A cold and wet Brands Hatch welcomed the 1st round of the 2018 BMCRC championship on 10/11th March. With Talan sitting this round out due to an infection, it was up to Andy to fly the flag for Talan Racing.
Andy Houghton (333) - Kawasaki ZX10R in Powerbikes.
This was Andy’s first race after gaining his Clubman level licence, and it would be a baptism of fire - dropping straight in and racing with Bemsee’s Powerbike class on his newly acquired Kawasaki ZX-10R. Throughout the weekend it became apparent that the gods were not favouring this class with what seemed like a sprinkling of rain just before each Powerbike outing making the situation even more challenging. The expectation going into this weekend was that even to be on terms with the pace of the grid would be a challenge.
Qualifying went well, and gave the team confidence that Andy would be competitive in this new class. Despite starting from the usual slot at the back of the grid (as required by safety regulations for the paraplegic racer) Andy managed to make his way forward over the course of race 1. Managing the greasy conditions, he rode a strategic race and was able to get past five other racers and finish 22nd overall and 11th in class. Andy had performed far better in this new class than many of the team could have imagined.
The 2nd race proved more tricky as the track was developing a drying line, but you would really have to be confident to be able to stay on this line whilst keep heat in dry weather tyres. Andy opted for a Bridgestone wet, this type of tyre being a harder compound than the Pirelli he ran the previous day, he hoped it would last the distance. Andy got a great start but turn 3 on the 1st lap a racer succumbed to the tricky conditions and high-sided right in front of him. With bike and rider blocking the track Andy had to take to the soaking wet grass to avoid contact and being brought down himself. Andys skills as a motocross racer meant he managed to retain control of the bike, but lost a lot of time getting back onto the tarmac. Luckily (for Andy) the race was red flagged and the grid was reset. With not such a good start at the restart and with the mid pack group getting away, Andy took a couple of laps to clear 3 slower runners and get into his rhythm. He then set about reeling in his next target, a Yamaha R1 which was 1.8 seconds ahead, although averaging half a second a lap faster Andy ran out of time and crossed the line just 0.3 seconds behind his competitor.
There was no 3rd race for the Powerbikes as the meeting was abandoned on Sunday afternoon due to track contamination, resulting in a mix of wet and dry surfaces which proved dangerous to racing.
The ‘Talan Racing’ team will be back in action next at Cadwell Park on weekend 28th/29th April with both Talan and Andy taking to the start line.
Many thanks the pit crew for this weekend, Helen, Jules, Darren & Danny and to all who support the team: Held Rider Equipment, BDS Racing, Motul in UK, FWR Ltd