SorryMate rider Kurt Wigley completed his rookie season in the Dickies British Supersport class with another finish in the points in the final race at Brands Hatch.
The result means he concludes the year in 15th position overall in the Championship with a tally of 83 points, including eight top 10 finishes, producing his best result of sixth at Snetterton back in July.
The weekend began well as Kurt carefully negotiated the early phases of FP1 with the track in a damp condition before posting the fourth quickest lap time after a dry line appeared.
However, it seemed the team had peaked too early as FP2 was riddled with problems due to an incorrect gearing change that caused difficulty finding power on the exit of turns.
The issues continued into qualifying as Kurt almost lost the front on numerous occasions when entering the first and final turn. In addition, the team were struggling to find a solution to the bike running excessively wide on the exit of fast corners.
This meant Kurt was at a disadvantage to the rest of the field with a lack of speed and stability, meaning he was forced to settle for 15th on the grid for Saturday afternoon’s sprint race.
Several changes were made to the bike by the crew in a bid to improve performance and they appeared to have paid off when Kurt stormed out of the blocks and made a number of positions.
But it wasn’t long before the bad luck struck once again, with the bike suffering progressive brake fade. And the race came to an abrupt end for the Sorrymate team when Kurt failed to slow down enough on the entrance to turn four and crashed out having lost the front.
Despite avoiding serious damage to bike and rider, Saturday’s DNF led to a lowly 19th place grid position for the feature race, so the team elected to make a further gearing change along with alterations to the front suspension and engine braking.
Kurt took a more careful approach to ensure he completed the race and maintained a smooth line throughout as he rose up to 11th to continue his streak of finishing in the points at every circuit since the third round at Oulton Park.
This signals positive progress for the team in their first season in the Supersport class as they battled early DNFs and technical issues to achieve some tremendous results along the way, which bodes well for further success in 2018.
It has been another positive weekend for SorryMate rider Kurt Wigley as he amassed nine points from the two races at the famous Brands Hatch circuit.
Kurt got his two best results of the season
Kurt achieved his best two results of the season in the previous round at Snetterton after earning eighth and sixth-placed finishes. He continued that form with another strong showing. Friday Practice highlighted the significant progress being made. Kurt ended the first session relatively disappointed with the 10th spot as he struggled to find confidence in the front grip through the fast sweeping turns.
A plan of improvement was established for FP2. The SorryMate crew produced an improved bike as Kurt went almost half a second quicker. Although he remained in 10th place by the end of the session. However, this only emphasises the competitive nature of the Supersport class.
A dilemma struck the tea,
Further analysis of the data obtained in FP2 provided the team with a dilemma. They had to make a choice. They could make a gearing change in a bid to improve top speed. Alternatively, they could act conservative and stick with the current setup that was causing a 6mph deficiency.
After careful consideration, the team elected to make the changes to the bike. However, they were prepared in pit lane to reverse them during the qualifying session if the new approach proved unsuccessful.
Rain meant the team had less time to prepare
With rain scheduled for the second half of the session, it was important to post quick times early on. On top of this, Kurt had to get used to a new gear setup. However, he performed admirably to make consistent improvements each lap. Kurt lifted himself into a solid ninth position when the heavens opened. It was a very impressive effort after the series of disruptions during practice.
Saturday afternoon’s sprint race was reduced to a 10-lap dash due to the miserable conditions at Brands Hatch and once the race got underway, Kurt’s lack of wet weather preparation was on full display.
Competing in his first ever wet session on the SorryMate Supersport machine, Kurt got trapped on the inside of the circuit on turn two behind another rider on the wrong tyre choice. His frustrations continued following a string of mistakes to push him down the order in 18th after just two laps.
Kurt pushed through the pack
However, the SorryMate rider quickly settled himself and began to push through the pack and into the points. As a result, he managed to salvage an 11th place finish. Having shown good pace in the sprint race and with improved weather conditions, the team approached Sunday’s feature race in high spirits. The Yamaha R6 was in the thick of the action from the first corner.
Plenty of overtaking took place throughout the race during a competitive battle to get into the top 10. Despite this, Kurt’s hard work was undone when he hit a false neutral entering an 80mph corner. As a result, this caused the bike to lock up, almost resulting in a crash.
Kurt had to defend his place
Kurt was then pushed back into the group behind. It seemed to be a hugely difficult task to avoid slipping further down the field. However, yet again he overcame adversity and set a personal best lap time to end the race. This beat his qualifying effort by half a second, to defend his 12th position.
The team are pleased to take nine points from the weekend in spite of the issues with the bike and further investigations will be undertaken to pinpoint the fault and resolve the issue before the next round at Thruxton.
Elsewhere, Sorrymate’s other rider Matt Wigley has undergone an operation to cement his broken vertebrae as he continues his road to recovery and is hoping for a return to the track soon.
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The new British Superbikes season is three rounds in and Sorrymate riders Kurt and Matt Wigley have already been making significant improvements in their respective classes.
Kurt produced a top 10 finish in his third race weekend in the Supersport Championship at Oulton Park, while Matt broke into the teens in the Superstock 1000 at the same event.
The 2017 campaign kicked off at Donington Park and both twins were forced to overcome adversity, with Matt carrying a shoulder injury and Kurt failing to record a lap in the first practice session due to a severe mechanical issue.
This problem led to a change to a standard Superstock engine, but the wet conditions levelled out the field, enabling Kurt to record an impressive 15th position in qualifying.
Matt’s luck was less positive after initially climbing to 17th out of 46 competitors as he lost the front under braking at the Melbourne Loop which forced him out of the remainder of the session.
This proved to be costly as a dry line appeared, meaning he dropped to 30th for Saturday afternoon’s first 100 mile race of the season for the Superstock 1000 class, which consisted of two 50-mile stints separated by a short pit stop for tyre changes and refuelling.
A mechanical issue then pushed Matt to last on the grid for the start of the race, but his speed was on full display as he made his way through the field, eventually just missing out on points in his maiden race on the new 1000cc Kawasaki, bringing home a 16th place finish. However, part two of the race proved less fruitful as technical faults caused a DNF.
Sunday was Kurt’s turn to take centre stage and he notably over-performed with the weaker engine by taking an aggressive approach on the brakes, crossing the line in 16th despite giving up 10mph in top speeds on the long straights in comparison to his other competitors.
Following a promising first weekend, the Sorrymate Racing team headed to Brands Hatch for three Supersport and two Superstock races.
Kurt completed his first ever session on the Supersport bike in fine form in 13th position, but Matt’s preparations were hampered by technical difficulties after a software update on the ZX10R.
And this time it was Kurt’s turn to crash out of qualifying after he lost the front while attempting a later braking marker in a bid to climb into the top 10.
Kurt struggled in the first sprint race as he finished 21st following a slow start off the line due to issues with the clutch that pushed him down the order, but he soon showed his class in the second race on the Indy track, battling his way through the pack to secure an improved 16th position.
Meanwhile, Matt also displayed his ability to overtake as he climbed from 35th on the grid to 27th, tackling treacherous conditions that eventually caused the race to be red flagged.
Both riders were again in action on the Bank Holiday Monday. Kurt made a spectacular start to reach 13th by the end of the first lap, but a restart was required following a red flag.
Unfortunately, clutch issues again cost Kurt time and he was then forced off-line at the hairpin, but he showed great determination to recover back to a respectable 18th.
Matt had a similarly disappointing getaway, but likewise managed to claw back positions before fighting with a considerable loss of rubber on the tyres late on to gain a second 27th place finish of the weekend.
The third round of the season saw the Sorrymate team visit Oulton Park and both riders were in positive mood.
Kurt was in particularly good form, recording 13th and 11th placed finishes in his two practice sessions as he eyed the top 10 spot that he’d been craving.
Matt also made great strides in practice on the awkward ZX10, cutting a second off his lap time in the second session.
However, Kurt’s sprint race ended early as he charged towards a pack of five riders, losing the front in the middle of the first chicane and crashing out.
Matt fared much better as he worked his way through the field from 33rd on the grid to 20th inside four laps, but after a red flag, he was forced to begin the restart from the back following a mechanical issue in pit lane.
Despite this, he took the setback in his stride and went on a rampage on the slippery surface, eventually launching his way back up to a terrific 19th.
The Sorrymate team’s morale boost didn’t end there as Kurt recovered from an early error in his feature race and rose up the pack into 10th.
He was in hot pursuit of ninth but took the chequered flag around half a second behind, although the top 10 finish is a stunning achievement so early into the season.