Well what an end to the season at Donington park with a sixteen year old Jordan Gill from Scotland in the seat of the Phoenix Commercial Fleet Services Kawasaki ZX6R 600 supersport with the youngster riding a 600 for the very first time in his career!! Well this is how it progressed.
Test day Friday
A meet and greet with Jordan's Mum & Dad and then a fitting to the Machine first thing in the Morning.
Straight away it was evident to myself and Paddy this young lad had a good head on his shoulders, he was aware of the job in hand and came over very respectful well spoken, a credit to his parents and although broad Scottish we managed to understand each other on the whole I think!?
First session was a full wet and T.B.H I was worried for 16yr old Jordan having to cope with the 600’s handling, power delivery and first time on Dunlop wet tyres.
He managed quite well and slowly got to grips with the supersport machine and enjoyed the session setting what seemed to be mid pace on track, and he definitely had a smile for all the team back at the awning.
As the day went on he had an absolute baptism of fire with drying track on wets, damp track on a wet front and dry rear, and finally a very excited Jordan got a couple of dry sessions and starting in the 1m 15 secs he slowly improved getting a High 1m 13 secs in the last session and with a smile from ear to ear.
Tyre wear on the scrubs was that good Jordan was speechless and very excitedly expressed how good the drive out of corners was and how he loved the feeling whilst on the back wheel powering it up the straight with the expression of how he loved the response all over.
Jordan was steady away and set his best lap on lap 9 of 10 although he hit traffic on the last lap costing approx 6 tenths but still as I am sure many will agree 14th on the grid first time on a 600 and at this level isn't too bad.
He had done far more than we expected and was confident with the feel of the bike and its easy handling pace.
Jordan had a poor start due to lack of experience with the starts on the Kawasaki but very soon took 3-4 places on the first lap and getting to 12th going into lap two he managed to stay with the second group and by lap 12 had moved to 10th place which is 2 better than my forecast and expectations for the weekend.
A good strong ride again and still confident he had more to come even though he had just gone 2.4 secs faster than in his qualifying session, he again was happy with the bike handling and the tyres looked like we had just fitted them which proves his use of throttle and corner speed conserving the tyres.
All in all a very happy content young lad and as a team we could not be happier with his result.
With the Mega laps it saw Jordan start from 11th on the grid for a full wet race, and his first wet race on a 600 super sport exciting and tense times for the 16yr old.
Jordan moved to 8th by the 10th lap and eventually got seventh in his first ever 600 race and sixth fastest on track.
With a dry line this was another learning curve for our young rider Jordan as towards the end of the race he had to learn to control the power slides and understand how to get the best from the machine in such tricky conditions.
Jordan kept his position from the grid in the early laps but unfortunately an altercation on lap 4 dropped him to absolute last.
Jordan did not lose his cool and put some stunning laps together working his way through the traffic and set a lap giving him a top 3 time in the race finishers with his fastest lap of the race on lap 15 on scrub tyres.
Jordan saw 12th place in front of him and wanted the top 12 slot from the back of the grid and although he was already 3rd fastest in sector one he pushed his limits and became a member of the craner curves club on the last lap.
Jordan was very apologetic and on reflection knew he should have settled with his position, but as all racers know hindsight is a great thing, he came away with just a few bruises and although he ended with a very eventful crash this young lad never came into the awning looking scared worried or put off by any conditions the weekend threw at him and once we had had a chat and discussed what had happened I am sure and would hope he has put the incident behind him and will continue to progress with a team in the future at the same rate he did with us over the weekend.
Well done Jordan great ride, great feed back and Definitely brought a tear to my eye over the weekend, both myself, Paddy and Ian wish you a fantastic future within the sport.
Thanks to Thundersport GB for a great season, with the best, close organised racing in the U.K
To all the Marshalls and Medics for the Time and dedication that makes it possible for us all.
We would like to thank the following :-
Commercial Fleet Services
Ian Boldy Superbike Photography
Without your help, commitment and hard work this year would not have been possible.
See you all in the paddock next year
Jordan asked to ride the Phoenix Commercial Fleet Services Race Team Kawasaki ZX-6R for the last round at Donington park, He had competed in the Ducati Tri Options Cup in the British Superbike championship during the year and wanted to try our bike at the last Thundersport GB round, He quickly felt comfortable on the bike and his lap time started to reduce on every lap, I spoke to Jordan and he felt really comfortable on the bike but he admitted that more track time was needed after riding a Ducati all year.
The weekend progressed very well and the more time he spent on our bike the more comfortable he became, this reflected in his lap times as they steadily came down after every session.
The team principles weekend race report is below.
Weekend Report - Dave Ogden
Commercial Fleet Services