CHRISSY Rouse kicked-off his 2018 season with three solid points finishes as the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship got underway at Donington Park.
The Geordie banked two sixth places in Easter Sunday’s back-to-back races, and then backed these up with a seventh as he returned to the track for a further 13-lap race on Easter Monday.
In his debut race weekend with the new Quinnstheprinters.com BMW by Team IMR squad, the Newcastle University student was hampered by a crash in qualifying, and started the first race from sixth on the grid.
In tricky conditions which included drizzle, Rouse rode around a small electrical issue to bring his machine home in sixth position, and then did the same again as the second race got underway just 10 minutes later.
Rouse made another solid start in Monday’s 13-lap-scrap and had hoped to cut his way through to the front. But as the pack battled in very damp conditions, he was disappointed to lose touch with the front group and eventually crossed the line seventh.
“I had a crash in free practice in the wet, and then on my fastest lap in qualifying I locked the rear up going into the Melbourne Hairpin and it flicked me over the handlebars, which meant I couldn’t get any higher up the grid than sixth,” he said.
“Then, on the sighting lap for the 100-miler, I realised we had an electrical issue and we had no time to fix it, so for both legs of the long race I had to try to ride around the problem.
“That sort of messed that race up, and my fastest lap was only good enough to qualify 10th for the Monday race.
“I got a good start and my plan was to settle into a rhythm behind the leading group and then just try and pick them off if I had the pace. But a few laps in I had some big moments and lost the tow with the front group and I just didn’t have the confidence to push on harder.”
While admitting he was a little disappointed not to score higher, Rouse returned home in the knowledge he had banked a solid haul of points, which have left him in seventh position in the title fight after the opening round.
But he has vowed to bounce back stronger when the championship heads to Brands Hatch in just over a week’s time, and is feeling optimistic about the season ahead.
“I decided it would be best to take what I could rather than risk another crash, and although I’m a bit disappointed, I am still confident in my pace to run at the front.
“I know we can push forward at the next race and I’m happy to have finished the weekend with three points finishes as these could prove very valuable as the season goes on.
“The results may not have been quite what I’d hoped for, but I really enjoyed my first weekend with Ian Moffitt and the rest of the team, and I’m looking forward to giving everyone more to cheer about at Brands Hatch.”