MOUNT Gambier motorcycle racer Levi Day has finally returned to competition in England after a long delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year Day is on board a Suzuki GSXR 1000 in the British Superstock 1000 class.
“This class is always stacked with great riders, but this year it has ex-Superbike and showdown contenders, over five previous British Champions, TT winners and many podium finishers across Superbike/Superstock and Supersport classes,” Day said.
The competition was originally planned to begin in April, but the opening round happened last weekend, with a stacked season now due to finish in October, meaning a race meeting every fortnight.
The season kicked off at Oulton Park, where Day finished with a top-10 position.
The weekend proved tough from the outset, with 54 quality riders entered and only 40 positions on the grid.
The fastest 32 would make the main race, while the riders from 32nd to 54th would have a last-chance qualifying race, with the top eight finishers to take their places at the rear of the grid.
Practice sessions took place on the Friday, in a mixture of dry and damp conditions.
“Oulton Park is such an undulating circuit, controlling a 200hp bike around this roller coaster really does take some getting used to, but I was really enjoying myself and feeling at home on the bike,” Day said.
“I finished the day in seventh position, with some ideas of where we could improve our time going into qualifying on Saturday.”
Saturday’s qualifying was run in ideal conditions, with Day showing plenty of pace.
“The pace was fast in both qualifying sessions and I took over half a second off my time from the Friday,” he said.
“I ended up qualifying eighth on the grid, which put me in the middle of the third row for Sunday’s 14 lap race.
“I was really pleased with this position and was feeling comfortable on the bike.”
In a quirky twist, no warm up was allowed on Sunday due to the proximity of the track to a church, with noise limited before midday.
“I hadn’t lined up on a grid for a race since the final round last year in October, so I was buzzing to get going,” Day said.
“I got a reasonable start and stayed clear of any carnage on the opening lap.”
However, from there Day was caught up in the cut-and-thrust of racing and dropped down to 11th place.
After he settled back in he began to pull back some positions and eventually crossed the line in seventh place.
“I am really stoked with a top-10 finish at the first round of the year,” Day said.
“To be fighting with and beating some Ex-British Champions I am really proud of.”
The season now heads to Knockhill in Scotland, where Day hopes to improve further as he and the team find their way in the category.