Fincham up to fourth after strong comeback at Pembrey

After a race-ending accident in the second race weekend of the championship, King’s Lynn bike racer Mark Fincham got back on track at Pembrey, ending the weekend in fourth place overall.

The accident at Brands Hatch had left Mark in 11th overall and with work to do to compete for the title this season.
And the former Marine, who lost a leg in a road accident in 2007, had to contend with a front brake seizure and a loose gear lever in resting at Pembrey.
But Mark, sponsored by Bikesure, flew through the wet in qualifying to end up first in class and second overall on the grid.

Here Mark takes up the story, race by race over the weekend of May 4 and 5:

Race 1

I made a good start for a change, was holding second place right up until the first corner when another guy came from behind and out-braked himself, causing me to run wide and pushing me back to 11th. I was gutted, all that promising work I had done in qualifying. I spent the race picking people off, but the power bikes are so fast here I had little chance of keeping with them. However, I saw my main rival in front of me and set my sights on catching him. I could see the gap getting smaller turn by turn, but I ran out of laps and had to settle with second place.

Race 2

Determined to get another good start, I went for it. Lights out and I was off, but my foot clipped the gear shifter which, in turn, caused the electronics to shut the power off thinking I wanted to change gear. Everyone went flying past – I couldn’t believe I had messed things up again. I think I was running roughly 8th in my class, which was appalling by my standards. I did everything I could to make places up and by the time the chequered flag was out I was second, but way too far back to have caught up with first place.

Race 3

After doing my normal morning routine, I went to check on the bike. I found it had developed an oil leak. We think this was caused by my crash at Brands Hatch. This meant I had to switch to the number two bike. Having never ridden it, I was keen to get on it during morning warm up. Due to the early morning cold temperature, I wasn’t able to push it as hard as I wanted in warm up.

The race began and I absolutely launched it off the line – this bike is clearly much easier to get going than my number one bike. Into turn one and I’m first overall. I managed to hold this for a while but we had some national and world level riders joining us this meeting and they got past eventually. I soon realized that the bike was not set up very well – the front end was far too stiff, which was causing me to take all of the stress the suspension normally deals with through my arms, which was very fatiguing. Also, the rear was too soft making it hard to hold a tight line through a corner.

I fought as much as possible, but unfortunately, my arms got so tired that during heavy braking from 170mph down to 20mph I ran on and missed the corner, which cost me valuable places and I finished fourth.

Mark takes a corner

Race 4

In the down-time between races I changed the settings on the bike that were causing me issues.
Having to start quite far back on the grid, I was determined to make places as quickly as possible. I managed to launch it again, I had gone from mid pack to run with the boys up front. After battling at the front even with the national level guys I managed to pull out a second place.
So, having moved up from fourth to 11th, there is much to look forward to in the rounds ahead, though the championship leader sits nearly 100 points ahead.
The next meeting is at Oulton Park on May 31 to June 1.

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August 8, 2023