For the fast ones
Busy year ahead as MAGSPORT Racer Alex Gault prepares for the National 600 Super Stock Championship.
MAGsport racer Alex Gault has had a busy few months in the off season! Alongside training hard for the 2008 season Alex has also joined the Air Training Cadets and has spent the winter flying gliders, radio controlled planes and shooting rifles! All part of a growing lad's life experience!
His performance last year when racing his 600 Super Sport machine had attracted the attention of a few teams with a view to running him in 2008. One offer from a Scottish Supporter would have seen Alex take to the track in the same Super Sport class this year in the Scottish Championship again. However News of the reintroduced Junior Super Stock at the British Super Bike Championships caught Alex' eye and that's where he wanted to be. Luckily for us Stuart Tromans of ASTRO KAWASAKI had noticed Alex' results and invited him down to race at 'The Race Of The Year.' The annual event hosted by Mallory Park attracts a very strong field of Super Bikes every year and has seen the Scottish youngster line up on the same grid as BSB riders Cal Crutchlow, Scott Smart. Billy McConnell, James Haydon & Tristan Palmer. No one would disagree if it was said; the rookie Gault was way out of his depth.
In free practice for the event, an electrical fault stopped the youngster's engine bringing the bike to a halt before Alex could even complete one lap. This was a disaster as most of the teams had been practicing there that week. Gault who had travelled down to the circuit overnight has had very little time on this circuit, in fact it was on a MAG Sport track day back in 2006, when he tested his CB500.
Electrical gremlins once again stopped Gault's engine in the second practice session, again after only a few corners. This time the failure led to the fault being pinpointed and the team surrounding him were able to rectify the cause of the problem just in time for Qualifying.
Alex' inexperience of the track resulted in him setting the slowest time of the session and meant he would be starting from the back of the grid in the 'Race of the Year'.
Gault had one more chance to learn part of the track in race one 'The Alamo Trophy' race, an up to 1300cc open to all race, where the big bikes were out in force.
This whole meeting for Gault was a last minute decision and with Alex being a late entry he also started from the back row of the grid for this race, which had attracted a mixed entry of 1000cc, 600cc and 250Gp bikes.
As the lights went out to start race one of the day, Alex, who again was the youngest competitor in the race; got a flyer and entered the first corner, 'Gerard's' in15th place from the 20 starters. He worked his way up to 8th on the final lap when an inspired move on the Yamaha R6-mounted Paul Hinchcliffe at the chicane saw him move up to 7th. The12 lap race was stopped instantly however, when the red flags came out and the result was taken back a lap so Alex was demoted to 8th in the final standings.
On to the big one of the day and with Alex took up his slot in 25th place on the grid. He was directly in front Dane Hallet Kawasaki 1000, Dean Hipwell Suzuki 1000 and Jenny Tinmouth on none other than Chris Walker's, Rizla Suzuki Super Bike.
Of more interest to us were the Super Sport machines of David Paton (Virgin Media) and Kev Coghlan (UK1) who had qualified 16th and 19th respectively.
In the very exciting race won by Rizla Suzuki's Cal Croutchlow, Alex did very well, coming from the last row of the grid (P25) and splitting the pair of highly spec' Super Sport machines to come home in 15th place with Kev on the UK1 R6 in 14th and David on the Virgin Media R6 16th.
After a 20 lap race which took 18 minutes to complete, the three were separated by only two seconds. (To be truthful not a lot can be read into finishing order in any race where there is such a mixture in performance of bikes; it is not a true reflection on ability as obviously the more powerful bikes are much quicker in a straight line. It was for us what it was, a nice way to end Alex' rookie's year on 600's in glorious weather. Despite the problems earlier in the day it was a very enjoyable meeting!
We watched Alex' races very carefully from an excellent vantage point and were very pleased with his performance. To be with Kev and David with the machines and setups they had, as compared to what we had was nothing short of astounding!
Alex' performance also impressed Stuart Tromans of ASTRO KAWASAKI and an offer followed to ride the ASTRO bike in the National Super Stock 600 Championships (The New Name for Junior Super Stocks).
Over the next few months we considered all the options and considered the costs involved. Although it is going to be a struggle I am very happy to say we had to give Alex the opportunity and accepted Stuart's offer. It got better as Kawasaki rewarded ASTRO's efforts over the past few years by making them the Official Kawasaki Super Stock team.
Alongside Alex on the 600, Kenny Gilbertson will contend the National 1000cc Championship and making up the team will be 15 year old Shaun Winfield in the 125 Gp Class.
Things progressed quickly and we already have the new Kawasaki ZX6R being prepared and are looking forward to the most competitive year of racing for Alex ever!
Keep up with the news on Alex web site at www.minimotoracer.com and if any of you are interested in joining the adventure contact with Alex on 07805 130 801.