St Albans Motorcycle ace aiming for the top in 2012
MOTORSPORT: A MOTORCYCLE rider from St Albans is targeting the top when he takes part in next year’s Thundersport 500 series.
Nick Clift grabbed a number of top five finishes in his debut campaign in the championship and is focussing on the top when he lines up for his second season in 2012.
Clift has been riding motorcycles since he was 11 years old, and has been racing all around the UK having started in the British Aprilia Superteens. This year saw the 18-year-old make the move up to the 500cc Championship riding a Honda CB500, a move that Clift took some time adjusting to.
“The year started off interestingly, trying to adjust to racing a 4-stroke HondaCB500 motorcycle instead of a 2-stroke Aprilia125,” he explained.
“But by the time it came to Round Three at Anglesey in North Wales I felt I could start to push a bit more and challenge for the win. I qualified disappointingly in 11th place out of 30 riders, but in the race I was in second place chasing down the leader until I made a slight error on the last lap which bumped me back to fifth place.
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“However, this was a good step for me and gave me the confidence I needed to push hard in the following races.”
The last race of that weekend resulted in a fifth place finish but disaster struck in Round Four at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire when awful weather resulted in Clift crashing out.
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“Anglesey was a great stepping stone for me as I felt at one with the bike, which is imperative in motorcycle racing,” explained Clift.
“In the fourth round at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire, I qualified on the second row, in seventh place. The weather was awful over the weekend with the rain causing a lot of riders to crash heavily.
“I had a crash during the race, so was very disappointed in myself for not judging the conditions correctly. But this is all part of racing, you simply need to understand your reason for crashing and put that into consideration during the next race.”
Round Six at the newly built Snetterton 300 track produced a fourth place finish in the first race while back in Wales at Pembrey Clift had fourth and fifth place finishes. An accident here, however, resulted in Clift visiting hospital and undergoing a skin graft but he was able to take his place at the next round at Brands Hatch where his best finish was seventh.
The final round came at Mallory Park where Clift ended the year with a creditable sixth placed finish.
Clift added: “I want to give big thanks to my granddad and uncle Rob for helping me out with my riding and the bike since I started racing. But most of all my dad for making this happen and supporting me with everything.”
Clift is looking for sponsorship for the 2012 campaign; anybody who is interested should email him at email@example.com