A bank holiday meeting; running over Sat / Sun / Mon, meant we had to arrive at oulton Park on Friday evening, but it was 16.30 on Saturday before Alex took to track in Free practice.
Free Practice, and Alex’ again struggled with set up, Alex did well considering setting, 12th fastest time of the session with a 1.46.77 and bringing back some good info to help select the gearing and set-up for timed Qualifying.
First ‘Timed Qualifying’ was held on a damp ‘drying’ track, although most riders were out with a dry set up including Alex, which I must say was the right choice, however a few wet patches were catching the riders out and Alex said although the bike felt good, hitting the wet patches was very unsettling, Alex had decided to play it safe setting a provisional grid slot of 17th with a time off 1.47.48
Second Qualifying was held on a dry track and it was all go, as we knew this would be the session where grid slots were decided.
Alex looked good, out with the front pack and overtaking, He didn’t come round on the 5th lap, as he’d went into the pits for some adjustments, but re-appeared with 15 minutes of the 30 minute session left and again I thought he looked good.
The only thing that bothered me was I didn’t here his name on the PA system, this comments on the session and tells you the positions of the riders for grid slots. Either I was missing his name or he was lower than 12th?......... He was lower than 12th alright…….Alex had just snuck onto the back row of the grid in 38th place, I couldn’t believe it, from what I’d seen he was much faster than that.
When the story came out, Alex had set his fastest time on lap 4, after that the track was so busy, he just couldn’t get a clear track or run to get a good time in, to say we were all disappointed, is perhaps an understatement. Shocked would have been a better word.
Still miracles might happen and he might get some points in the race.
For the race I had made it to ‘Old Hall’ where I planned to watch the start and then make my way down to ‘The Avenue’ for the rest of the race.
Now although I couldn’t see the start line from where I was, I could hear the engines REV! and as Fred Clarke the commentator said “ The National Super Stocks 600 is Go! Go! GO!
The sound of thunder as the bikes appeared round the corner. Come ON ALEX!
I picked out the Blue nose of Alex’ as the bike slide across the track, on to the grass and into the tyre wall, as the pack of bikes moved on, I could see three bikes down, Alex, Aaron ‘Azman’ Easter and Tom Clegg.
Alex and Aaron ‘Azman’ Easter at least they got a good vantage point to watch!