Jul 21, 2015

British Superbikes 2015: Martin Jessopp gets Brands Hatch point despite siatic nerve damage

MARTIN Jessopp was back among the points in British Superbikes at the weekend despite carrying a serious injury.

The Yeovil rider was forced to miss the first meet back after the mid-season break at Knockhill because of a siatic nerve problem in his back and leg.

Yet two weeks on, despite being some way off full fitness Jessopp returned to the track on his BMW and against the odds secured a point at Brands Hatch – his third of the campaign.

"I was heading up to the meeting realistically not knowing if I was even going to ride because I was still limping heavily and was in a lot of pain," he admitted

"So the team knew I was nowhere near fit and we were planning to take it session by session. Then by the end of the first day I was in eighth place, which was my best positioning all season, so we were over the moon."

It didn't all go to plan for Jessopp though as a mistake in qualifying for race one meant he was pushed back to 21st on the grid. This was then made worse when he made a wrong call on a red flag and earned himself a three-grid penalty and started the race from 24th as a result.

"What was already going to be a hard job from 21st was made even harder from another three places back," he continued.

"I was sat behind a group of five or six riders so I made the decision to roll off and allow a bit of a gap ahead of me so I could do one fast lap to secure a good grid position for the next race.

"But in turn two I had a slow crash at 40mph so it didn't go to plan, but the team weren't too angry because I can't remember the last time I crashed in a BSB race. Unfortunately though because that was only lap five we lost all the data and the second race was then pretty much like the first race.

"The bike was struggling but we brought it home in 15th position and maybe could have got 12th or 13th, but couldn't quite maintain the pace towards the end. Yet to get a point and in those two sessions to get sixth [in a warm-up lap] and eighth, shows I've got the potential and tools to succeed ahead of the Thruxton race."

With the Thruxton track near Andover the nearest meet to Jessopp's home town – despite being 55 miles away – it is essentially a local race for the Somerset ace and he is hoping for more success at a course that has been kind to him in the past.

"Even with the injury I'm quietly confident going into the next race," he said.

"Living where I do in the country there are not many race tracks nearby. I get massive support there and lots of people come up from Yeovil for that so it's always a big race.

"I've had some good results there in the past. I had my first and only pole position there back in 2010 so if I can keep chipping away like I did at the weekend we'll be in for a pair of solid results."

Before then though, Jessopp is visiting a spinal specialist at Nuffield Health in Taunton in a bid to address his injury problems before taking to the track again.

"Hopefully I'll find out what's going on because it's quite a big issue," he concluded.

"It's stayed the same for a week now and I showed at the weekend I can ride with it though. There were some problems later on but hopefully that's something I can work on with my physio and trainer."

Thanks to the Western Gazette for use of this story