MIXED BAG: Aaron Clarke at Silverstone over the weekend. Photo by ADRIAN SMITH

Kirton ace Aaron makes a solid start to Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship

Aaron Clarke got his new season off to a good start when he rode to a strong 15th place in the first of the two double header races at Silverstone on Saturday in the opening round of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship.

But the Kirton racer was unlucky not to go one better in the second race as on lap 14 when he was lining up Michael Rutter for a pass he pushed a little too hard and crashed unhurt at Brooklands, before going on to finish 21st in the final race of the weekend.

Clarke made the step up to the 1000cc class this year and was optimistic of his prospects in such a competitive class but he completed his qualifying in 23rd place out of 40 starters and began the first race from the eighth row.

He got away well at the start and was soon up into 18th place.

He then benefited from a rider ahead crashing out and was elevated to 17th on lap eight.

Clarke began to make inroads into the riders ahead and passed Milo Ward and Billy McConnell to move into a point scoring position with four laps remaining.

He crossed the finish line in 15th place to pick up his first championship point of the new campaign and, after a quick refuel and tyre change, was straight back out for the start of the second race.

But things didn’t go quite to plan and he crashed out of 15th place at Brooklands on lap 14.

The bike suffered some damage and the team worked late into the evening to get it prepared for Sunday’s race.

But Clarke was on the back foot as, because of his crash, he was placed on the seventh row for the start.

There was a red flag for a crash on the first lap and at the restart the race was reduced in length from 24 to 18 laps.

Clarke was down in 24th position through the early laps, but made up ground to complete the 18 laps in 21st place from 40 starters.

It wasn’t quite what he was hoping for, but is something for him to build on for the next round.

The Kirton racer said: “I was disappointed to crash out of part two of the race after a solid 15th in the first half.

“It was my mistake, but I learned a lot; Stock 1000 is as competitive as ever but we are off to a good start.

“In that last race the track temperature had risen considerably so the bike didn’t feel right.

“But for my first meeting on the new bike in this highly competitive series is positive and I feel I can progress next time out.

“Thanks to my team for all their hard work, especially for getting the bike up and running after the crash on Saturday.”

The next round is at Oulton Park over the Bank Holiday weekend of May 4-6.

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