Photo credit Camipix Photography
MCE British Superbikes descended on the Scottish town of Dunfermline this weekend to start their campaign of the 4th round of the series. I don’t think anyone had anticipated what was on the long, bumpy road ahead that was to be the next three days. Its safe to say that everyone involved this weekend was really put to the test, with more red flags and incidents in one day than there has been over the entire season so far. But with these tests comes the absolute togetherness and skill by all of the management crew and the Race Safe marshals, the accuracy and speed at which clean ups happen when things go wrong making it absolutely 100 percent as safe as possible to resume racing is amazing.
In amongst all of this, the riders wait patiently for there turn to start their engines, warm their tyres and proceed down the pit lane to the entrance of the track where they begin there campaign to get those ever so crucial points on the leader board to decide a riders fate.
This weekend was going to be a testing one for Luke Hedger as he has always suffered with arm pump and the bumpy surface around Knockhills 1.2 mile circuit is certainly not forgiving for this, so he was preparing for it with extra training in the days leading up to the race.
Hedger and the EHA Racing Team prepped the bike ready for Friday track time but this was to be hindered by the infamous bad weather conditions and the huge amount of red flags. However they spent all of this time off track wisely adjusting the bike to suit the bouncy track.
Chipping away at his time on Saturdays qualifying he was determined to get in the top ten, using all of his track time by doing the most laps out of all the 33 riders out on track. The bike wobbled about everywhere and was hard to control across the challenging surface. He ended the session in 14th place leaving him frustrated and with a lot to do in the race later on that day. It was safe to say that the arm pump had well and truly kicked in, challenging even the most agile of people.
To keep to the timings as best they could race control had no option but to reduce the Pirelli National Superstock 100 race Saturday afternoon to just 18 laps. As pit lane opened Hedger sped out hoping to notch it up a gear, pumped full of adrenaline.
Making up 8 places and battling with Alex Olsen and former Championship winner Josh Elliott he was on fire bringing the Aprilia 1000cc back in 6th place, a great result for both him and EHA Racing Team. As the cheers and the congratulations died down and the sun set on the Dunfermline track his focus went on the main event on Sunday and the preparations begun.
It’s very rare for Knockhill to have near perfect weather conditions but today was going to buck the trend giving us great track conditions as well. As the time came round and the sun was at its hottest point the pit lane opened and out came the riders like ants spreading across the track. In place we waited for the lights with just the roar of the revving engines. Go Go Go, they were off and Hedger was keeping his position well after starting 9th, row 3 on the grid.
He was having some great battles with Josh Elliott for the 5th place position but when Ashley Beech had a high-speed crash in to the barrier it forced proceedings to go under the safety car. What happened next can only be described as an unfortunate accident as the rules state when you are lapping under the safety car you must keep your position and not over take the person in front of you. Josh Elliott appeared to look down at something on the bike at the same time Hedger had started to break, Elliott then went into the back of him ripping off the exhaust leaving him no choice to retire.
He was not happy slapping his tank with frustration as he came into pit lane but it was a race incident and nothing could have been done.
“We were unlucky today but in truth we struggled all weekend with set-up, as I’ve never been round Knockhill in the dry. We finished in a steady position in race one – coming through from P14 to sixth – and I was so happy I found the pace we were looking for.
"Race two was going really well. I set my personal best lap time and was just off the leading group when the safety car came out. But that was the end of my race as I was hit by another rider. I’d just like to thank the EHA team, Ian and James for all their hard work and all my personal sponsors for their support.
SRS international (Simon Whatley), Swindon Karting (James and Matt Cox),IN Aprilia(Ian Newton),One-X Leathers(John McQueen),J.C.Cook Cycles(Andrew Jones),HJC Helmets,Daytona Boots, Cami pix Photography and Dave Siney.
The next round of the National 1000cc Superstock Championship takes place at Snetterton 300 on July 1st and 2nd.