Another memorable weekend in this seasonâ€™s Metzeler 600 Superstock National Championship saw Tim Hastings score his first points of the season, but once again it was also a weekend of frustration for the 17 year old Falkirk rider.
With Tim really starting to get to grips with the Team Green Kawasaki ZX6R - and the fact that he had won a MRO Supersport race at Snetterton in March during pre season testing - Team Twister headed to Snetterton confident of a good result.
As so often in the past however, things didnâ€™t go exactly to plan. Tim pitted during Fridayâ€™s first practice session complaining that a â€œvagueâ€ front end was giving him no feedback and causing him to run wide. When a fault with the front forks was discovered, Gearlink Kawasaki loaned the team a spare set and Tim went into the first qualifying session expecting some quick times. However, the wind had picked up considerably and his gearing was found to be too long - so long that Tim wasn't even getting into 6th gear - and he was left languishing in 31st place, still a long way off the times he knew he could do.
With the front end and gearing issues resolved, the team looked forward to the second qualifying session on Saturday morning, only for the session to be cancelled due to a problem with the circuit surface. This was a major blow as Tim was certain he would have improved considerably had the session gone ahead. Instead, the 600s were allowed a fifteen minute free practice session ahead of the re-scheduled Knockhill race - during which Tim improved his time and declared himself happy with the bike for the first race of the double header weekend.
Tim started the Knockhill race in P20 and got off to an excellent start, only just avoiding a multiple rider pile up which saw him hit from behind and led to him losing several places as he ran wide. Tim completed lap one in 22nd place and settled into an impressive race pace, posting a best time of 1.10.3 (1.5 seconds faster than his qualifying time). Tim's speed and determination allowed him to catch and pass several riders and work his way into a very creditable 11th place by the end of the 15 lap race - netting his first points of the season and a very memorable result for the entire team.
The team then looked forward to the Sunday race and, even though Tim would be starting in 31st place (on the 8th row), with his new found confidence and pace he was sure of a top twenty result and possibly more championship points.
It wasn't meant to be though as the weekend's mechanical gremlins struck again! Tim felt a problem with the clutch on the warm up lap and was in two minds whether to retire the bike or not. Electing to take the start, he lined up in his grid position and got off to a flyer, running as high as P22 before being forced to retire to the pits on lap three with a badly slipping clutch. Although gutted with the race outcome, Tim and the team left Snetterton full of confidence from the progress that had been made. Tim is now demonstrating the kind of pace that will give him a chance of scoring points in every race and he has the confidence gained from knowing within himself that he can deliver on the 600.
Team Twister could not have achieved this success without the help of a great number of people, specifically those who continue to fund Tim's race season, and sincerest thanks go to all those who donated to the "Twister..........Powered by Fans" campaign and managed to come and see the team at Snetterton; Gary Wright, Karl Robinson, Mick Simms, Tina Mason and Mick Eagle.
Thanks also to Tony & Janet Sladdin who have come to the rescue and, together with all other supporters, have collectively ensured that Tim will race on at least for the next few rounds.
Continued thanks to Gibsons, Evadne, TCX boots, Shark Helmets, MCS Scotland, Murray's Motorcycles, Knox and NGK.
Finally, thanks too to Michael and all the Gearlink Kawasaki team who continue to support Tim in his efforts to succeed at this level - it simply wouldn't be possible to race without all the help the team receives.
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