The Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit hosted a dramatic sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship today as Josh Brookes claimed his first victory of the season to uphold Australian sporting honour. His win came as home hero and standings leader Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne dramatically crashed out of the first race after taking the lead from Brookes.
The Aussie was unable to complete the double though as local hero Byrne avenged his earlier crash by leading throughout the second race, taking his eighth victory of the season aboard the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki.
Byrne had earlier paid the penalty for a daring move to snatch the lead at Hawthorns at two thirds distance when he dived through on the inside of Brookes, only to lose the front end of his bike and crash out of contention at high-speed.
Brookes watched the drama unfold: “Shakey was suddenly going up the inside and faster than I was on a tighter line which is harder to achieve. I thought perhaps his bike was performing better than mine and the next minute whoosh, he was off. I was lucky not to get caught up and looked over my shoulder in disbelief.
“As for the win, it feels good but I feel like I have been trying hard all season and it is a great surprise to finally get the win,” added Brookes who led the two Samsung Honda’s of Alex Lowes and three times title winner Ryuichi Kiyonari over the line.
Byrne’s team worked frantically to rebuild his smashed bike for the second race and he repaid their efforts with a faultless ride, leading throughout from Milwaukee Yamaha’s James Ellison, also avenging a first race crash, with Lowes third from Brookes and Kiyonari.
Byrne said: “I feel much better now I have won, earlier I felt really disappointed for my team. I got the lead in the first race and thought brilliant, but before I knew it I was exiting straight out the side door! This victory is for the team for getting the bike out there for me.”
For Byrne, it was the 49th MCE BSB victory of his career and leaves him 21 points clear of Lowes in the standings, who regained second place by only a single point from Brookes. The top six in the standings features five different manufacturers with Jon Kirkham locking out the current top six for Buildbase BMW.
— Tyco Suzuki report
Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Brookes raced his GSX-R1000 to victory in the opening British Superbike Championship race earlier today at Brands Hatch in Kent.
The Australian, who now heads to Japan to compete in the Suzuka 8-Hour race next weekend, made his intentions clear from the opening laps, and when championship leader Shane Byrne crashed-out after attempting a pass on him, it was a matter of holding off Alex Lowes until the chequered flag.
Brookes’ Tyco Suzuki team-mate PJ Jacobsen also rode a storming opening British Superbike race at Brands GP circuit on his GSX-R1000; the young American finishing fifth, which is his best-ever British Superbike race result.
In race two Brookes suffered a lack of grip and had to settle for fourth place, with Jacobsen taking eighth, but posted consistent lap-times which augers well for the next round at Oulton Park in three weeks’ time.
In British Supersport, Taylor Mackenzie demonstrated his brand of middleweight talent, running top-six in the early laps of the opening encounter. Unfortunately the youngster crashed-out on lap three but produced a top-10 result in race two from 12th place on the grid; and like Jacobsen is now looking to push forward to the next level at Oulton Park.
Josh Brookes: “Winning the first race felt really good; that goes without saying, although I do feel I’ve been riding as hard as the guys who have been winning all season. I try hard in every race, but more than anything I’m really proud of the team. At each round we keep making progress and I’ve also been trying to improve my riding. I was struggling for grip at the end of the race and had some big slides but we held on for the win. In the second race we never changed a thing on the bike, but I just had no grip; so what can I say.”
PJ Jacobsen: “Race one went really, really good. I know a couple of people dropped out but you have to finish the race to score points. The second race also started really well and when the safety car came out and I knew if I could get away with Kiyonari, I could run the front pace, but I’d kind of just wrecked my tyre as I’d been going so hard on it and I had to settle for eighth. That was my best weekend results in BSB so far so I’m looking forward to Oulton now, but a big thanks to the team.”
“We got a good start in race one and were well on the pace but I just tucked the front and could do nothing about it. Thankfully the bike wasn’t too badly damaged. In race two it was a case of; if you don’t get away with the leading group, it’s difficult to make up places. I got caught behind another rider and by the time I got by, the gap was too big to recover. But we’ve made more progress this round and that’s important.”
Philip Neill – Team Manager: “As we said before coming here, it wasn’t just about winning at all costs. In saying that, Brands is a key circuit and we come back here for the final part of Showdown in the championship, so it is an important factor showing that we can win around here. It was good to see Josh taking that first race to Shakey, and going on to take the win. The second race wasn’t so easy for us and we haven’t determined yet whether it was increased track temperature, but Josh certainly didn’t have the same level of grip to race one.
“PJ had an excellent day with fifth and eighth places, which is great progress for him at a track he still doesn’t know terribly well. With Taylor, he was unfortunate to slip off in the first Supersport race, but recovered well with a solid result in race two, so a good weekend overall for us as a team.”
— Milwaukee Yamaha
Milwaukee Yamaha returned to the podium at the sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch today as James Ellison scored a second place in race two after bouncing back from a race one crash.
Ellison had narrowly missed out on a front row start and dropped down the order at the start of the race and was carving his way through the order when he crashed out unhurt at Graham Hill Bend. His fastest lap in the opening race put him on pole for race two and after a better start he was tucked in behind championship leader Shane Byrne. Ellison was pushing hard but took second position and some valuable podium credits. Josh Waters had a tough weekend claiming a fourteenth and twelfth place.
Ellison said: “I am happy that we were able to get back on the podium today for Milwaukee Yamaha. In the second race I was behind Shakey and I was hoping that he might make a mistake but he never did. Our bike is strong in some places going into the corners and Shakey was stronger out of the corners and then in other places we were identical so it was hard to make a move without taking us both out! I was riding hard and on the limit but it was comfortable and the Milwaukee Yamaha team have worked hard all weekend. I needed to make amends for the crash in race one so it felt good to be back up on the podium.”
Waters said: “The positive we can take from this weekend is that we were in the points and I tried to change my style a bit to see if that made a difference. It hasn’t come together this weekend so we need to find something as I feel like we should have been closer in the races.”
Team owner Shaun Muir concluded: “It has been a day of two halves for the Milwaukee Yamaha team. The first race was disappointing for James to crash because it then made it more difficult for him in race two with the lack of laps in the first one. He did have a push in the second race though and scored two podium credits which are important for the Showdown. He also showed the pace that the team are capable of in the race and that will be important here at the final round of the season.”
— Smiths Racing Triumph
The Gloucester-based Smiths Triumph Racing Team endured a tough weekend at Brands Hatch in round six of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship with both Australians Billy McConnell and Glen Richards not scoring a podium, indeed a pair of seventh places being the best results possible for 26-year-old Adelaide rider McConnell in both races.
With the two races both being held today instead of over the usual two days, it was a busy Sunday for the team as the action got underway in the morning with the 10-lap Sprint race. Whilst the battle for the race win was red hot, Billy and Glen found themselves fighting it out for the lower leaderboard positions although there was never more than two seconds covering the top nine riders, but in the end McConnell had to settle for seventh and 39-year-old defending champion Richards ninth at the end of a hectic race.
The longer 16-lap race later in the day followed a similar vein although this time the leading riders opened up a larger gap over the rest of the field. Locked together, there was little to choose between Billy and Glen, who was still recovering from the shoulder injuries sustained at Knockhill a month ago, but they could make little impression on the leading trio and this time they crossed the line in seventh and eighth places respectively.
Billy McConnell: “It’s been a frustrating weekend and certainly not the dominant one we wanted. Everyone in the team’s been working so hard and we’re just not reaping the benefits at the moment. Glen’s obviously been injured and I’ve been trying to do a lot of the development work and it’s tough but we’re consistently the highest placed, fastest Triumphs out there. We’ll keep our heads down, keep working hard and come back stronger next time.”
Glen Richards: “I’m getting fitter and stronger all the time but it’s frustrating that I’m still not quite as strong as I would have liked. There are a lot of uphill braking areas here and that puts a lot of pressure on the shoulder so I simply haven’t been able to pass anyone on the brakes. We’re still learning the bike and there’s certainly more to come but I’d say this weekend the issue has been 90% me and 10% the bike. We’ve got a three-week break now so I’ll be stronger then as will the bike so we’ll give it our all there.”
Rebecca Smith: “It’s been a bit of a puzzling weekend for us and we’ve had a few issues that we haven’t really been able to pinpoint on the new Triumph Daytona 675R. We’ve worked really hard since Snetterton, continuing with the development of the bikes but something’s not quite been right with the engine management system and no matter what we’ve tried we haven’t got to the bottom of it. On the plus side, both riders finished both races and Glen’s close to full fitness so it hasn’t been all bad. We’ll never stop developing the bike this season but we’ll go away and regroup again and find out what’s been happening this weekend. Oulton Park is a strong circuit for both riders so we’ll work hard to keep their confidence up and give them a bike to challenge for higher finishes.”
Despite the disappointing results, McConnell retained his fourth place in the series with Richards climbing one place to sixth in the standings going into the next round at Oulton Park on August 9/11th.
— Gearlink Kawasaki
It was another brilliant weekend for the Gearlink Kawasaki team in the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship at the superb Brands GP circuit. Alastair Seeley secured a second place in race one and a stunning race victory in race two. His team-mate Ben Wilson gained a third and fourth place in the two tough British Supersport races.
Alastair was on form on a track he has been particularly strong at in previous years and he was able to put the Gearlink Kawasaki on the front row in fourth position for the opening ten lap race. He got a strong start and was up to second by the end of lap three, he was then locked in a tight battle with Stuart Easton and Graeme Gowland for the remainder of the race, he made several dives for the lead and hit the front on the penultimate lap but was beaten by Easton by 0.1 of a second. In the second race the role was reversed and in one of the most thrilling Supersport races we have seen in years it was Alastair that took a fantastic race win 0.004 in front of Easton.
Alastair Seeley – “I’m really pleased with the results that we’ve gained today and I now have a Championship lead of 40 points as I leave Brands. We made a few changes after race one for race two, but in turn this caused me to have too much corner speed and on lap five I took to the grass, thankfully I have been out on my motocross bike the last few weeks and these skills came in handy. I was able to regroup, settle down and get myself back up with the front runners. I was really pushing hard and was really keen to try and get the win. Both races were really tough but I know I have to keep being consistent in all the races until the end of the season. The races were really good today and this is the form I want to carry on through the rest of the season.”
Ben Wilson also had a solid weekend with a third and fourth in the two Supersport races and is in a good third position in the overall Championship standings at the half way point in the Championship. Ben got one of his fantastic starts in the second race and was happily leading until a grip problem saw his lap times slow and him drop to fourth place in the race.
Ben Wilson – “I’m a bit disappointed this weekend and I struggled to find a set up for qualifying which put me back in eighth in the opening race. We made some changes for race two but I had a major problem with grip from the early stages of the race and it made things really tough. I was losing a lot of time and dropping back position where I didn’t want to be. I had to fight hard to get to fourth and it was a tough race I’m not sure what was wrong which was causing so many problems with the tyre. It was tough but hopefully I can turn things around again at Oulton and be back and fighting at the front of the pack.”
Pirelli National Superstock 600s
In the Pirelli National Superstock 600 class, Luke Hedger finally got the win he so deserved and has been working so hard for. Luke who has been poised for a win at the previous races worked hard all weekend and despite a steady start he worked extremely hard to push his way through the tough pack. His team-mate Mark Wilkinson once again equalled his best race performance and finished in sixth place.
Luke Hedger – “I’m so pleased I’ve finally managed to take the win today and it was a very hard fought race one of the toughest this year. I got a pretty bad start and I could see everyone come past me into turn one and I knew then I had to get my head down and stay with the leading pack. I settled into a good rhythm and was able to set some good lap times which helped push me forward, the bike felt great and gave me the confidence to be able to keep pushing. I was soon making some passes and knew I could get to the front but didn’t want to hang about so made the extra push and got up the front. I knew Cal Cooper was catching me in the closing laps but the Gearlink Kawasaki felt brilliant and I had to just keep focused. I’m so pleased to take the win and would like to thank everyone who has helped me especially 1st Choice, Shoei, Sidi, Damen, all my other sponsors and all the great people at Gearlink for all their help and support.”
Mark Wilkinson – “It was another good result at the weekend for me, Andy and Michael worked really hard on my setup in practice and qualifying and the Gearlink Kawasaki was really good for the race. I made a very poor start and had to fight back from about 11th place. I was in a good dice with Tom Fisher and Grant Whitaker and I was waiting for the last few laps before making the move to get to sixth position. It was another solid points scoring position for the Gearlink Team. Hopefully we can move forwards and improve our good results at Oulton Park. I’d like to congratulate my team-mate Luke on his win. A big thanks to everyone back in Australia for their support and Plaza Auto Sales, GS Automotive, ROMP Design, The Oil Warehouse for all their help this season.”
Team Manager Michael de Bidaph – “I’m really once again very pleased with the results we have had in both classes this weekend in Supersport and Superstock 600’s. They all had bad practise and qualifying sessions and this thankfully was all turned around on race day and we gained some brilliant results.
Alastair once again had a great weekend and leads the Championship by 40 points, he is riding consistently well and keeps plugging away with podiums and wins. Despite his off track experience in the second race he was able to re-group and make the pass to take the win.
Ben was struggling all weekend with gearing set-up and in race two with grip issues, despite this he was still able to get two solid results for the team and holds third in the standings.
In the Superstock 600 we knew the win for Luke would be coming soon so we were really pleased that it came this weekend at Brands Hatch, he has been riding exceptionally well in every round and making very quick progress in his first season in that Championship. His win was great and also Mark is a brilliant rider and this is showing in the short time he has been with our team. They work very well together and I am very sure there is more to come from both of them.
We have a great team now and the results are showing that all the hard work, dedication and commitment by everyone in the team, the riders, mechanics and sponsors is all becoming very worthwhile.”
Shane “Shakey” Byrne enjoyed a winning finale to a problematic weekend at Snetterton as he powered his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki to a seventh victory of the season in the second race of the fifth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship.
The defending champion crossed the line ahead of Samsung Honda’s Alex Lowes who had won the opening race and was pushing desperately hard to make it a double win with a move on the final lap, but Byrne had the edge. Josh Brookes, a close second in race one, had attempted a lunge for the lead in race two which saw him run onto the grass at Brundle and finish third.
Championship leader Byrne had troubles during free practice and into qualifying and he admitted: “The first race was dreadful for me – I didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t turn the bike, nearly lost the front at Oggies on the warm up lap. It was very difficult.”
His team transformed the bike between races: “I was so frustrated. I had to ride and not race, and I want to race to win. The team worked really hard to make changes and I felt more confident to be able to push hard and settled down in the second one. I went from wanting to kill the team to wanting to marry them in the space of two races!”
Lowes rode hard, taking his best results of the season so far with the victory and second place, he said: “I really enjoyed the races and in the second one I tried to get into a position to try and take Shakey but I never quite got there. I learned a lot from him over the last five laps, but he didn’t make any mistakes and rode really well.”
It had been a different story in the opening race, after an early intervention by the Nissan Safety Car, as Lowes swooped through from third to first in half a lap, passing first Byrne and then Brookes, before edging out a lead to the line.
Lowes said: “I’ve worked so hard all weekend to be up here at the front, putting in so many laps after the nightmare of Friday when we had problems. I stopped Shakey’s run of wins earlier today, shown him what we can do and also hit back after my disappointment at Knockhill.”
Lowes’ push means he regained second place in the standings, just three points ahead of Brookes as the top six positions shuffled again with Ryuichi Kiyonari climbing to fifth ahead of Jon Kirkham. The current top six features five different manufacturers ahead of the next round at Brands Hatch on 19-21 July.
Alastair Seeley spelled trouble for his Motorpoint British Supersport Championship rivals by claiming a double win for the Gearlink Kawasaki team by heading off his team-mate Ben Wilson in the second race at Snetterton.
Seeley converted his pole position into a victory in the Sprint race on Saturday after seeing off the challenge from Wilson in the early stages as the fight for the top five raged on throughout the ten laps. Luke Mossey moved his Techcare/Profile Triumph into second place at his home round with a couple of laps remaining to relegate Wilson into third place. Billy McConnell grabbed fourth on his Smiths Triumph on the final lap from Samsung Honda’s Jason O’Halloran with Graeme Gowland running sixth on the Seton Tuning Yamaha. Scot Stuart Easton was unable to overcome a difficult qualifying and finished in tenth as he lost the lead in the overall standings to Seeley.
In the Feature race Seeley was determined to double up for the first time this season and he took the lead on the opening lap from O’Halloran. The Samsung Honda rider’s run of bad luck continued though as despite running in a podium position he was forced to retire after he lost the belly pan on lap three. At the front Wilson was chasing his team-mate but he couldn’t close the gap despite pushing hard as he edged out McConnell. It was another disappointing race for Martrain Yamaha’s Easton who could only salvage a thirteenth place.
Seeley said: “It is nice to bounce back so well with this double win and be back in front in the standings after Knockhill. I went away and did my homework. We did a test here, a circuit that I like so it has been so good to dominate, get the championship lead while Stuart Easton was having a bad weekend. Now I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch. It’s a case of being smart, controlling the championship, being consistent and stay 100% focussed and do the job.”
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Snetterton, Sprint race, result
1. Alastair Seeley (Gearlink Kawasaki)
2. Luke Mossey (Techcare/Profile Triumph) +5.339s
3. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +6.088s
4. Billy McConnell (Smiths Triumph) +7.861s
5. Jason O’Halloran (Samsung Honda) +8.021s
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Snetterton, Feature race result:
1. Alastair Seeley (Gearlink Kawasaki)
2. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +3.735s
3. Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing Triumph) +6.320s
4. Graeme Gowland (Seton Tuning Yamaha) +7.055s
5. Luke Mossey (Techcare Profile Triumph) +10.385s
— Milwaukee Yamaha Report
The Milwaukee Yamaha team fought back at the fifth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Snetterton today as James Ellison maintained his position in the top six with two top ten finishes and Josh Waters scored his best results of the season.
In the opening race Ellison was in a strong position as he aimed for the podium, but with some improvements still to be made he was determined to build on his fourth place before the second race. Ellison was running third over the opening laps when the safety car was deployed for an incident and once the race resumed a problem with the wheel speed sensor caused him to drop down the order. A gritty performance saw him then climb back up from fifteenth to ninth over the closing laps to maintain his fourth place in the overall standings.
Australian contender Waters had his best round of the season to date with a ninth place in race one which he followed up with another resurgent performance to finish seventh as he proved that he is ready to close in on his rivals ahead of the next round at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time.
Ellison said: “Today has obviously been disappointing for me and we seem to have carried the one good race then one bad race over to another weekend! We have been building up gradually and getting faster all weekend and after the fourth in the first race I genuinely thought we had the pace to fight for the podium or perhaps even the win in the second one. In race two I got up to third and then we had the safety car period as and I went for the gear and it wasn’t there. The sensor is a reference for everything and we made some real steps here with hard work and unfortunately that meant we couldn’t show our potential. I took a lap where I dropped down and tried to see if we could reset the problem somehow but then I had a bit of red mist and just went for whatever points I could get. I tried to make a move on Dan Linfoot on the final lap for eighth but I went wide; it was always worth a try! I am disappointed for the whole team as we showed we had the pace but couldn’t translate it to podiums. We took it on the chin and we will come back stronger. We still hold fourth in the standings and that is the most important thing.”
Waters said: “It has been a better weekend for me and that is good because we came here wanting to turn things around a bit. We had a good test and came here faster, the team worked overtime and I feel we are going in a better direction. I have changed too to try and make myself more comfortable. Unfortunately one of the riders crashed in front of me and I lost a few positions and then the same happened again in race two but at least I was able to stay on and get some good points. I think we can go to Brands Hatch now and continue the momentum and try and get closer to the front group.”
Team owner Shaun Muir concluded: “From the lows of Knockhill this has been a better weekend and both riders have taken steps forwards, especially Josh who had a better feeling for the bike and chassis and that showed in the results. He feels that he can move forwards now and he is genuinely looking ahead to the next round at Brands Hatch. There was lots of promise for James and he had good race pace, but again we were left disappointed that a wheel speed sensor spoiled his performance. He was just unlucky. I feel we can move forward now at Brands Hatch.”
— Smiths Racing Triumph
The Smiths Triumph Racing Team had a much more profitable weekend of racing at a red hot Snetterton with Billy McConnell giving the team yet another podium in the 2013 Motorpoint British Supersport Championship.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw McConnell take an excellent second on the new Smiths Triumph Daytona 675R but he found himself pushed back to sixth in the early stages of the ten lap Sprint race later in the day with a lot of work to do. Embroiled in a four man battle for fourth, the 26-year-old Adelaide rider fought hard and eventually sealed fourth position in the closing stages of the race to clinch 13 hard earned points.
Despite making a sluggish start in Sunday’s longer 15-lap race, he dug deep and riding as hard as ever he was able to clinch the final podium position to take his sixth rostrum of the season to close to within 13 points of second position in the title race for the Gloucester-based team.
Fellow Aussie and team-mate Glen Richards made his return to racing just three weeks after badly damaging his shoulder in a crash at the previous round at Knockhill. It kept the defending British Champion back in 15th in qualifying but he was running well inside the top ten in the first race before being forced to retire when he accidentally hit the kill switch whilst trying to adjust the brakes. In the second race, the 39-year-old put in a superb ride to climb into the top ten and he was deservedly rewarded with an excellent eighth place.
Billy McConnell: “It’s been a good weekend and third and fourth has put a good few points on the board again. I was a bit disappointed with Saturday’s race as it should have been a podium whilst I made a really poor start today and gave myself work to do. But I kept chipping away and if it hadn’t been for a couple of mistakes I think I could have had Ben Wilson for second. Everyone in the team is working really hard and I did the double at Brands Hatch last year so I’ll be looking for more of the same in two weeks time.”
Glen Richards: “It’s been a tough weekend and all credit to the BSB physio team who did a great job with me in between the crash at Knockhill and arriving here this weekend. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have been able to race, simple as that, so a big thank you to them. In the first race, I tried to adjust the brakes and killed the motor whilst in the second race I couldn’t have gone any faster as there was diminishing grip with the rear tyre due to me having to use it more than normal. Because I couldn’t push the front as hard, I over used the rear but to finish with an eighth is a great end to the weekend.”
Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: “It’s been a different kind of weekend for us coping with Glen’s injuries and first of all we’ve got to say a big thank you to the BSB physio team as the work they did with Glen was simply excellent. It allowed him to get out there and ride and in typical Glen fashion, he gritted his teeth and put in two determined rides. He was unlucky in the first race but bounced back superbly in the second race and really deserved a top ten finish.
“Billy rode well all weekend, doing everything he could to get on the podium. We’ve continued to develop the bike since Knockhill and he crept up the leaderboard that bit more so to end the weekend with a podium is really pleasing. We’re never going to stop working and will regroup and come back even stronger at Brands Hatch.”
As a result, McConnell retained his fourth place in the series with Richards dropping to seventh place in the standings going into the next round at Brands Hatch on July 19/21st.
— Quattro Plant Kawasaki
The Quattro Plant Kawasaki team were back in British Superbike Championship action at the weekend with the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk the latest venue to be visited and whilst it was a bit of a mixed weekend, Chris Walker ran consistently inside the top six to maintain his drive towards one of the coveted Showdown positions.
The Nottingham rider was strong throughout practice and qualifying and he duly lined up in a strong sixth place on the grid for Sunday’s opening 16-lap race. A solid start saw him maintain that position as he challenged Ryuichi Kiyonari for fifth and although the former triple Champion edged away slightly, he was still running in sixth at two thirds race distance. However, with just three laps to go he was cruelly forced out of the race when the battery failed.
Conditions remained extremely warm for the second race where Chris was naturally keen to make amends and he did exactly that. Running once more in the company of Kiyonari and also James Westmoreland, he ran in sixth place from start to finish for his fourth top six finish in five races. The DNF dropped him back to eighth place in the table but he’s now only eight points behind new fifth placed man Kiyonari.
Team-mate Danny Buchan enjoyed a stronger weekend and had it not been for a technical problem, he would have qualified higher than his eventual 20th place. The Basildon rider strung together 16 consistent laps in the first race to claim 14th place for his second points scoring ride of the season. He was well placed again in the second only to slide off, uninjured, on the sixth lap.
Third team member Kyle Wilks also enjoyed a better weekend with the youngster taking a fine 13th place in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc Championship race.
Pete Extance, Team Manager: “I seem to be using the same opening sentence each time but it’s been another mixed weekend for us! Chris was in a determined, confident mood all weekend so hopes were high of two more good results and had it not been for a bit of bad luck he’d have got exactly that. He ran in sixth place pretty much all weekend and put together two excellent races so it was a shame the battery went in the first one but that’s how racing can go sometimes. He bounced back excellently and although we’re slightly disappointed to have slipped back to eighth overall, other results mean the race for fifth has tightened up so we’re still very handily placed.”
“It was nice to see Danny have a strong ride in the first race and even more pleasing to see him finish in the points. He brought the bike home for a good finish and it was just what he needed. He had an unfortunate tip off in the second but overall, it’s been a much more positive weekend for that side of the garage. Kyle also had a good result and it will be excellent for his confidence after a couple of tough rounds. Finally, it was really good to have John Murphy from Quattro Plant with the team this weekend and hopefully we’ve given him a weekend to be both pleased with and proud of.”
— Gearlink Kawasaki
It was another fantastic weekend for the Gearlink Kawasaki team in the Motorsport British Supersport Championship at the long Snetterton 300 circuit. Alastair Seeley this time took the double race win in fine style with Ben Wilson gaining a third and second place in the two Supersport races.
Alastair was on form on a track he has been particularly strong at in previous years and all weekend he was showing fast form and ultra-quick lap times, convincingly setting a comfortable pole position. He was on fine form in both of the races on Saturday and Sunday and led from the start of the shorter ten lap race on Saturday taking the win by 5.3 seconds. He was keen to repeat this on Sunday and despite not leading from the front by lap two he had taken the lead again winning from his team-mate by 3.7 seconds.
Alastair Seeley – “I’m really pleased to have taken the double race win here and also regain the lead in the Championship. It’s been a hard weekend with the conditions and heat here and we all had to work really hard to get the results we got. It was a huge benefit for us to come and do the test here and get a good set up before we arrived for the race weekend. I’d like to thank all the Gearlink Kawasaki team for all their hard work this weekend and I’m glad I was able to repay them with a double race win.
The first lap of the race today was a little messy and we were all very bunched up, I just wanted to get my head down and try and make a break. I’ve always gone well here in the past and luckily I was able to do the same again, everything went right and I hope we can continue this form for the rest of the season.”
Ben Wilson also had another good weekend and is now third in the Championship standings after having a good third and second place in the two races. Ben got away with Alastair in race one but in the closing laps his bike suffered a technical problem and he had to nurse it home to third. In race two Ben was eager to run up the front with Alastair and despite some low and fast lap times he was unable to reel his team-mate in.
Ben Wilson – “I’m pretty pleased with today, Snetterton has always been one of my bogus circuits and it’s not somewhere that I have ridden really well at in the past. So to come away with two podiums is great. I had a few problems in qualifying and ended up on the second row, luckily I was able to get a good start and away with the front runners. I had a problem in the first race and I was adamant I was going to bring the bike home in one piece and get some good points but it took some nursing!
I felt much better for the race today and really happy with the set up I had on the Gearlink Kawasaki, my guys worked really hard to ensure everything felt good. I pushed too hard in the opening laps and with the heat it affected my tyres so knew I just had to ride for a solid second place. I’m back where I want to be now and need to keep getting the podiums, to come away with two podiums from a track I’m not particularly fond of I’m really pleased with and can’t wait to get to Brands in a few weeks, it’s a great track and Alastair and I have had some close battles there in the past.”
Pirelli National Superstock 600s
In the Pirelli National Superstock 600 class, Luke Hedger had another awesome weekend and secured another podium and another second place, hoisting him to second in the overall Championship standings. Australian Mark Wilkinson also had a fantastic weekend and once again gained his best position in the National Superstock 600 class of sixth place.
Luke Hedger – “After setting my first pole position of the season I was really pleased with how the weekend was going and was eager to get into the race and try and secure my first race win. I got a really good start and was away at the front, however, I had a big out the seat moment on the opening lap and this lost me loads of time. I was battling with Cal (Cooper) for second and I knew Jordan (Simpkin) was getting away at the front. I just wasn’t able to pull the time back and had to settle for second in the end. Once again the Gearlink Kawasaki worked really well all weekend and the team worked really hard to make sure everything was right for me. Once again a big thanks to friends, family and sponsors that allows me to be here and for all their support.”
Mark Wilkinson – “I had my best qualifying position this weekend and was on the front row in fourth place. I knew the race would be tough because of the competition and also the heat played a factor in it all. It’s the first time I’ve actually gone backwards in a race but that’s because the competition at the front is so close and competitive. We made no changes to the bike this weekend just a few tweaks to allow me to ride well here at Snetterton, everything worked perfect again and the Gearlink Kawasaki team have been great to me providing me with such a well prepped bike. It was a tough race but really enjoyable to ride, it’s great to be running up at the sharp end and I’ve really got on well with the Kawasaki. A big thank you to everyone back in Australia for their support and Plaza Auto Sales, GS Automotive, ROMP Design, The Oil Warehouse for all their help in 2013.”
Team Manager Michael de Bidaph – “I’m really pleased again with the results that we have secured this weekend and Alastair is back leading the Championship and Ben is up to third so we are very happy.
Alastair was on form all weekend and he does love Snetterton and holds the lap record here, the test was really useful for both riders and from the offset they were both riding well. Alastair found a good set up early on, Ben took a little longer but was still able to qualify in fifth.
Ben was unfortunate in race one and a small bike problem caused him what should have been a second place but two wins and two podiums in such a difficult class is a great achievement for us. I’m really pleased for the entire team as they all work so hard and put so many hours in so to get results like this makes it all worthwhile.
Luke had another really good weekend, he’s disappointed as he has been so strong all weekend and was really keen to push for the race win. He made a few mistakes in the opening laps but still rode a fantastic race to finish in second place and is now sitting in second place in the Championship standings. He is riding really well in his rookie year in this tough Championship and doing a great job for our team.
Mark has settled into the team really well and every race now he has improved his results every time he has gone out on the bike. He got his best qualifying position and this might have put some pressure on him. This is only his third race on the Gearlink Kawasaki and each time he is improving rapidly and we are really pleased with what he is managing to do in a very experienced and tough Championship.”
— Be Wiser Kawasaki
The British Superbike Championship was blessed with stunning weather conditions at the Snetterton 300 circuit for the National Superstock Championship. The Be Wiser Kawasaki riders had a mixed day with Josh Wainwright scoring his best position of the year in 12th place, his team-mate Josh Day crashed out of fifth place in the Superstock 1000 Class. In the Metzeler National Superstock 600 class Nick Anderson once again scored points finishing in 12th place.
Josh Wainwright had a good weekend having his best qualifying position of the season so far, qualifying in 14th place. He was unable to take advantage of this and had a bad start losing several places on the opening lap. He once again dug deep making some confident passes and was able to fight his way back though to a solid 12th place.
Josh Wainwright – “I’m really pleased with the result today and more Championship points in the bag with 12th place. I made a mistake on the last lap as I was fighting for a top ten position but I hit a false neutral and I wasn’t able to select a gear and they managed to re-pass me and I dropped to 12th. I had my best qualifying and best result of the season so far this year so I’m really pleased with how everything has worked. I would like to thank Kais Ohlins for all the help and support they have given me since Donington and they have worked really hard to help me find a good set up with the Be Wiser Kawasaki. I had a big crash during testing at Snetterton last week and hurt both wrists which stopped me from training and I was wondering if I would be ok to ride this weekend, I managed to work through the pain and get some more points. My pace was good during the race and I know I can run with the top ten runners and really looking forward to Brands Hatch.”
Josh Day also got his best qualifying of the season of ninth place and he was eager to push for a top five if not podium position. He got a great start and was lying in fifth after the opening lap, however on lap three he tucked the front and crashed out heavily uninjured.
Josh Day – “I was maybe just a little too eager today, I knew I had a good race pace and I could see the front three bridging a gap at the front of the pack and wanted to be in that front three. I was too keen to get passed and just tucked the front on the third lap at the bottom of the back straight. My lap times in the race were better than my qualifying lap so I need to get qualifying sussed out and then it will give me an opportunity to run up there with them. The Be Wiser Kawasaki was brilliant all weekend, we struggled to find a set up at first but Colin and Paul worked really hard all weekend and so I’m disappointed for them also knowing what they have all put into it.”
In the Metzeler National Superstock 600 class Nick Anderson struggled during qualifying and was only able to place in 21st place on the grid. Once again in the race he left himself with a lot of work to do but he pushed hard throughout the 12 lap race to finish in a good 12th position
Nick Anderson – “I’m really happy with the result that we got today, I’ve been struggling to find a good set up all weekend and it wasn’t until warm up this morning that we found something that just seemed to work. The Be Wiser Kawasaki team worked so hard to help me feel comfortable round here on the bike, we got something sorted for the race but with my poor qualifying position I knew it was going to be a hard day with the heat also I had my work cut out. Fortunately I got a good start and managed to stay out of the problems on the opening few laps. I got my head down and could make up some places, the bike felt the best it had felt all weekend and really pleased to have some more points under my belt.”
Team Owner/Manager Alan Grieg – “This is the first round where Nick hasn’t improved during every session on his times. We made some big changes for warm up and it’s the fastest he went all weekend and he was able to go out in the race feeling more confident with his set up. As always he worked really hard during the race and pushed his way up through the pack setting some good times in the process. He was once again in the points which was our main aim this weekend and for the season and we just need to try and get him up there for qualifying. Nick has been hindered with arm pump all season and this weekend he used ‘Madform’ a cream developed to help these problems and this is the first time this season he’s not had it.
In the 1000 class both riders secured their best qualifying positions of the season and it’s a good sign that we are moving in the right direction with all three riders. Josh Day got a fantastic start and was away with the front runners and setting some very fast lap times. His pace was good enough to put him in with a chance of the podium but he was eager to get passed and stay with the leaders but sadly lost the front and crashed out of fifth place. He’d made great progress and his pace was really good but now he just needs a little luck.
Josh Wainwright qualified well but got a bad start and then it was always a fighting battle to push his way back up through the pack. He avoided any problems and was able to dig deep as always and get himself back into the points. He was into a top ten place when he made a mistake in the final lap but I’m still really pleased with his result and more points in the Championship.
All in all it was a good weekend the weather was perfect for all of the fans, we had several guests here from Be Wiser so it was a great weekend for them. We are looking forward to Brands Hatch now in a few weeks and see what will happen there.”
— Samsung Honda Report
Samsung Honda celebrated victory at the fifth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Snetterton yesterday, with Alex Lowes claiming the win in the opening race.
Lowes put in a sensational performance in the first BSB outing, passing both Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Josh Brookes on the same lap, then edging ahead of his rivals to take the win – his second of the season. Team-mate Ryuichi Kiyonari continued his new-found improvement to take fifth place after a battle with James Westmoreland.
In race two, Lowes dropped down the order from pole position, but the determined Lincolnshire lad battled back through the pack to second place behind Byrne. Despite several hard-fought attempts to catch the leader, Lowes was unable to pass and settled for second place. Kiyonari improved once again to finish fourth, which moves him up to fifth in the standings ahead of the next round at Brands Hatch.
In the opening race of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Jason O’Halloran fought a hard battle with his rivals to claim fifth place. The Australian was looking strong for the second race and was challenging for the lead when the belly pan was ripped from his Samsung Honda machine and he was forced to retire from the race.
Havier Beltran – Team Manager
We have seen a really impressive performance from Alex with his tally of points and pace. I’m pleased that he used his head and we have really seen him build his race-craft. With Kiyo I have mixed emotions; pleased with two solid results to put him fifth but he needs more pace to get the gap down in the podium credit table ready for the Showdown. We have to improve his machine set-up still in a few areas but two solid results were good overall for the championship. I feel really disappointed for Jason as he worked so hard. He had a few issues in the first race that he overcame and then the belly-pan ripped off the bottom of the bike in the second race. It was disappointing as he has not been able to fulfil his potential this weekend in front of such a fantastic crowd.
It would have been nice to take a double win and I pushed as hard as I could, but in the second one I couldn’t take my normal lines for some reason and nearly clipped Byrne twice. I worked so hard after a nightmare Friday putting in a lot of laps and the team gave me a fantastic bike. The first race was hard work but it was also good fun and I was comfortable so it felt good to win. I made a pretty terrible start to the second race but felt good sitting behind Byrne. I tried and wanted to take him but I never quite got there. I learned a lot from him over the final five laps, pushed as hard as I could and I’m not complaining taking two podiums here.
This weekend we have had some improvements again. I was happy before qualifying with tyre life and lap times but then something was different for race day which meant we were not as close to the first group. I thought we had things good but it changed and I am not sure why, maybe it was cooler than in the races, but I am happier and ready for the next round at Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit which is good for me.
There are some positives to take from this weekend; we had two front row starts and I moved forward with how I want the bike to feel, which gave me a better feeling on the opening lap. I had a good battle in race one and I was in a comfortable second place when I had to stop so I did about all I could do, which was obviously disappointing. We now just have to think ‘roll on Brands Hatch’ and I’ll be there giving it 100% again. This year won’t beat me as I’m stubborn and we will get there in the end.
— Tyco Suzuki Report
Tyco Suzuki’s Josh Brookes heads to Japan today to prepare for the Suzuki 8-Hour at the end of the month with the Yoshimura Suzuki team following two more solid podium finishes during round five of the British Superbike Championship yesterday at Snetterton.
The Australian took his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R1000 Superbike to second and third places at the Norfolk venue and now holds thirds place with 172 points in the championship standings behind Shane Byrne (207) and Alex Lowes (175). More importantly he is only 10 ‘podium credits’ behind series leader Byrne as the Showdown over the final seven races of the season gets ever closer.
His team-mate PJ Jacobsen had an encouraging yet disappointing weekend after showing so much promise in race one before he crashed-out out of sixth place. Prior to race two his crew were left to fight against the clock preparing his GSX-R1000 Superbike, which he eventually finished 11th aboard.
Josh Brookes: “I did feel I was able to have a go at the wins in both races, but the Safety Car coming out seems to upset my rhythm at times and in the second race I made a bit of a mistake when the win was possibly within my grasp. I’m now looking forward to testing at Suzuka this week before the 8-Hour at the end of the month, but as soon as I get back my focus will be back to Brands Hatch – where we need to get as many podium credits as possible and close the gap on Shakey and Alex.”
PJ Jacobsen: “I’m really disappointed how the weekend went for me after such a big effort from the whole team. After struggling a little in practice and qualifying, the guys worked hard to give me a setting and advice to run inside the top 10, which I was doing. Unfortunately I made a mistake with just one lap to go when seventh place was safe for me. It gave the guys lots of work to do before the second race and I didn’t feel just so comfortable and I finished 11th. I’m just looking forward to moving onto Brands Hatch now.”
Taylor Mackenzie equalled his best finish in Sunday’s British Supersport encounter taking a strong sixth place on his Tyco Suzuki GSX-R600 Suzuki. He made a blistering start, holding his own throughout, and was applauded by the whole team in pit-lane at the conclusion of the race. He now holds ninth place in the championship standings.
Taylor Mackenzie: “I’m really happy with how the weekend panned out. We got plenty of laps during the practice and qualifying sessions, which helped us find a good setting on my GSX-R600. Starting on the third row in P10 filled me with confidence in the second race and I knew my lap times on used tyres would be quite strong. I got a great start and was up to fourth, so when the race settled down I just got into a decent rhythm and kept it going to finish sixth. It’s a great result for me and the team and we can now keep building and look for more strong results.”
Philip Neill – Team Manager: “It was a tough weekend for everyone with the unusually high track temperatures. However I feel our boys did as good a job as anyone finding a decent set-up with both our Superbikes and Taylor’s GSX-R600 Supersport bike. In race one Lowes just had that little bit extra over the 16 laps, but in race two it really did look as if Josh had something extra. I think we can safely say we were looking at a realistic race win, but unfortunately Josh made a little mistake, but these things can happen when you are pushing hard in the last six laps of a BSB race.
“PJ had a difficult weekend and really should have recorded a highly-creditable sixth or seventh place in race one, before losing the front chasing Westmoreland entering the final lap. Again these things happen in racing, but he is doing a good job in his rookie season. It’s a very steep learning curve for him but he has the talent to succeed and that’s the part you cannot teach.
“Congratulations to Taylor on a solid weekend, which included equalling his best finish in a British Supersport race with sixth place. Our goal with him this season was for consistency and so far he is bang on target and is doing a great job on the GSX-R600.”
— Seton Tuning Yamaha
The Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk sizzled under blue skies as it hosted the fifth round of the 2013 MCE British Superbike Championship this weekend, 5-7 July.
The Seton Tuning Yamaha team made the short trip from its Colchester base to be rewarded with both Graeme ‘Gowla’ Gowland and James Mutton posting top ten finishes in sweltering conditions around the long 2.97m flat circuit.
Despite being forced to sit out the second free practice session and the team having to rebuild Gowla’s Supersport engine over Friday night, the Northumbrian posted a blistering lap time at the close of Qualifying that would see him start the Motorpoint British Supersport Sprint race from third position on the front row of the grid.
The 10-lapper would once again see Gowla lock horns at the sharp end with McConnell and O’Halloran as they vied for fourth spot. The trio raced wheel to wheel, split by a tenth or two as they crossed the white stripe for the close of each lap. Gowla pushed through to fourth mid-race but was unfortunate to lose out in the closing stages, nudged back to take the chequered flag in sixth.
Gowla’s fastest lap time of 1:52.420s would see the 27-year old head row two for the main 15 lap Supersport race under blazing skies on Sunday afternoon. Buoyed by heading the timing sheets in Warm-Up, Gowla lined his Seton Tuning Yamaha up on the grid full of determination to solidify his top 5 championship position and looking to make ground on McConnell in fourth.
Gowla made another strong start to make the break with the leading group, shrugging off the attentions of first Mackenzie then Mossey as he hunted down McConnell for the final podium position. A spirited and determined final few laps saw Gowla halve the gap to the Triumph rider to take fourth at the chequered flag by just seven tenths – his joint highest position of the season. Although the coveted podium positions still elude him, Gowla left Snetterton as the highest placed Yamaha in both Supersport races, extending his run of scoring double figures in each race.
Buoyed by team principal, Phil Seton’s success at the Norfolk circuit last weekend where he took pole and the double in the Hottrax Motogrande 600 series, James Mutton looked odds-on for a second row start in only his second outing for the team in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 class.
James raised a few eyebrows as he posted the fourth quickest time in Free Practice before finishing Q1 in fifth. Looking set for a second row start, James set a fast opening sector time as the clock ticked down in Q2. However, the young Australian crashed out at Oggies, and unable to post a further lap time was pushed back to 11th on the grid.
Baulked at the start and caught in traffic through the Montreal-to-Williams complex, James rounded out the opening lap in 17th. Grit and determination saw James elevate his Seton Tuning Yamaha R6 through the field over successive laps as he locked horns first with Godfrey then Whitaker as he honed in on the top ten. The opening race of the day would become a war of attrition with 12 non-finishers overall. Two crashes over the closing laps provided deserved reward with a ninth place at the flag for James’ first points of the season.
The team will make the short trip to Brands Hatch GP in Kent for round 6 over the weekend of 19-21 July.
Phil Seton, Team Principal: “That was a very tough weekend and the whole team have put a lot of work into getting the results. We don’t have the finances to do what we need to compete effectively at Supersport level at the moment and can only build one engine per round. With a technical issue with Graeme’s bike on Friday we were on the back foot. I had to borrow an engine from a customer and use parts from the two to make one. As a result, it was 3-4bhp down which at a track like Snetterton is a major disadvantage. We concentrated on the chassis, ensuring that Graeme had the optimum set-up for the weekend. Graeme got the very best out of the bike in qualifying and the two races. We chose the harder tyre and it came into its own at the end of the race. Possibly not soon enough, but he was closing in dramatically on second & third. Graeme rode exceptionally well and was rewarded with two brilliant results taking everything into consideration.
I have to thank the whole team but especially Callum Rank and Shayne Hadland for their hard work, working all hours of the day and night to ensure the bikes made the grid. I would also like to thank Kirk Blacklock for the loan of his cylinder head for Graeme’s bike.
James had a fantastic weekend. He worked incredibly well with the team throughout the weekend. From the first time he rode our bike, his smooth style and ability on a bike showcased just what a future talent he is going to be.James was 5th after Q1 and was unfortunate to have a small tumble whilst on his fastest lap in Q2. But 11th on the grid is excellent considering his previous best was 35th! He dropped at the start but showed some of his true potential as he battled through to finish ninth. I am over the moon with his performance and it gives us something to build on for the remainder of the season.
Moving on to Brands Hatch, financially we may be struggling and if a replacement sponsor doesn’t come on board I may be forced to withdraw Graeme from the Supersport class – a situation I don’t relish being faced with now he has solidified fifth in the Championship.”
Graeme Gowland #81: “It’s been another good consistent weekend and again just on the edge of our first podium! We missed Free Practice 2 with a technical fault so to come out Saturday morning and qualify 3rd was really good. Saturday’s race was a great battle with Billy and Jason. I got a good start in Sunday’s race and sat 4th most of the way, we could have done with the race being a bit longer because I had opted for the harder rear tyre! But I’m happy with 4th and I’m sure a podium is just around the corner for the Seton Tuning R6, providing we find a new sponsor in order to complete the season.”
James Mutton #34: “It was a solid weekend for me on the Seton Tuning Yamaha R6. I started the weekend really strong ending Friday in provisional 5th after first qualifying. A small crash in Saturday’s qualifying cost me as I wasn’t able to improve my time and was bumped back to 11th on the grid for Sundays race. For the race I fought hard after being run wide on the first lap and made my way from 17th to end up with my first top 10 position with a 9th place. Again I can’t thank everyone enough in the Seton Tuning Yamaha team for believing in me and helping me get a solid result. I’m looking forward to Brands Hatch and will be working hard to improve myself to continue moving forward.”
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