IAN Mackman couldn't help wondering what might have been - despite a big second-round improvement on his first outing of the season in the National Superstock Cup.
The 27-year-old, who is preparing to make his Isle of Man TT debut in the event's centenary year, came in eighth at Thruxton after a disappointing 16th place at Brands Hatch.
Mackman, service manager at Bill Smith Motors in Chester, said: 'My Superstock engine is still having its gear-box repaired so at the moment, I am still running my TT engine.
'Although the TT engine in standard trim still puts out 170bhp, it is all about power at that track.
'I can't help thinking that the six bhp extra that the Superstock engine makes would have made a difference to my Thruxton results.'
Mackman added: 'I love the track there - bumpy and really fast. It gives you something to get stuck into.
'Sliding the bike in fifth gear out of Church Corner is a unique feeling and very addictive.'
Practice at Thruxton had gone well despite former MRO Supersport 400 champion Mackman using part-worn tyres on his Suzuki GSXR1000 K6.
With these being replaced by fresh ones for qualifying, he was fifth on the grid after the first session.
'A change to the front forks and overall gearing made a difference for the second qualifying round but I struggled to get clear track in the session, eventually ending up seventh,' he added.
The race itself saw Mackman, main rider for Team 2 Machs, managed by James Powell of Bill Smith Motors, beat his personal-best lap time but narrowly fail to make a last-lap passing move stick.
'A second-row start was fine and I got away much better, slotting into fifth at the first turn,' he added.
'I may have been slightly too tentative on the first lap, dropping to eighth.
'I made several passes on the two riders in front of me but just ran too wide and lost the drive up Woodham Hill to the final chicane to get repassed on the straight.'
The meeting at Brands Hatch had been blessed by fine weather but Mackman took time to readjust to the pace of the series and suffered gear selection problems later in qualifying.
He therefore failed to improve on a grid position of 14th from the first session.
The next round of the Superstock, run alongside the British Superbike Championship, is at Silverstone this weekend.