A breezy and very wet Knockhill Circuit in Scotland bore witness to a race weekend full of incident with the NMT No Limits Kawasaki team in the thick of the action.
Jordan Weaving and Nick Anderson both battled admirably against the elements as others around them succumbed to the slick conditions to finish inside the top ten in the Superstock 600 race. Their ambitions of pressing further ahead though were curtailed as the race was red flagged after just 14 laps with conditions worsening.
Earlier in the day, James East was extremely unfortunate to suffer a mechanical failure that meant he missed out on a top ten finish of his own in the Superstock 1000 race, a result which would have been the least that his pace across the weekend had deserved.
Things had got off to a decent start for the Team Green outfit, Weaving was within 0.7seconds of the quickest time of the opening session before then stepping up the pace further and then taking a provisional fifth spot on the grid by the end of the first day. Qualifying brought quicker laps for Weaving as he was to improve by almost two seconds from Q1, which put him on the second row for the start of the race.
A little further back, Anderson was taking his time to adjust to his new ZX-6R on Friday but showed glimpses of what he was capable of going into the second day with promise of more to come. At the end of qualifying that positive outlook saw the number 47 improve his best time by an impressive six seconds to qualify in 12th place just 0.5 seconds off pole position and just 0.2 behind his teammate.
As the Superstock 600 race got underway, rain started to fall in what was already damp conditions. The front five got away and gapped the chasing pack that included both Anderson and Weaving. But Max Alexander, Matt Wigley and Taz Taylor all came together at the final hairpin at the end of lap five after which both NMT No limits riders benefitted from, putting Weaving into 6th position and Anderson into 9th. At the halfway point, Anderson had slipped ahead of his teammate into 7th place and looked to bear down on 6th spot but the rain continued to fall as conditions began to worsen. The pair again swapped places as the final third of the race began, but the precipitation got worse and race direction brought out the red flag to bring proceedings to a halt.
“I didn’t get the best of starts and ended up being behind the leading group which wasn’t ideal.” Weaving said. “It was that point really I just had to finish with as many points as I could.
“There was no much more we could have done from the weekend. The positives are that once again we were able to run with the guys at the front and we can take that into Snetterton.”
Weaving was pleased for his teammate who also finished in the top ten, and he hopes it’s something that can continue moving forward.
“I'm happy for my teammate and we work well together sharing data. We have a strong relationship and we will be continuing to help each other out during the rest of the season.”
Anderson was a little disappointed that he couldn’t finish further forward but made big strides by the end of the weekend and has plenty of optimism for an even better result in round six.
“On Saturday we changed a number of things with the bike, different levers, different suspension set up, different gearing and completely different geometry. For a while I went to P6 and felt comfortable running that pace. I just needed to follow some faster lads through sector two where I was losing some time and if had been able to do that I would of been on for a front row start for sure.”
He continued: “I completely forgot how crazy the start of a stock 600 race was even in iffy conditions! After being 16th on lap one I managed to get away from the 3rd group and catch the group battling for 5th, I soon got amongst it but unfortunately the red flag came out whilst I was in 8th with no chance of a restart.
“I'm happy to have scored points but also disappointed because I feel like I could have gone with the front group if I hadn't been hemmed in at the start. But we are back on the points board and we showed we had the pace.”
James East steadily improved as the sessions progressed in the Superstock 100 class, from free practice into Qualifying 1 he picked up over a second and dropped his laptimes under the 51 second mark. The ultra competitive nature of the round was no better demonstrated by the top 15 being split by barely over a second. Only consistent laptimes were to present East with a more than creditable fourth row starting spot for the race, again just a second from the runners at the head of the pack giving the Cambridgeshire rider a decent platform to build upon on raceday.
From the off East got away quite well and picked up a few places before things settled down after a hectic couple of laps. The NMT No Limits Kawasaki ZX-10R was thick in the action with Fraser Rogers, Barry Teasdale, Ashley Beech and Dean Hipwell as a couple of bikes went down ahead of them and half way into the race 7th spot belonged to the number six as East slid by Hipwell. However, with just five laps remaining he was to be beset with a mechanical problem that was to end his race prematurely. Despite the frustration, East took the positives from a weekend that had seen him running well within the top ten.
“It was good on Sunday, although it seemed like the field were plagued by tyre problems as there were a lot of crashes and the pace was down a few tenths. But we were competitive and then we had a mechanical problem and it got to the point where I lost all drive so had to retire.” East said.
“But we showed that we are definitely going in the right direction and I honestly think that staying in the top seven was a real possibility.
"In preparation for the next round at Snetterton I will work on myself and my riding to make sure I am at my best, and at the same time, prepare a strategy for settings that I believe we now need to work on moving forward. I'd like to thank my team and supporters for their continued belief and support."