Wiganer Josh Daley continued his build up to this year’s Isle of Man TT races with an outing in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship at Oulton Park over the Bank Holiday weekend and it proved to be a solid outing with 31st-place the outcome.
After previous outings this year at Oulton and Darley Moor, the weekend marked Daley’s first appearance in this year’s Superstock 1000 Championship with the rest of the field having already had three races at round one.
But he went about his task in a professional manner and steadily improved throughout the weekend.
Indeed, after placing 31st on the Kawasaki ZX-10R in Saturday’s first free practice session, he improved his lap time by more than two seconds later in the afternoon to move up to 24th and although he slipped back to 27th during Sunday’s solitary qualifying session, he reduced his lap time by almost a second once more to lap just a tenth outside of his personal best around the 2.69-mile circuit.
However, the good weather of Sunday was replaced by damp and cooler conditions for Monday’s race, which was cut from 18 to laps to 14, and represented a whole new
challenge to both Daley and the other 39 riders on the grid.
An excellent start saw him complete the opening lap in a superb 20th place and although he slipped back slightly as the race wore on, conditions were extremely tricky as the rain returned in the closing stages. Indeed, rather than risk a crash, he erred on the side of caution to bring the bike home in a solid 31st position.
Daley said: “I’m happy enough with how the weekend’s gone and although I would obviously have liked to have finished higher up, conditions were really tricky and the last thing I wanted to do was crash given how close the TT is to us now.
“The bike’s a handful around Oulton but I moved forward all the time during practice and qualifying although the damp weather on Monday changed everything for everyone.
“I made a really good start to the race but by about the third or fourth lap, I had no grip at all so I was sliding around a lot out there. I dropped back a bit but really enjoyed the race and can really look forward now to the TT.”
Practice for the Isle of Man TT Races gets underway on the 37.73-mile Mountain Circuit on Saturday, May 25.
Daley added: “Race day was mixed conditions and as every other road racer I had the Isle of Man TT in the back of my mind so wanted to make sure I get to the finish and do nothing stupid.
“I got a good start and was up to 20th place at the end of the first lap. After lap three or four the wet tyres had overheated on the dry sections of the track and was struggling with grip and the bike was spinning up and sliding.
“Now it’s less than three weeks before the first night of practice in the Isle of Man and I can’t wait for it.”