After a winter spent rebuilding the team’s broken CBR600RR following a crash at The Manx GP, the Dilligaf Racing team headed to Mallory Park for the first round of this year’s EMRA Championship at the weekend.
Still nursing a knee injury from the Manx which has kept him off the bike for 7 months, Steve slowly built up his speed in the drizzly conditions during practice on the CBR1000RR SP, and as the track dried Steve’s confidence quickly returned.
Heavy rain fell overnight, so the first job of the morning was to fit a set of ContiRaceAttack Rain tyres to the Blade as Steve prepared to mount a challenge in both the Superstock 1000 and Buildbase Superbike Trophy.
During Sunday morning’s practice session the rain started to come down hard, with the track becoming extremely greasy as a result, making the first qualifying session a lot of fun for everyone involved.
Starting from 8th of the grid, Steve had his work cut out in the opening race, especially as the sun started to appear, threatening to start drying the track. A great start saw Steve jump up to 3rd going into Gerrards, but with the immense pain in his knee caused by a cyst, an aftermath of his incident at the Manx GP last year, Steve could not hold his hot spot for long and soon drifted back into 6th overall and 4th in class. On the penultimate lap, aware he had a 675 hot on his heals, Steve sensibly moved over to let the Triumph pass, knowing it would make no difference to his championship as the other bike was in a different class. However, a mistake saw the rider wipe out Steve at the hairpin leaving him with a broken finger and some cosmetic damage to the Fireblade!
The first Buildbase Superbike Trophy race saw Steve line up on the grid with 27 other riders, including BSB new-boy Brad Ray. The weather had improved, so Steve switched back to his favoured ContiRaceAttack Comp rubber and he bagn to pick off riders one-by-one to finish 4th overall, and 3rd in class to get on the Superbike podium despite the broken finger.
Courtesy of his DNF in the opening Superstock race, Steve started the second contest right at the back of the grid. An excellent start saw Steve jump up to 5th, and come out of Gerrard’s in 3rd. Once again fighting through the pain, he gritted his teeth and fought his way up to 3rd overall, and 2nd in class, to get some valuable points on the board at the second time of asking.
The final race of the day was the second Superbike race. This time Steve started on the second row of the grid, and he quickly climbed up into 3rd in the early stages. Towards the end of the race, despite his best efforts, BSB rider Brad Ray and last year’s Supersport winner Will Shaw both slipped past to put Steve in 5th overall, and 4th in class. With 18 points after round one, Steve sits 3rd in the Superbike championship and will look to improve on that in round two next month.
Image credits to Steve Snelling.
Find out more about the Continental race tyre range here.