Race Report by David Vardy from VrDMotorsport:
After walking away from Donington Park the mood in camp was surprisingly positive. It had been yet another troubled weekend for Team Rushers and a continued run of difficult results that we had no say in how they affected the overall result of each race. But a 33 point gap stood between Jordan and championship leader with 75 points left to fight for, anything was possible, Cadwell Park would be the location for the final battle. Jordan’s home circuit, one he would be very familiar with and one he knows that he has the ability to be the lead rider against any field on his day.
The first steps before the race weekend would be to fully investigate the source of why the bike had been cutting out previously. Its without question that the reason Jordan would lose his championship lead and drop back at this point was due to reliability issues with the bike that were out of the teams control. Several tests were carried out and a late night phone call from Nige Rushby would hear an elated voice saying they had found the problem and it had been resolved!
Jordan took the bike for one last run at Cadwell the week before the race weekend and the lap times were on song. Jordan would come off the bike at the end of the day with a single comment “This bike is rapid!!” Everything was set, it was time for the Thundersport GB 600 Elite Finale.
Cadwell Park is without a doubt one of the most interesting circuits in the UK. Any racer who has pushed the limit on this complex twist of turns and varying pitches will tell you it is one of their favourite circuits to race on. A difficult circuit for cars to pass but for bikes, this is one for the survival of the most brave as the Mountain sees the quickest leap from the tarmac, off balance from a tight uphill chicane at pace. Hold tight, this is not for the faint hearted.
The circuit length is 2.18 miles and pitches an altitude difference of over 40 metres between long fast straights and tight chicanes where the incline is sharp and the corners are blind.
Louth is the home to Cadwell park and some say it has its own weather forecast. The newsreaders said a clear Saturday followed by a rainy start to Sunday followed by blue skies. This was not to be taken as a given.
Saturday came and the wet weather had already made its mark with qualifying being carried out on wet tyres. This would prove the first steps to challenge Jordans weekend as a warped brake disc on the wet wheel would hamper the time he could set meaning a swap of bikes to determine race 1’s track position which would be Row 3 in P7. Jordans title rival Morris would be in P4 and as someone who enjoyed the wet conditions, the swing of momentum was in their court.
The track was drying and by the time Race 1 arrived it was time to swap over to dry tyres. Jordan had everything in place to perform to his ability and the confidence grew as the engine warmed ready to be thrown into battle.
Jordan would make an electric start, this becoming his speciality as of late, and find himself leading across the finish line after lap 1. Speaking to Jordan the following day he was clear that Joey Thompson had a bike that had significant pace in a straight line. This front battle would continue for the remainder of the race and Thompson would take the 2nd lap and keep it in P1 to the finish. Jordan would begin plotting a game plan to win the race from the moment he caught onto the back wheel of Thompson. A gap of no more than 0.3 seconds would be the difference between the two riders and Jordan knew where he could take the lead and also knew where he could not keep pace with the challenger.
Morris would be in 3rd place behind Jordan for a while but begin slowing throughout the race dropping to 4th and out of this battle. With points being the goal for all riders Morris would hold 4th place to the end and despite Jordans plans to take the win, he would cross the line under the chequered flag alongside Thompson with a gap of just 0.1 seconds between the two.
20 points was Jordan’s reward followed by Morris claiming 13. The gap had been reduce by 7 points and Sunday would be a charge to reclaim 26 points to win the title.
Sunday and the final battle commences
Whilst Jordan could only showcase a trophy for P2 from Race 1, his pace was faster than any other rider on circuit. He claimed the fastest sector 2 and ultimately the fastest lap on the 9th time of asking. This would provide Jordan with the best possible start to the finale with a double Pole Position for the final two races of the season.
As the sun broke from the horizon on Sunday morning, nobody at Cadwell Park would witness this as the sky remained darkened by a typically British weather front followed by a lashing of rain for the remainder of the morning.
Whilst the weather reports had promised the rain to continue upwards through the country and into the north, it would not be until 15 minutes before the first race today that the sun would finally break through. This was a wet race without doubt.
Jordan would remain confident throughout. Whilst wet weather did not favour his riding style and more suited to Charlie Morris, he had pole and anything could happen during the 12 laps that were about to start.
The sun was bright and low as Nige left to go to the pit wall. Jordan was getting ready to sit on his bike and a last minute debate with all in the tent made Jordan decide to change his wet visor to a darker shade. Jordan would speak to good friend Ben Crowe, who was running in the GP1 class and be a regular team mate afar sharing garages of past and the awning this weekend. Ben had just been out and claimed a fantastic class win so his advice on potential grip levels was invaluable to Jord as he left for the track.
The warm up seemed quicker than normal, it was a blink of an eye and the riders were sat on the grid awaiting lights out for the race. Jordan would make a typically fast start, despite the torrid conditions. Thompson would be hot on Jordans heels and take the inside line into Coppice meaning Jordan would need to keep a hold of the bike with a spray now adding to Jordans difficulties for this race. Morris, who favoured wet weather, would fly into 3rd position from the start and keep with Jordan around Charles and down the Park Straight.
Lloyd Shelley would follow the front 3 and a fantastic start by Jack Tynan would see him jump from 11th to 5th in the early stages.
The grip level was mixed and dry lines were forming in parts of the circuit followed by blocks of standing water. As Jordan followed Thompson in the early exchanges it became difficult to find the line to ride now a battle had begun.
Shelley had picked up the pace and by this point taken 2nd place from Jordan which quickly saw Morris follow leaving Jordan in 4th following the man he had to beat to keep the championship dream alive.
By Lap 3 a long section of water on the start finish straight would see Jordan aqua plain at high speed. A heartbeat stopped momentarily and confidence drained for what seemed to be a lifetime. Jordan now faced the task of composure followed by catching up a group of riders who enjoyed wet conditions. As we stood in the Grandstand at the Mountain, Shelley, now leading, disappeared with Thompson chasing. A gap followed by a now lonely Morris with Jordan trying to close the now 4 second gap behind his rival. Jack Tynan would be flying and had a point to prove in his rookie year. He would pass Jordan, dropping now to 5th and push on to challenge Morris for the final podium place. Jordan was now in P5 and the title was slipping further away.
We saw a dejected shake of the head as Jordan came from the mountain, he knew his pace was not quick enough to catch those ahead of him but he would not give up, anything was possible.
As Tynan pushed on he was wheel to wheel with Morris off the Mountain on lap 9 into Hall Bends. Only one rider emerged from the Barn and it was that of Morris, Jack had lost his bike and was now out of the race. With Jordan now far too back to catch Morris with only 2 laps remaining, it was a matter of time before the inevitable was about to happen.
Morris would show boat in front of the cafe on the final laps, his confidence carried him through and he crossed the line in P3 crowning his season with a Thunderpsort Championship Title for the GB 600 Elite.
Jordan would hold off a late charge by James Cowton to keep P4 and claim the runner up prize for the championship with Will White finishing down in 11th meaning the top 2 positions had been decided with one race to go.
A season of consistent points finishes decided the ultimate prize in 2016 with Morris claiming only a single win on the opening day at Brands Hatch. Whilst Jordan continued to struggle with electrical problems during the summer Morris chipped away at the lead with a strong points haul on every round taking the crown with a race to spare. To this effect we pass on our congratulations to Charlie and his whole team.
Jordan has the undoubted ability to look back on an incredible year of multiple race wins (Snetterton being the highlight), fastest laps and incredible battles with some of the finest riders in the National Circuit Scene.
A dejected team would see a silence drown out the noise of the Cadwell Paddock as the team, the family and the supporters reflected on what could have been. The championship T-Shirts remained out of sight but the pride was flowing and a very proud Grandfather stood with his Grandson, happy to see him return safely and knowing he was going to achieve great things in time.
A quick spanner check following the first race saw no issues and once the team had regained composure, it was time to prep for the final race of the year and no doubt the final Thundersport Elite ride on the Yamaha R6 that had brought so many good and bad memories to look back on.
A brand new set of dry tyres were readied and the tyre warmers fitted as Jordan had one final goal. To win the very last race of the year smashing the fastest lap to prove that despite his runner up result of 2016 he was undoubtedly the fastest man here this weekend and KING OF THE MOUNTAIN !!!
T-Minus 20 minutes to race and Ben Crowe would be readying his BMW for the final GP1 Freshman race. After winning his class earlier in the day he had high hopes to walk away with a second 1st place trophy.
The whole team were behind this one but the day turned dark within a flash of an eye. The sun dropped behind an almighty cloud covering and the rain returned with vengeance. With only minutes to spare before the GP bikes had to be ready for the grid, the whole of Bens team and Rushers team jumped together to swap the bike to full wets. It was an incredible sight of camaraderie within the paddock. Ben swiftly took his bike out to be made to return for ten minutes after the rest of the field had not been so sharp. Race direction gave every competitor a moment to swap to wets and the race had restarted. This did not deter Ben’s focus and he rode a blinding final race to take a second class win of the day.
Whilst all of this was going on team Rushers began taking the fresh dry tyres from Jordans bike to return the wets from earlier. The final race would be a a battle of the puddles once again.
Jordan started on pole and made a lightening start to lead into the first corner. Joey Thompson had other ideas and took the first place from Jordan with his superior straight line speed, but Jordan emerged from the first mountain jump hot on his heels. The rest of the field were dropping back watching these two riders disappear into the distance battling for that final first place trophy.
Jordan would wait till lap 3 to make his move and catching a patch of standing water heading into mansfield, the bike found itself sideways with Jordan nowhere to go but an exit break in the barriers. This would be the downfall of Jordans race as the space to turn his bike was too tight and he was caught out of circuit and in turn out of the final race of the year.
The water had given Jordan no chance on this day and the last race was left to rue what could have been if the sun had stayed out over Cadwell Park this weekend.
Jordan would return to the paddock at the end of the race and give all the friends and family supporting him this weekend a quick spin of the back wheel to close of an astounding year of highs and lows. Despite the feeling within the close team of what could have been, already the messages of support coming through are clear that Jordan has been amazing this season and to achieve 2nd place is one to be very proud of.
The Future is here
The hard work begins for 2017 right now, we cannot wait for the future to come to us as it has arrived already. Jordan will close off 2016 with a final shakedown of the Yamaha R6 at Cadwell Park the day after the final race and begin working out the choice of ride for 2017. Early indiciations and the feedback from Jordan is we have unfinished business in the Thunderpsort Elite Category so watch this space folks as the hunt for championship glory continues in the new year.
Jordan leaves this year behind with one final statement to thank those who have been with him through the good and bad of 2016 :
“Well that’s the 2016 season finished. We had such bad luck the last part of this season and with so many DNF’s due to electrical problems with the bike we ended up P2 in the championship. I think we deserved better tbh but we did have such utter bad luck. Without the help of this man, his tireless work day in day out securing sponsorship deals, getting the bike prepped and funding a hell of a lot on the racing, non of it would be possible. My best mate and my dad” Also a massive thank you to each and every sponsor, spectator, Marshall, medic, everyone who had helped me out in general this year. Next year we will achieve the goal and I can’t thank any of you that make it all possible enough.”
We have much work to do behind the scenes and searches for new partners to join our already growing sponsors who have been incredibly supportive to help Jordan achieve such great results this year.
As usual we would like to thank all of our sponsors and team for making this possible. 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.