MISFORTUNE COSTS APPLEYARD MACADAM RACING AT ASSEN
Team Appleyard Macadam Racing, supported by Doodson, was in Holland over the weekend for round 10 of the Motorpoint British Supersport championship. Still looking for his first Supersport podium of the year, Jake Dixon looked set to jump on to the box after taking the lead in the first race. However, a drying track and wet tyres saw him frustratingly drop back to sixth as the finishing line approached.
Previously free practice had showed that the weekend could bring a brace of good results with Dixon managing to finish the two sessions seventh quickest, despite never racing at Assen before. Estment’s Assen bad luck continued as the Johannesburg rider crashed out of the first session and only managing to scrape inside the top twenty in the final session.
Despite a poor weather forecast Saturday morning brought Dutch sunshine in time for qualifying. Dixon continued to work on the setup of the bike throughout the session and with two minutes remaining, on his penultimate lap, the Dover lad jumped up to the fourth row of the grid and eleventh place. This was just 1.6 seconds shy of the pole setter who blitzed the previous lap record. South African Estment crashed on his opening laps but, after getting the bike back to the garage via a public road, he managed to get back out and leap from a potential disaster of 43rd on the grid to 23rd place.
A heavy rain shower 30 minutes prior to the Supersport Sprint race getting underway created chaos in the paddock as riders and teams deliberated on what tyres to use. The track was bone dry in the first sector but very treacherous in sectors two and three, so Dixon chose to go for full wets. This decision appeared to pay off as he quickly battled his way through to fourth on the first lap. Dixon was proving once again he is one of the very best in wet conditions as he claimed third, second and then the lead. As the track dried out he tried to hold on but former champion Alistair Seeley got underneath him and began to pull away leaving him with the difficult task of lapping a dry circuit on wet tyres. Consequently he dropped back and out of podium contention, eventually crossing the line in sixth place, just three seconds adrift of a podium place. Estment struggled in the tricky conditions, coming across the line in 21st place.
A big crash in the morning warm-up for Sunday’s race left Dixon struggling. The talented teenager banged his head and hip hard and it clearly affected his ability to race. He struggled with top end speed but although he was far from full fitness he battled on gamefully to eventually come through and cross the line in eleventh place. Estment’s Dutch disappointment continued as he failed, once again, to pick up any championship points.
Commenting on his weekend Jake Dixon said: “I’m frustrated, once again, not to pick up that podium. We are pushing so hard and getting closer and closer but luck just hasn’t been on our side sometimes. Once again we proved how strong we can be in the wet. I was trying desperately hard for that elusive top three finish but racing on wet tyres, that have seen far better days, on a dry track is an impossible task. A big crash in warm-up left me pretty beaten up. I hit my head hard and I just had to bring her home. Two rounds, four races left and we’ll continue to work hard and hopefully be able to make that leap onto the box.”
Bjorn Estment commented: “Assen continues to be a bogey track for me. I adore the place, so much history and great for riders but I just can’t seem to get it right. Two DNFs last year and now no points this year. I just didn’t have the confidence to push hard all weekend and that’s why I ended up where I did. We’ll move forward, as we always do. I’ve enjoyed some good fortune at Silverstone and Brands so we’ll go there and look to finish the year with some strong results that are worth celebrating.”
The team now moves on to Silverstone for the penultimate meeting of the year in two weeks time.