Always in the mix
Throttle-to-the-stop racing, crashing and burning the novice bib. It’s been a busy month for Rutter’s protégé...
THE LAST MONTH has been a big one. We got back off our family holiday and didn’t have any time for the postholiday blues to set in before I was at Brands Hatch for the Thundersport round that we’d added to the race schedule.
Maybe being out on the Med helped me acclimatise to heatwave Britain, because I rocked up on Saturday morning to race at the Indy Circuit, and qualified 11th on the grid out of 22 riders, without any practice.
Race one on the Saturday morning might have actually been wet because it rained earlier in the day. But it turned out to be dry, and I was really happy to bring the bike home in seventh place. Race two, later the same afternoon, was almost a carbon-copy of the first outing, right down to my finishing position.
But it was throwing down with rain for race three by the time we got to Sunday morning. Maybe some of Rutter’s wet weather prowess is rubbing off on me, because I was running in third place and closing in on second, shortly before I threw the bike at the scenery at Clearways... Another four guys chucked it away there during the race, including my mate Kyal Tinker – maybe they thought I was lonely in the gravel.
We had no option but to spectate for race four as the exhaust pipe was beyond repair, so it was a bit of a mixed bag. Needless to say, we had a load of repair work to do in the week before BSB at Thruxton.
We knew that was going to be a hard weekend as the Yamaha R3s are down on power compared to the Kawasaki Ninja 400s, so we really struggle on the faster circuits with the long straights. Those Kawasakis have a good 8-10mph advantage over us.
That didn’t stop me giving it all I could, though. The poor Yamaha’s throttle was more or less pinned for 99% of every lap. I qualified 20th out of 22 on the Saturday morning, in 17°C heat, but by the time the race started on the same afternoon, the temperature had risen to 27°C. It was sweltering, especially in black leathers.
I got off to a good start and had a great battle with Indy Offer, Jamie Le Masurier and Izaak Aldred, all on Yamaha R3s. We were swapping positions for the whole 10-lap race, but I eventually finished 19th behind all three of the other lads.
We had a long wait until race two, which wasn’t until 5.15pm on the Sunday, so because we were happy with the settings on the bike, we got to spend some time socialising and spectating for a change. I got off well again in the second outing, and it was a great close race with Indy and Jamie again. This time I finished in 18th, behind Indy but in front of Jamie.
It’s good to get used to dicing for results, and I’m building up a stack of track knowledge. And another good thing is that I’ve now completed my race card so now I can finally lose my bright orange novice bib!
Harris battles with Indy Offer (18) and Jamie Le Masurier (69) in the heat of Thruxton