British Supersport Cup Championship leader John Simpson spread his pure road racing wings a little bit further at the weekend when he competed in the International Gold Cup races at Scarborough and it proved to be a highly successful debut for the 20-year-old.
Having ridden, and won, at the Aberdare Park road races in July, the Antrim rider decided to pit his wits against the undulating Oliver’s Mount circuit and although the woodland venue proved to be more of a challenge, especially with inclement weather conditions, the Trickbits Racing rider more than showed his aptitude for the public roads above the Yorkshire town.
Saturday’s race action saw good, dry conditions and Simpson got quicker in each and every outing and, after using the opening Superbike heat to gain more track time, he took 8th in the 600cc heat taking another two seconds off his lap times. The race itself, the first leg of the David Jefferies Cup, saw him finish in a solid 16th place, shaving a further 1.5s off his lap time and posting a new personal best of 1m53.942s.
Sunday dawned totally different with mist and rain hitting the seaside venue and the Gold Cup ‘B’ Final saw arguably the worst of the conditions. However, Simpson acquitted himself brilliantly and gradually moved through the pack to claim an excellent second behind highly experienced roads campaigner Paul Shoesmith. He also set the fastest lap of the race.
It was again wet for the second leg of the David Jefferies 600cc Cup and, having started 18th on the grid, Simpson again overhauled people throughout the race. Indeed, 13th on lap two, he soon climbed into the top ten and his efforts were rewarded with a superb 8th place, no mean effort on his circuit debut, whilst he also set the 7th fastest lap of the race.
“After doing well at Aberdare, a lot of people said Scarborough was a similar place and that I’d go well there too so I thought I’d like to try it but when I got here I soon realised it would be a much different challenge! Aberdare is a very short lap and it’s relatively flat whilst Oliver’s Mount is quite a lot longer and very undulating with lots of elevation changes and with not a lot of practice, it was hard to learn the place," said Simpson.
“I just tried to build things up gradually, working out where my braking points were etc and it didn’t take long before I was really enjoying the place. Conditions obviously made it trickier but I was pleased with how I rode and I was lowering my times each time I went so it’s been a very enjoyable weekend.
"It was all about learning my way round this weekend with a view to coming back next year and having a good go so it’s been mission accomplished. I also wanted to stay out of trouble with two rounds of the British Championship left and the Supersport Cup means a lot to me so I’ll be looking to get it all wrapped up at Silverstone next weekend.”