as his on-going battle to win the title.
The last few rounds of the British Supersport Championship have been very kind and I suppose a little cruel to us. Doubles at Snetterton and Brands Hatch were superb for the team and also proved how good a package we have with the little GSX-R600. We also got great coverage in MCN for the Brands round, with it being described as one of the best races ever seen in British Championship, so that's good positive PR for the team, Suzuki and all our sponsors.
At Cadwell we came a little unstuck after looking like we may be able to sneak in and take the second race win, and there was disappointment and frustration at Oulton as well with yet another missed gear change I'll not call it a gearbox problem or I'll get ticked off by the boss man!
Cadwell is Ben Wilson's home track, which he used to his advantage, so in Sunday's first race I could see he was using different lines than me through quite a few of the corners. He was also quicker through the more physical Hall Bends section of the track, which I found tough riding through last year on the Superbike. But we did crack it in the end.
After a discussion with my team, we decided not to make too many changes to the bike before Monday's second race, so I adapted things on track. After taking the lead and having Ben pass me into turn one on lap two, I did all I could to hang in there. He started to come back to me in the middle to last part of the race, and I was pretty much right on his back wheel when I missed a gear coming out of the hairpin onto the start-finish straight.
It was really frustrating because I was so much stronger through sector two and I also believe I was as strong, if not stronger, through Hall Bends in that second race when I was reeling him in rapidly. On a positive note it was two strong finishes and we accumulated another 40 points.
In hindsight it was probably fitting for Ben to take the win, as he was able to dedicate it to his team-mate Ben Gautrey who sadly lost his life during the Superstock 600 race earlier that day. Everyone in the paddock felt their grief and I'd like to pass on my condolences to his family.
Looking back a few races, we had another top weekend at Snetterton. I really like Snetterton as it has a good layout and I was really positive going there. I'd a podium there last season on the Superbike in my debut year in the big class. Every practice session I was P1 and consistently quicker than the rest. It was a weekend that was perfect for us: P1 in qualifying, fastest lap in the race and also took home a lap record.
In race one I broke them early on, pulled the pin and won by eight seconds, which is unheard of in Supersport. In the second race I knew I had to get a better start to stop Ben chopping me up a bit, which he did, diving up the inside trying to stop me from breaking away. I got into the lead on lap two and put the hammer down over 15 laps and again it was an eight-second win.
Coming into Oulton Park I felt good as we'd been there at the start of the year. We lost out on the first practice session with a wee problem; then in qualifying the track was wet so it was quite difficult. It started drying during the session and we went from wets to intermediates; then onto dry tyres with six or seven minutes to go and I ended up P5 after getting baulked by backmarkers while on a fast lap. In saying that Ben was down in 26th on the grid after a nightmare qualifying, so I hoped that would help.
In the first race I forced my way through to the front but could hear a Triumph on my bumper the whole time. It was Paul Young. With about three-quarters of the race completed Ben came by me into turn one and I was shocked to be honest. I didn't think he'd get up so far, but it kicked me into gear seeing my Championship rival in front of me. We had a good battle for the last four or five laps, with all of us chopping and changing all the time. Ben, Billy McConnell and Paul Young were all involved, but I felt I had the measure of them.
I got into the lead starting the last lap and defended my line all the way round. Into the last corner I stayed tight to the right-hand side and tried hooking down two gears, but it must have only gone down one. As I went to drive out of the last corner there was nothing there, and where you'd get away with that problem on a Superbike, as it has that much power, the 600s just have no pull in the wrong gears.
I tried slipping the clutch to get back on the rev range but I could hear the note of a Triumph coming, but didn't know what side he was going to go. I was wishing I could have been the size of a house for that one lap, but Billy came by me and Ben also out-dragged by me to the line. I was gutted to be third and couldn't repeat what I shouted in my helmet! The second race was cancelled due to the weather, which has been re-scheduled for the final round at Brands making it a triple-header for us.
In between races I've been keeping myself busy training in the gym, riding motocross with my team-mates Gordy Crockard and Josh Brookes and cycling with a few of the boys in the team. My son Lewis is back to school now it's September, but he was at a few races with me during the summer and in between Oulton and Brands we had some quality dad and son time.
I took him to an aquarium and a big water park, which he really enjoyed - so did I! - before finishing off at Drayton Manor mid week where he had a ball in the theme park. The only down side was having to deal with 147 busloads of kids running about for the day, so the queues were massive and we had to line up for over an hour to get on the Ben 10 ride. On Thursday we got a little closer to Oulton taking in Chester Zoo.
Next up for me is Donington Park which is another riders' circuit and with a bit more development on the GSX-R600 - I hope you're working hard Stevie!! - we can hopefully be up there hunting for another double.
Ben is in a strong position in the Championship, but like me he wants to win races and second is never good enough - so no matter what way the title goes, I'm sure we'll put on some more great races for the fans before it all ends at Brands in October.