MOTORCYCLING: Not the best of weekends for local racing team duo

Tommy Philp on track at Oulton Park. Photo: Dave Yeomans
Tommy Philp on track at Oulton Park. Photo: Dave Yeomans

It was not the best of weekends for draperRACING at Oulton Park but the two riders, Aaron Clarke and Tommy Philp, brought the bikes home safe and sound at the end of an action packed meeting – Tommy in 21st and 19th in the British Supersport races and Aaron 21st in the stock 600 class.

The weekend began with a dislocated shoulder for East Kirkby’s Philp, caused by simply turning over in bed! But after a trip to the local hospital for treatment, he was declared fit to race and began his free practice on Friday.

He was only on the track for a lap before encountering a problem with a sensor. With the problem rectified he went out for the second session later in the day and was immediately black flagged when the marshals noticed oil was leaking from his Yamaha.

After missing both free practice sessions, Tommy was to go into qualifying with little or no practice under his belt but he posted 18th to start the sprint race from the sixth row on Saturday. Lack of track time reflected in his performance as he was unable to progress but brought the bike home safely in 19th position at the end of the 12-lap affair.

Starting the 15-lap feature race from the eighth row, he got away to a fantastic start and was circulating within the top 15 riders. But as they approached Hizzy’s chicane, he was forced wide and ran on to rejoin in 27th place.

He got his head down and began to reel in the riders ahead, taking two on the second lap and another two on lap five to move into 23rd place. On lap 10, he was up to 22nd and on lap 12 he passed Ricky Tarren to move into 21st which he held to the chequered flag.

Meanwhile, Clarke was hoping for a repeat performance of Cadwell Park where he finished his race in seventh place. He posted some fast laps, recording his personal best ever lap around the undulating Cheshire circuit to claim 15th place and a race start from the fifth row.

He was away to a good start and up to 12th on the first lap but was embroiled in a battle for position with a large number of riders, and on lap five he was pushed wide and had to take the escape route around Hizzy’s chicane. He rejoined in 21st position but although he exchanged places with Matthew Wigley on a couple of occasions, he was unable to move forward and crossed the finish line in 21st place.

Aaron said: “I felt comfortable and was in a good position in the early laps but I was pushed out at Hizzy’s which annoyed me and lost me a lot of ground. In my effort to catch up I began to suffer from arm pump and it was all I could do to hold on to the finish.

“But taking the positives from the weekend, we found a good set up and I was faster than ever before at Oulton so that’s a bonus. It seems uncanny that we both got pushed off at Hizzy’s then both completed our races in 21st. But we brought the bikes back unscathed and gained more experience, so we have to be pleased with that.”

It’s a quick turnaround for the team as the next round is at Donington Park this weekend