Midge Smart: Knockhill R6 Cup report

Midge Smart is campaigning in this year's Virgin R6 Cup, he writes for Visordown

A six hour drive to Knockhill didn't have me too enthused to begin with despite the fact I have some new wheels. Those toptastic people at Proton have loaned me a Jumbuck pickup which is mega if you're into bikes - drives like a car yet can lug to bikes in the back. Sweetly. Apparently a Jumbuck is a Rhodesian Marsupial trap. That's Jumbuck people, not Dumbfuck as the paddock wags have christened my new toy. That's just unkind.

After practice we all found out pretty quickly that a few of the riders had been here testing, which meant we had to get our act together pretty quick. First practice was good, ending up 5th fastest and just a gnat's cock off the faster guys. This made me confident for qualifying as Knockhill's mad layout makes it real important to get a front row start as the grid is uphill.

Visordown's Midge Smart ... makes the R6 look big

Out in qualifying I managed to get behind a few of the quick boys to see what they were doing differently to me. I was pushing hard to try and get on the front row. The more I pushed it didn't seem to make any difference, as my position was going from 5th to 7th regularly. With 2 minutes to go I decided to change my style a bit. I thought I needed to just relax a bit and concentrate on being smooth, but still pushing hard. The lap didn't feel fast but I improved slightly, 1 minute to go I thought this is my last chance. Head down and do a scorcher! It paid off as I snuck in a hot a lap and went into 3rd place on the last lap. I couldn't have been happier as I'd been told by everyone that it's crucial to get on the front row at Knockhill to stand a chance in the race.

Warm-up, as usual, was only really about running in the new rear tyre we get, ready for the race. I did a couple of average laps and pulled into the pits. A few of the other guys did the same - just bangin' in a few scrubber laps to get the edges roughed up a bit.

In the race itself I got a pretty good start putting me into 2nd by turn 1. Grant did a 'kind of' block pass at turn 3, he didn't really hold me up at the apex like a usual block pass, it was more of a, late 'tip in point' sort of pass which meant I didn't get the line I wanted. Which allowed Paton and Grant to get a bit of a gap on me. Then sketchy old Rose came past me all locked up into the last turn which messed me up even more. We both had a race long battle for 3rd, which consisted of Rose passing me at the hairpin where I was struggling with rear end traction, and me slipstreaming past him on the straight and occasionally out-braking him into turn 1. It was a fun race, but just didn't quite get that podium finish I felt I deserved, putting me 4th by 0.111seconds. A little gutted about it but Oulton is this weekend. Hopefully that podium and the resulting champagne lifestyle, fast cars and fast women will happen there! I'll get the better of these damned diesels yet...

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