Oct 20, 2015

Solid finale at Brands Hatch for Martin Jessopp caps off positive season

THE 2015 British Superbikes season came to an end at Brands Hatch last weekend.

In a bumper three-race meet Martin Jessopp added four more points to take his overall total haul for the campaign to 32 and a 23rd place finish in the table.

"It was a good end to the year really," Jessopp said.

"As a racer I always want more, so unless I get three wins I won't be happy. But I think as a team we have got to be happy with the season as a whole and the progress we have made.

"I got 32 Championship points which is a lot more than I got last year. Also a couple of top tens on my home race [atThruxton].

"Unfortunately I had an injury again. In fact I can't remember the last season I didn't have one, although in a sport like ours it's hard to go a whole season without an injury.

"Looking at the results I have had this year compared to 12 months ago we have come a long way, so we can't be anything other than happy with the result we had at the weekend.

"It's been good and we've moved forward and sorted out the problems we had last year."

After securing a Championship point at Brands back in July - only his third of the season at the time - Jessopp knew he could perform well at the circuit this time around.

Yet as has often been the case for the star things weren't all plain-sailing.

"We lost a lot of track time with cold weather and damp nights. But we put in the same system as we had for the long circuit at Brands earlier in the year, which we knew worked, and off we went," Jessopp continued.

"I qualified 15th and was happy enough with that because one-lap pace is not my strong point - which is something we need to work on for next year.

"It wasn't the best of starts, as normal, but I came back through and finished 16th in race one on Saturday, which was a bit annoying because it's one place off a Championship point.

"By Sunday morning the track had dried out a bit, but I made a terrible start and dropped down to 22nd on the first lap. It was my mistake because I went into the first corner in the wrong gear and I paid the price for that.

"There was a gap in the traffic, though, and once I had passed someone and closed the gap on the group ahead I really laid it all on the line in lap three and it worked out. I was the second fastest man on the track that lap.

"I ended up with 15th place and being the ninth fastest man so coming back like that I was happy enough and scoring a point is good.

"I started the next race and lost two places on the first lap and I was riding all out to stay with that group and the top 15 guys were all within three seconds of each other.

"I was riding on the limit and so close to crashing, but that is just how the front guys ride and that is why they win races.

"I kept that pace but I couldn't hang with those guys for the full 20 laps and I dropped two places before the end which was pretty frustrating. But we crossed the line in 13th and the team were over the moon.

"The lap times were great and to come away with a 13th, 15th and 16th the team are happy and I'm happy."

The conclusion of the BSB does not mean it is a winter of rest ahead for Jessopp now, though, as he prepares for arguably his strongest event in the shape of the Macau Grand Prix between November 19 to 21.

Road races have always been the Yeovil rider's strongest suit as was proven by his performances in the Isle of Man TT this year - even if the North West 200 was more of a disappointment.

And he is ready to finally secure that elusive first place finish in Macau this time around.

"I couldn't be any more ready," Jessopp concluded.

"The pace in British Superbikes Championships is more than enough to go out and win any road race.

"It's just up to me to go there and perform on the day. I've had two second places and one third place, so three podiums but I've never stood at the top and it's no secret that's what I want.

"I think it's the most dangerous race in the world - more so than than the TT - so you've got to have respect for it.

"It just doesn't suit some people, but I love the road races. I'll lay off the motocross now so I can wrap myself in bubble-wrap a bit so I go there 100 per cent fully fit.

"We've got all the tools to do it."

Thanks to the Western Gazette for the use of this story.