In the Brands Hatch race weekend, Rhys started on a positive note, securing P3 in FP1 and P4 in FP2 with lap times comparable to his previous year’s performance. He was content with his progress but aimed to do even better.
During qualifying, Rhys chose to ride solo and didn’t take advantage of slipstreaming from other riders. Consequently, he could only manage a P10 position on the grid, while the top two riders displayed a remarkable pace. Positions 3 to 13 were tightly contested, all within a second of each other.
Race 1 took place amid rainy conditions, and Rhys had made steady progress from P10 to P5. Unfortunately, his visor misted up, making it difficult for him to see clearly. As a result, he missed his braking point into the last corner and crashed. Fortunately, Rhys was unharmed, but the bike suffered severe damage to its frame, subframe, fairings, handlebars, and steering damper. With the help of his father, David, and himself, they worked tirelessly to rebuild the bike overnight, hoping it would be ready for Race 2 on Sunday. Others also contributed to the efforts, working until 1.30 am.
On Sunday morning, they headed to scrutineering early to ensure the bike was fit for racing. In Race 2, Rhys faced a similar challenge as the top three riders pulled away from the pack with a considerable lead. Despite making efforts to regain positions, he made a mistake that took him off the track, dropping him to P9. He fought hard to recover from the setback but narrowly missed securing 7th place at the finish line.
Overall, it was a disappointing and costly weekend for Rhys, with valuable lessons to be learned and room for improvement. He extended his appreciation to Paul Bannister and Dave Sellers for assisting with the bike’s repairs, and also thanked Andy Ibbott and Lewis Patrickson for their expertise throughout the weekend. Rhys expressed his gratitude to his parents, mum, and David Thorndike for their dedicated hard work and thanked his sponsors for their unwavering support.