MOTORCYCLING: Clarke claims bonus time

ON TRACK: Aaron Clarke (5) finished 21st at Oulton Park with the bonus of a fastest lap. Photo: ADRIAN SMITH
ON TRACK: Aaron Clarke (5) finished 21st at Oulton Park with the bonus of a fastest lap. Photo: ADRIAN SMITH
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Kirton rider Aaron Clarke took the positives after an action-packed weekend for draperRACING at Oulton Park.

He finished 21st in the stock 600 class as team-mate Tommy Philp came 21st and 19th in the British Supersport races.

Clarke was hoping for a repeat performance of Cadwell Park where he took seventh place.

He posted some fast laps, recording his personal best 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 then 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.

Clarke 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.

He 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.”

The weekend began with a dislocated shoulder for 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 Philp went 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 at the end of the 12-lap affair in 19th position.

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.

The next round is being staged at Donington Park from Friday to Sunday.

In the Supersport class there are two free practice sessions on Friday at 9.35am and 2.45pm.

On Saturday qualifying is at 11.05am and a 10-lap sprint race at 5.20pm. There is a short warm-up on Sunday ahead of the 18-lap feature race at 3.40pm.

The Superstock 600 riders have a free practice on Friday at 9am followed by first qualifying at 2.10pm.

Final qualifying takes place on Saturday at 11.45am and on Sunday there is a short warm-up at 9am ahead of the 14-lap race at 12.35pm.