The short version
Double win double whammy, tyres (just) in one piece
The longer (shorter) version
It’s a funny thing about racing. For any finishing position that’s not the top step, there must always follow a lengthy and well-reasoned analysis of every element and fickle twist of fate involved that lead to the final result being as it was. Win however, and the story is magically compressed - the result speaks for itself.
Which is a long way of saying this is going to be a short story because the plucky privateer underdogs at Astro JJR only went and blooming well won both races at Silverstone.
The soggy mishap that was the British GP threw BSB a total curveball by dumping the entire paddock onto a track that no one had tested at as Silverstone’s bosses hastily reararnged the round onto the National Circuit.
“Anyone who’d been testing before the race only had an advantage on three corners out of five,” said team manager James Jackson.
“When we walked the track Al [Alex Olsen, Astro JJR’s rider] said he did remember it from last riding it on an Aprilia Superteen 125 back in 1904, but wasn’t sure the braking markers would work on a 200 bhp superstocker…”
Still practice and qualifying went well, the team working off their favoured base settings and Al settling into a groove among the top four.
“Then it rained for qualifying and we were back to square one,” explained Jackson.
Back to the default settings, and out for race one - another of the 100-miler events. Two lots of 50 miles (a dizzying 24 laps a piece on the National circuit), with a 10-minute pit stop for a tyre change.
A tyre change that was much needed because, “after hitting the front and staying there for most of the first part of the race, Al lost the spot to Josh Elliot in the end. We could hear him shouting about the tyre going again as he came down pit lane,” Jackson said.
In the second half of the race no such worries though.
With fresh tyres, a clear head, and a few wise words from a certain Glen Richards who popped in for a friendly chat, Al got to the front and stayed there bagging Astro JJR their first win of the season, with the overall win for the race to boot.
After a quick celebration (“we may have had a small beer”) it was back to work to prep the bike for Sunday’s early morning warmup session.
“Starting from pole, Al was in second when a red flag turned it into a restarted 15-lapper”.
While Al got back to business and worked into a comfortable pace leading from the front again, the adjusted race configuration didn’t work for everyone, most notably Josh Elliot who miscalculated his last lap lunge.
“He thought he still had a lap to go when the flag came out,” said Jackson. “He had his head in his hands in pit lane the poor bloke”.
No such worries for Al who was back on the top step, crowing Astro JJR’s finest weekend in impeccable glory and spraying all and sundry with Champagne (£4.99 online apparently, so perhaps not Moet’s finest. Although as it’s basically being used as leather wash perhaps no surprise).
Among all this racing perfection there was however one unexpected piece of drama.
“Alfie, our mechanic, got stuck in the pit garage toilet during the race when the door handle broke. He did try calling us, but we were on the pit wall and couldn’t hear a thing. It was a good job someone noticed he was missing and went and found him, he might still be there now otherwise,” laughed Jackson.
With Oulton next and fourth place just a handful of points away the Astro JJR boys are set to wring every last drop of out the remainder of this season.