1:35.040.
Sunday started positively with Tom 14th in warm-up, but disaster struck in the second race, where seeing a crash ahead of him Tom thought the race had been red flagged. Dropping back the race was then flagged and for the restart Tom was at the back of the grid, having dropped back when the red flag was brought out.
Shortly after the race was restarted Tom crashed out, after another rider had crashed out in front of him leaving him with nowhere to go. Unhurt from the fall, he lined up for the final race of the weekend again at the back of the grid having not scored a lap time. Trying his hardest to push through and catch the group in front, Tom crashed out of Race 3.
Despite the bad luck in Race 2 and Race 3, there were positives to take from the weekend, with a personal best lap time scored and a solid Race 1, to come home 13th. Tom will now focus on the next round of the championship, which takes place this weekend (30 September – 2 October) at Donington Park, where Tom has enjoyed past success.
“It’s been such a turbulent season for me so far this year. When you’re so invested in racing and it’s not going to plan, it’s the biggest test of mental and physical strength. When it’s going to plan there’s not a care in the world. Saturday was a good day for me, my confidence and feeling with the bike was good, 13th place and a new PB lap time was another small step forward. My Sunday morning warm up was strong, but a set of circumstances which I read wrong put me to the back of the grid for the third restart of race 2, then a rider crashed immediately in front of me leaving me with nowhere to go. This meant I had to start race 3 from the back of the grid again having not set a lap time. Another crash in the last race, this time my own fault trying too hard to catch the group in front. A Sunday to forget! A fresh start this weekend at Donington Park. Six races left to end the season on a high. Wishing all the injured riders who crashed over the weekend a speedy recovery!”