TEENAGE motorcycle racer Josh Corner made his ‘big bike’ debut in style on Sunday as he finished in an impressive 10th place in round two of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship at Brands Hatch.
And the 18-year-old’s achievement was all the more impressive because he had never ridden the bike, nor even sat on a 1000cc machine until last Wednesday.
Corner, of The High Road, South Shields, had been left without a ride this season when his sponsor pulled out and left him without funds or a bike.
But he got a call up just over a week ago from the MWR Motorsports Kawasaki team inviting him to deputise for rider Cody Nally who was injured in a crash at Donington Park on Easter Monday.
It meant stepping up to 1000cc power for the first time after two years on a 600cc machine. With very little time to test the bike, Corner made his debut at a test day at Oulton Park last Wednesday, giving him a little idea of what the more powerful machine was like before he headed to Brands Hatch at the weekend.
With no pressure to do anything other than learn to ride the new bike, he instantly gelled with the Kawasaki ZX10-R, qualifying in a respectable 24th place ahead of Sunday’s 24-lap race.
At the green light he got a good getaway, and by the end of the first lap around had moved up two places to 22nd. On Lap six he made a move on Dan Kneen up to 21st and from there he kept pushing hard, picking up places lap by lap.
By Lap 20 he was running in 13th place, and continued to press on, making up a place each lap before making one last push on the final lap, passing Barry Teasdale to take 10th.
“It just felt mega, the bike was perfect out there and it all went so fast I couldn’t believe it when the chequered flag came out – I felt like I’d only been out there five minutes,” he said.
“I don’t know what I was expecting when I came here, it was my aim to get in the top 20.
“I certainly didn’t think we’d go this well straight out the box.
“I wasn’t sure how we’d get on with the bigger bike but I love it. It’s obviously a lot faster but it feels so much better to ride than the 600.
“I enjoyed every moment of that race, I never dreamed I’d get a top 10 in my first Superstock 1000 race and now I have to hope I can get another chance to race.
“I want to thank Mark Webster and everyone at MWR Motorsports for the opportunity to ride the bike, I’ve loved every minute of this weekend. This was almost as good as a race win for me.”
While it is not yet known if Nally will be fit enough to return at the next round, the MWR team has confirmed that if he isn’t, Corner will be given the chance to ride again at Oulton Park.