MOTORCYCLING: Aaron’s back on track with improvement on lap times

Aaron Clarke
Aaron Clarke
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The draperRACING team were back to full strength for the weekend’s racing at Snetterton with Aaron Clarke returning to the fold after missing the Knockhill round because of bike problems.

Tommy Philp recorded two fine results in the British Supersport class of 11th and ninth while Clarke was 10th in the Superstock 600 race and was invited to ride in the British Supersport race on Sunday where he finished in 12th place and was first in his class.

Tommy Philp

Tommy Philp

Due to lack of track time over the past few weeks, Kirton rider Clarke spent the free practice sessions reacclimatising himself with the bike and pulled out all the stops in qualifying to record ninth place and a place on the third row of the grid for Sunday’s 12-lap Superstock 600 race.

But as the race got under way, Clarke was pushed back to 11th in the rush to turn one and then had to take avoiding action when a bike blew its 
engine right in front of him.

He ran wide to avoid the incident and lost a lot of ground in the process.

He spent the remainder of the race playing catch-up and had moved through to ninth place on the penultimate lap.

But on the final lap he hit a false neutral and lost ground once again to finish the race in 10th position.

Clarke said: “But for that false neutral, I could have caught the two riders ahead of me and got up to eighth but it wasn’t to be.

“I did, however, improve on my lap times and was at least half a second faster than ever before.”

After the race, Clarke was invited to join the grid for a ride in the British Supersport Championship Feature race later in the day.

He was at a disadvantage as the Supersport bikes are more powerful but he decided to give it a go and see how he fared.

Starting from the back of the grid with another three stock riders, Clarke rode well to complete the race in 12th place and was the first of the stock bikes to cross the finish line.

Meanwhile, Philp was contesting the fifth round of the British Supersport Championship.

He completed qualifying in 17th place to start the 10-lap Sprint race from the sixth row.

He got away to a good, clean start and by the first sector was up into 14th position.

He became embroiled in a three-way battle for position with the Truelove twins and after swapping places with them during the 10 laps, he 
finally overcame both riders – passing Matt Truelove on the final lap to secure 13th place at the chequered flag.

But two of the riders who finished ahead of him were guest riders and not eligible for points so Philp was awarded 11th place.

Starting the Feature race from the sixth row, Philp was running in 14th position through the first half of the 15-lap affair but gradually made up ground to cross the finish line in 11th.

Again two guest riders ahead did not register in the points and Philp was awarded ninth place, his best ever result in the class.

He said: “I am delighted with that result – as well as being my best ever finish, I recorded my personal best lap time by a good half a second.

“Thanks to all at draperRACING for their hard work in bike preparation and all our sponsors and supporters, we have had a great weekend at Snetterton.”

The next round is at Brands Hatch on July 21-23.