CHRISSY Rouse is feeling buoyed up for the remainder of the 2019 Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship season after powering to two fourth place finishes and narrowly missing out on two podiums at Oulton Park.
The Geordie maths teacher was off the box by less than a tenth of a second in each race as he enjoyed two fierce battles at the sharp end of the action.
Following a successful test at Donington Park a week earlier, Rouse was only able to take advantage of one free practice session as heavy rain battered the Cheshire circuit on Friday morning, but was happy to qualify fourth for Saturday’s 12-lap race.
A good start moved him up to third on the opening lap and the Morello Racing Kawasaki rider held the place until lap five, when he was passed by Luke Hedger.
But Rouse was determined not to let his rival get away and kept close behind him, challenging him all the way and moving ahead briefly on the final lap, only to be passed again to finish a mere 0.60secs adrift in fourth.
For Sunday’s 14-lap race, Rouse lined up sixth and had another smooth getaway, jumping up to fifth in the first lap and fourth on lap two as he closed in on the top three.
Getting right on the back wheel of Lee Jackson – and just half a second behind leader Richard Cooper – Rouse kept in close contact and the pair swapped positions several times. Rouse was sitting third as they started the last lap but Jackson struck back with another move.
The Geordie decided to aim for a move to retake the place on the final corner but was thwarted when Taylor Mackenzie overshot Hizzy’s chicane and rejoined in between them. Once again, he finished in fourth place, beaten to the podium by just 0.183secs.
“The races were exciting and fun, but to be in third place on the last lap of both races and not get a podium is quite a hard pill to swallow,” he admitted. “The front three were very strong in that second race. I really enjoyed being up there, it was great to be involved at the front.
“In Saturday’s race I started fourth and got up to third but then I had three or four really big moments and almost crashed. I didn’t feel like I had the grip to run the pace I was expecting.
“But on Sunday I felt the grip was how I expected and I was able to run with the leaders. It was an exciting race, but I wanted to make that move on Lee in the final corner. When Taylor rejoined in between us it messed that plan up and then I had a big slide at Druids and that was it, I couldn’t get close enough to either of them to get past before the flag.”
As a result of his two fourth places, Rouse has moved up to sixth in the points and still has the opportunity to end the season fourth overall. The championship resumes next month at Donington Park.
*Images: Bonnie Lane