Ryan Strafford the Thundersport GB 2014 Streetfighter champion has moved up a class to race in the Golden Era Superbikes for 2015, riding a 1000cc Honda RC-51 V-twin machine backed by Continental Tyres.
The first round of the 2015 Thundersport GB series was held at the Kent based Brands Hatch circuit over the weekend of 6th, 7th & 8th of March in near perfect conditions. The Golden Era Superbike series is strongly contested between 4 cylinder and twin cylinder machines manufactured upto the year 2000.
RS Racing started the 2015 seasons with 4 very strong finishes at the Kent based Brands Hatch.
Friday’s free practice saw a lot of hard work for the team as they experimented with different settings trying to find the right balance of power and stability. Team manager Chris Strafford: “It’s a new bike to the team and we have no base settings to work from, we have to rely on Ryan’s feedback from any changes we make”
Saturday morning Ryan put in an impressive qualifying time to put the RC-51 on the second row of the grid in 4th place.
In both of the two afternoon races Ryan finished in a very credible 4th place, battling it out lap after lap with 3 other riders to come out on top of the chasing bunch and be the top V-twin rider. Ryan commented “The racing was very close and I was pushed all the way. We have some thinking to do Saturday evening to get us on the podium.”
Sunday was even closer racing. In the first race of the day Ryan closed rapidly on the rider in 3rd position, ran out of laps and had to settle for another 4th place by a little over 0.7 seconds. “We’re getting closer, I can smell a podium now” Ryan grinned commented.
For the last race of the weekend, working in partnership with Continental Tyres the team made a few adjustments to the bike and the tyre pressures. Following a great start Ryan crossed the line after the first lap in 3rd place with several bikes in hot pursuit, by lap 5 he had dropped to 5th with a badly misting visor hampering his visibility. Two laps later and a clear visor, Ryan was up to 4th chasing down the other V-Twin in the pack, a brave last lap last corner undertake saw him hold off the other V-Twin to land his first podium of the year with a hard earned 3rd place.
Ryan said “I’m over the moon for the whole team and our sponsors. I’ve worked the team really hard this weekend and there is no better way to repay them than by coming home with some silverware. It was a crazy battle for the full 12 laps and the last corner move was a bit gutsy but fortune favours the brave. The Continental Tyres offered me so much grip from the front end I could push the front hard from the start of the race to the last lap with no compromise in tyre longevity. I got my elbow down for the first time, mid race, which came as a surprise. The feedback I got from the Conti slicks was amazing, I could trail brake hard into the apex of every corner allowing me to make time up over the straight 4 cylinder bikes. I am definitely feeling more confident now going into the next round at Donington.”
Chris Strafford finished by saying “The important thing is Ryan was quicker in every race, which means the changes we were making was taking us in the right direction. The help from Continental is vital to the progress in developing the RC-51 and ultimately our assault on the 2015 championship. We have some work to do between now and the next round in April to fix some weak points on the bike but overall i’m very happy with this weekends result.”
All photo credits to Ian Boldy Superbike Photography.
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