Photo: Kerry Rawson
Mixed weather affected the British GP2 class over the Brands Hatch weekend. The riders were at the Kent circuit for round four of the championship. 18-year-old Jake Archer had completed some testing at the Knockhill circuit on his Kalex Moto2 having missed important track time during the winter through injury. It had a positive effect. Archer had his best qualifying of the season and finished 7th in the Sprint race and 6th in the Feature Race.
In free practice one Archer managed a lap time of 1:32.494 following it up with a 1:32.155 in free practice two. Overnight the team worked on improving the bike to give Archer the best possible chance in qualifying.
The 27 British Supersport and British GP2 riders started their half-an-hour qualifying session but rain began to fall meaning an enforced break. Despite the rain the track was drying quickly and Archer went back out on slick tyres. He put in eight consecutive laps improving his lap time to a 1:32.045 before calling into the pits for some fresh rubber. With just five minutes or so left of the session Archer returned to the track and put in his two quickest laps of the weekend the best of which was a 1:30.825. This put him 17th overall and 6th in the GP2 class.
Shortly after the race began the rain began to fall around Graham Hill Bend and Surtees. With the riders on slick tyres, it was enough for the race organiser to red flag the race. The re-start would see an 8 lap sprint and the race declared wet. However, by the time the bikes lined up on the grid again the track was almost dry again. Archer and most of the GP2 riders opted to stay on slicks. The risk was that the race would only be stopped in extreme circumstances if it rained again. After the re-start Archer was running 8th in the GP2 category. The rain soon began to fall lightly again but the choice of slick tyres was the riders so it wasn’t going to be stopped. The pace of the race began to drop for many of the British GP2 guys as most were on dry tyres. Whilst Archer also reduced his speed he was still circulating faster than most of his competitors. He caught and overtook Strudwick and was closing in or Boerboom. However, with the race length reduced as a result of the restart he ran out of time and crossed the line 7th.
UnlikeSaturday, the weather stayed dry throughout the 18 lap feature race. Archer started 20th on the combined grid. Immediately he gained a place after making a good get away from the start line. He then found himself behind Jorel Boerboom another of the British GP riders. He began to close the gap of around a second.
Then on lap six Archer overtook the Dutch rider. However, he was unable to shake him off and the two rode around wheel to wheel for the remainder of the race. Lap after lap Archer held off the challenge of Boerboom. Unfortunately, on the penultimate lap Archer lost the position. Try as he might he was unable to recover and ended the race 6th in the GP class.
Jake Archer now has 85 points and is fourth in the British GP2 championship.
Archer said, “We have made real progress this weekend. It helped having a test day at Knockhill last week. I feel more and more comfortable with the Kalex Moto2. Qualifying was great, and we finished both races. Race one was a bit difficult because of the conditions but in the end I managed the situation well. In race two it was frustrating losing a position so near the end of the race but we are showing we are more competitive every time we go out.”
He will be back on track at round five of the British Superbike Championship in the GP2 support series at Knockhill at the end of June.