From Goodwood to Cheshire and crashing down to earth with a bang.
With less than a week passing since Rushers Racing joined VrDMotorsport at the World Famous Goodwood Festival of Speed, Oulton Park’s Round 5 of the Thundersports 600 Elite Championship arrived with a bang.
Rushers Racing arrived at the 2.66mile International Circuit, based in Cheshire, with a slender lead in the points standing over main title rival Charlie Morris.
Confidence in the camp was high as Jordan has been electric so far this year with Snetterton being his stand out performance so far giving him a deserved lead heading into this double points race weekend.
But the consistency of Morris, plus a charging Aaron Clifford is making sure this championship is looking more likely to be decided on the final race weekend between a group of elite up and coming racers pushing each other all the way for top dog status.
Qualifying shows the importance of safety gear.
Qualifying began early on Friday and all was going well with Jordan, during the opening laps, already in the top 6 times against a very strong field of riders.
Jordan posted his quickest time of 1.43.565 on lap 6, less than a second from Pole and knowing he could get more if he pushed on.
As we know, Jordan is riding his bike to the limit and beyond to keep pace with the quicker bikes and the fine line between maximum control and loss of traction was crossed as he headed into Druids on Lap 7 losing the front end which sent the bike into a catastrophic role. Jordan left the bike in good time and took a slide on the tarmac off track at a very high speed.
The resulting incident saw Jordan with some battle scars and a bike that looked like it had been run through a scrap metal crusher. Rushers Racing Team Boss Nigel and the fantastic service crew, had some work to do!
A long night ensued and all parts were replaced to bring the Yamaha R6 back to something near, however the front shocks fitted were now stock due to not having any race spec spares and there was also some significant damage to the wiring circuit.
Some support from the paddock meant the wiring could be pieced together somewhere near but something didn’t seem right from the off, this would become apparent the following day.
Race Day comes with damage limitation and points to win
Jordan took the option to run laps during the warm up early on Saturday and things became clear that the bike was not going to give him the feeling he needed to ride his usual race style.
Ending the session in P43 with a time ten seconds slower than quali was more a reflection on getting a feel for the handling of the repaired bike rather than pushing it to its limits at this stage.
Jordan was confident though and, knowing he was to sit on Row 2 for the race, he knew that with a good start keeping on the tail of the front runners, he had a chance to remain ahead of rival Morris.
The first race came and Jordan pushed as hard as he could in the opening corners but soon felt the bike was not going to give him the grip he can usually rely on with a standard front set up.
He could only watch as Aaron Clifford rode another stellar race pushing the top 3 all the way to a fine 4th place and eventually seeing Charlie Morris come past to finish in P8 and take the points he needed to close in on the championship lead.
Positively Jordan showed a consistent approach to the race and came through each lap only 5 seconds slower than his qualifying time meaning he could finish an astonishing P12 and grab a handful of points to show coming back out was the right thing to do.
Race 2 ends the weekend with a neutral view on a weekend to reflect on.
Coming off had taken its toll on Jordan and he knew he could have achieved much more but had performed with the greatest of spirits to ensure his season was not damaged as much as his bike had been the previous day.
Set up changes were made prior to coming out for the second race and Jordan, once again, had the fire in his belly to perform to the best of his ability with the challenging circumstances that he could not have avoided.
The same story of Race 1 came about but this time the lap times would drop into the 2 minute bracket as the wiring demons from the crash took its toll on the ignition system. With the bike handling below par and now running on 3/4 of the stock power at his disposal, Jordan would come home in P13 and manage to consolidate a trying weekend with much needed championship points that will make all the difference over the year.
Jordans closest rival, Charlie Morris, would take advantage of the weekend pushing as hard as he could, knowing the championship lead would be his reward. A fantastic P4 finish means Morris left Oulton Park 10 points clear of Jordan and momentum heading into the final races of the year.
Aaron Clifford once again rode well into a P6 finish to put pressure on the top 2 in the championship to ensure the battle over the final four races will be one to savour, and the victor will finish the year as a deserved champion on what has so far been an incredible season.
We leave with a sense of reflection but look back on last weekends chance meeting with Carl Fogarty at Goodwood. Carl’s early years proved that you do not have to be on the top step of the podium every race to win the championship. The 1993 season was the beginning of his era as a factory Ducati rider. He battled with Scott Russell for the title, winning 11 races to the American’s five, but losing out on consistency (Russell came 2nd twelve times compared to Fogarty’s two) to finish behind him.
Jordan had a very similar fate last year after his severe accident left him too far behind the competition to become champion after an incredible start to the 2015 season.
In 1994 two factors came together to build on the successes of the previous season for Carl Fogarty. Like Jordan is this year, Fogarty was fit and hungry for the title, having been so close the previous season. He missed the Hockenheim races with a broken wrist, but fought back to beat Russell to take the championship. Jordan will see the rise of Fogarty during the 94 season as one of hope that consistency over the remaining races this year combined with the right mix of hunger will give him the best chance to return to the top of the championship when the points are tallied up and the champion is crowned.
As usual we would like to thank all of our sponsors and team for making this possible but a special mention has to go out to Merlin for the race leathers that kept Jordan protected during his crash and Daytona boots for keeping Jordans feet from any injury whatsoever. Crash Safety is paramount in Motorsport and with Dave V crashing badly at Abingdon Rally only a few weeks back, everyone at VrDMotorsport and Rushers Racing have a lot to thank for with finding the right partners to ensure all of our competitors are kept safe in the worst situations.
We are lucky to be supported by some great national companies, who offer financial backing for our racing costs throughout the 2016 season. To all these companies we can not thank you enough for contributing to Jordan’s future progress, and we hope you all feel part of our racing team.
-See more at: http://www.jordanrushby.co.uk
-Photo Credits in this article go to the incredibly talented photographer Colin Port of Colin Port Images.