Andrews and the RAF Reserves Fireblade exiting Clearways

Andrews and the RAF Reserves Fireblade exiting Clearways

Royal Air Force Reserves Racing in association with Honda made some great progress at Brands Hatch this weekend, but points still elude Simon Andrews and the team.

The red, white and blue Honda Fireblade was completely refreshed for the National Superstock 1000 race at the Kent circuit this past weekend after an extremely punishing first half of the season on the short circuits, North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT.

Andrews was fast out of the gates in first qualifying, finishing the session in fourth place on the GP configuration of the famous circuit. As the no.6 rider pushed the pace harder, going 1.5 seconds a lap faster between the qualifying sessions showed up some set-up issues with the CBR1000RR and the rest of the weekend was spent ironing those issues out.

Despite qualifying in 21st position for Sunday’s race, the Evesham rider had a point to prove and more chassis changes were made for Sunday morning warm-up and again for the race to find the perfect set-up.

When the lights went out, Andrews was boxed in at the start and the heavy traffic in the competitive class made it hard to demonstrate the Honda’s corner speed, but the 28-year old dug deep to finish 17th place, one spot behind John McGuinness on the first Fireblade home.

Simon in the RAF Reserves pit

Simon in the RAF Reserves pit

Simon Andrews said: “There’s quite a difference in pace of our competitor’s machinery day by day! We had a good first qualifying in fourth place, but as we upped the pace it showed up some chassis issues so we spent all weekend chasing those. We had different gearing and rear suspension set-up for every session – even the race.

“The team worked so hard and in the end the chassis was great. Being stuck in traffic didn’t allow us to show our true pace. Results wise, it doesn’t look good. But the plus points from this weekend is that we made major progress over the previous round at Snetterton, ironed out some issues and a made a proper step forward with the bike. We need such a different set up for qualifying then racing! On a clear lap, we’re fast. We’re doing all we can.”

Team manager, Lee Hardy, said: “All in all a positive weekend and every session was like testing! We’ve changed so much with the bike with each session and Simon certainly has the confident to push it hard. It’s a shame we weren’t in the points but we’re certainly heading in the right direction.”


NEXT RACE: National Superstock 1000 Round 8: Oulton Park, August 11

PHOTOS: Tim Keeton /


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