Tattershall racer Aaron Silvester endured a problematic day at Oulton Park when gearbox problems affected his results in the Thundersport GB 600 Sportsman Elite championship on Saturday, leaving him down in eighth and 11th in his two races.
Qualifying went well for the Lincolnshire rider, which was the major positive to be taken from the weekend as he showed his pace in the dry and recorded seventh in his class within a mixed grid of riders.
But when Aaron went out in morning warm-up, his bike began to suffer from gearbox problems. The team altered the gear lever in order to get more leverage for the first race, with the hope that it would cure the problem.
As the lights went out at the start of the first race on Saturday, Aaron got away to a good start gaining places as he sped towards the first corner. But he was running alongside a rider who was pushed out wide and he in turn pushed Aaron towards the grass. Although he recovered well, he had lost the places he had made up and was back to seventh once again.
As the race unfolded, the gearbox started to play up again, causing Aaron to run wide and lose places, but he persevered and crossed the finish line in eighth place, not where he wanted to be but at least he was able to finish. The bonus was that double points were on offer for race one and so Aaron picked up 16 championship points.
Aaron explained: “During the race, the gearbox problem occurred multiple times which when trying to change down to third or fourth, the bike struggled to find the gear and eventually locked up if I didn’t grab the clutch back in again quickly enough. This made it hard to put laps in, as every time it happened, I ran wide and lost places.
“I was circulating two seconds away from my qualifying time so something needed to be done to try and fix it, so we opted to try putting new clutch friction plates in to eliminate the problem.
“It was all we could do in the situation as anything more extreme would mean dropping the engine out and there was not enough time to do that in the time before the second race was due on track.”
Once the second race got underway, it became obvious the problem had not been resolved and Aaron struggled to hold the bike on track in the wet conditions. But he managed to get to the finish, although down in 11th position, to pick up a further five championship points.
Aaron commented: “Race two was wet and the new clutch did not solve the problem at all, so the problems with locking up were exaggerated dramatically due to the wet conditions. The bike was a death trap to ride, trying to throw me off every lap when changing down and I had to slow down a huge amount to change and then make it round corners.
“This caused me to take to the grass at one point which was extremely slippery but I managed to make my way back on to the track and made it to the finish line in the points.”
Aaron thanked everyone who supported him over the weekend: Stralia Race Tech, A & J Racing, Fuchs Silkolene, Pete and Ally Dalton, Andy Waters, Chores Hygiene Management, Oakwell Management Services, Dad, Mum, Max, Lucy, Tom Nixon, John Stones, and Helen Pask.
Considering the problems Aaron encountered, it was a good result and the points gained in the two races were sufficient for him to retain his fourth place in the championship.
The next round is at Rockingham over the weekend of July 29-31 when Aaron will have the gearbox replaced to seek some strong results and maintain his position in the rider standings.