After a six-week break, the Norwich-based Morello/host-it.co.uk Kawasaki Racing team returned to Pirelli Superstock 1000 Championship action at the weekend with round four taking place at their local Snetterton circuit and it was a good day for the team with new recruit Luke Jones claiming a fine seventh place. Team-mate Sam Clarke was also in the points in 15th.
Both riders made steady improvements in free practice with Sam hopeful of a top ten position in qualifying but a spill mid-way through the 25-minute session meant he dropped down the leaderboard to an eventual 19th. New team member Jones though went the opposite way and, first time out with the team, 15th overall was a solid start to the partnership.
Sunday saw good conditions at the Norfolk venue with the 14-lap race getting underway mid-afternoon and a brilliant start by Jones saw the Hereford rider jump up the order from 15th to ninth. Clarke was only three further places back in twelfth after an equally good start and by lap ten the Australian had moved up to tenth.
By half race distance, Luke found himself battling for a top eight finish but Clarke was struggling slightly and dropped back to an eventual 15th which earned him a single Championship point. Former 125cc British Champion Jones was enjoying himself on the Kawasaki ZX-10R though and he was duly rewarded at the chequered flag with seventh place after overhauling Tom Neave in the closing stages.
Luke Jones: “We’ve been heading in the right direction all weekend and what’s been pleasing is that I’ve been able to get quicker each and every time I went out on the bike. I’ve ridden a Kawasaki ZX-10R many times before but the characteristics were different so the team have been helping me get more and more comfortable on the bike. I’ve been trying not to go too hard, too soon and crash and although I was struggling a bit with the front end in the race, it was really enjoyable. The team have been mega all weekend and given me everything I’ve needed so I’m really looking forward to the next round.”
Steve Buckenham, Team Owner: “Luke hasn’t been with the team long and only had one outing on the bike before the weekend but although he struggled a bit in qualifying, he put together a really strong race. He made a superb start and pushed on throughout the race, deservedly taking seventh place in the closing stages. Sam’s obviously not so happy and the crash in qualifying naturally set him back a bit. A top ten finish looked very much on the cards in the race though before he experienced a problem with the brake span adjuster and it was enough to see him drop back. Both riders finished in the points though so it gives us something to build on ahead of the next round.”
The next round of the series takes place at Knockhill on July 6-8.
After a successful campaign at the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT Races, Michael Rutter and the Bathams Racing team were back in short circuit action at the weekend with the Bridgnorth rider taking a hard-earned tenth place in round four of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship at Snetterton.
Michael made a steady start to his weekend on the BMW S1000RR as he got back into the swing of the short circuits after the International road races but, after placing 23rd in the opening free practice session on Friday morning, he improved his lap time by two seconds in the afternoon’s second session to move up to 12th.
Saturday again saw dry conditions at the Norfolk venue with the single qualifying session getting underway at 12.50pm and although he ran as high as third at one stage, Michael’s fastest lap of 1m50.975s meant he had to settle for twelfth place and the fourth row of the grid for Sunday’s race. However, such was the close proximity of the times, he was only one tenth of a second adrift of seventh.
The 14-lap race was held in slightly cooler conditions and although Michael completed the first lap in 11th place, he was down to 13th second time around as a number of riders crashed or made harsh moves around him which resulted in places being lost. Briefly pushed back to 14th, Michael regrouped though and for the second half of the race he steadily moved forward.
Indeed, by lap 12 he’d worked his way up to ninth and found himself battling with fellow BMW rider Jordan Gilbert in the closing stages. It was the youngster who came out on top when Michael ran slightly wide on the final lap but it was another top ten finish with the six points earned seeing him end the day in ninth place overall in the Championship table.
DAN LINFOOT DIGS DEEP IN SNETTERTON COMEBACK
It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for the Honda Racing team as the fourth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship took place at Snetterton. With both Dan Linfoot and Jason O’Halloran reunited with the squad, the plan for the weekend was to build and collect points aboard the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade.
Unfortunately the first race of the day ended abruptly for Honda’s duo, after a solid qualifying for both riders they lined up on the grid with Linfoot sixth and O’Halloran tenth. Both riders received a good start off the line, but the race came to an end at turn two, on lap one, when the pair were involved in an incident on track and taken out by another rider.
Linfoot was left unhurt from the incident, but the ‘The O’Show’ was taken to the medical centre and already nursing an injury, was declared unfit to take part in the second race. Although no further injuries were found, the MSV medical team have advised O’Halloran to be checked out by his specialist as a precaution.
With unfinished business after race one, Linfoot went into the second race on a mission. Starting from 11th on the grid, the 29-year old made the most of the CBR’s power and started picking off his rivals. During the closing stages of the race he took fourth place and scored the fastest lap of the race on the final lap (1:49.005).
Eventually crossing the line fourth, he collected vital points towards the overall championship where he’s now sitting 11th. Having been away from racing for nine weeks after an accident at the second round, Linfoot impressed with his pace and progress throughout the weekend.
The Honda team will now regroup and focus on an upcoming test at Knockhill, before heading back to Scotland for the fifth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, which takes place 6-8 July.
I started the first race sixth on the grid, but that didn’t last very long! I made a good start, but as I’m rusty on the bike I didn’t brake very well in to turn one, I went into the second turn and had a clatter from behind and that was me down the road, taken out by another rider. I’m disappointed as we had a good qualifying and there was potential there for a good race, but more importantly I needed a race under my belt to get my confidence back. I was 11th on the grid for the second race, we got an average start and I settled into the group I was in; there was an immediate gap at the front to us, so I just settled into the group and set a target that if I was the first rider home in my group I’d be happy. Towards the end of the race I made better pace and found another level; it helps to have a fast bike! We finished fourth, which is more than I expected to be honest on my comeback and we’ve collected good points to start moving up in the standings. What’s positive is that we finished at the front with very little bike time, so with the test at Knockhill then more days on the Fireblade we should be ready for a podium or two at the next round!
My weekend at Snetterton hasn’t really gone to plan, with the incident in race one and my race coming to a premature end! Unfortunately I was taken out on the second corner of the first lap and was declared unfit for the second race. I am majorly disappointed, it’s been a crazy five weeks to even get here and then to do what we did yesterday, just missing out on Q3. We had pretty strong pace and I was feeling good coming into the race and hoping to score some points. It’s disappointing not to finish and not to be able to take part in the second race, but sadly this is bike racing and sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan. It’s such a shame as I love Snetterton and I know if I was 100% fit, this weekend would have been a completely different story, but for now I have to focus on the next round – we have three weeks, so it’s back on the rehab train for me and make sure I’m fit and ready to go at Knockhill.
It’s been a mixed weekend for us at Snetterton. Race one was devastating for both Dan and Jason with the incident at turn two, it was clearly not their fault and for both riders to go out in that way, on their return to racing after injuries was just devastating. Jason has taken a knock to his arm and a bash to his foot, he’s a bit battered and bruised but I know he’ll bounce back from this – I wish him a speedy recovery. It was a great result for Dan in the second race, he had a good start and wasn’t too far away, he slowly chipped away throughout the race. As he’s said across the weekend, he’s riding in a different area at the moment as he’s not 100% fit, but I think there’s a lot more to come from him this season. I’m happy with the set-up this weekend and what we’ve managed to achieve under the circumstances, so it’ll now be all systems go as we look ahead to the test at Knockhill and then the next round in the series.
With their road racing exploits at the North West 200 and Isle of Man come to a conclusion, the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team resumed their challenge for the British Superbike Championship at Snetterton at the weekend and it proved to be an excellent meeting for the RAF Marham-based team with Jake Dixon claiming superb second and third place finishes in the two races.
Despite a spill during Friday’s free practice session, the Ashby resident recorded the sixth fastest time overall with a best lap of 1m47.800s putting him in a strong position ahead of Saturday’s single qualifying session. As expected, he improved his pace considerably on the Kawasaki ZX-10R and although 1m46.906s saw him take fourth place and agonisingly miss out on a front row start for race one, he arrived on the grid in confident mood.
Conditions were again good at the Norfolk venue on Sunday and having placed fourth quickest in morning warm-up, a good start by the 22-year old saw him move up a place to third. He was soon pushed back to fourth by Josh Brookes but as the race wore on, the front four riders began to close up once more.
An overtaking manoeuvre on Brookes by Jake on the penultimate lap saw him run on to the grass at the end of the back straight but he clawed back the ground to put in a great pass at Coram on the final lap to seal third place and the final podium position.
Race two followed a similar pattern as he held onto third in the opening stages and although he slipped back to fifth at one stage, he was promoted back up to third on lap nine when Bradley Ray and Glenn Irwin crashed out. He duly closed back up to Brookes and Leon Haslam and when they had a coming together exiting the last corner on the last lap, Jake was able to squeeze into second place at the chequered flag with just 0.129s covering the trio.
The results and 36 points have helped catapult him up the Championship table and he’s now moved up into fourth place with 91 points.
Team-mate Jordan Weaving was also back in action in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship after recovering from shoulder injuries and a good performance in qualifying on the Briggs Equipment Kawasaki ZX-10R saw him line up in ninth place on the grid for Sunday’s 14-lap race. However, a crash in morning warm-up resulted in major damage to the bike and he was unable to take his place on the grid, a disappointment for all concerned.
Jake Dixon: “I felt good all weekend and the lap times were good throughout practice and qualifying so it was good to convert that into two good results. It was a bit of a scary moment when I went on to the grass in the first race but I felt that Josh was holding me up so was desperate to get by him. To be honest, I thought I could win the race but it just took too long to get by Josh as he was strong on the brakes but I managed to get by him on the last lap to take third.”
“I started strongly in race two but then got a bit flustered and it wasn’t until Brad and Glenn went down that I was able to get back into it. I’d lost two seconds to Josh and Leon by then but I kept chipping away and got back with them although it was a little bit too late. When they had a bit of a coming together though, I just went for the line and although I maybe should have clicked first gear second place made it a fantastic weekend for the whole team and I’m really happy with how today has gone.”
Lee Hardy, Team Manager: “We were a bit deflated after qualifying as although P4 was good, we thought Jake had done enough to get on the front row and everyone else’s pace caught us out a little but race day went really well and we finally made it on to the podium at our home round! In both races, Jake opted for the harder SC1 rear tyre and you could clearly see he was getting stronger as each race wore on. We’re delighted with two podiums and with how Jake rode and it’s meant we’ve jumped up to fourth place overall which is where we need to be.”
“Jordan did really well on his comeback from injury and P9 in qualifying was a strong showing although we knew the 14-lap race would be harder. The injuries have made him refine his style a little bit, which has been of benefit but, unfortunately, he had a crash in morning warm-up which pretty much totalled the bike. We had little option other than to sit out the race but thankfully Jordan wasn’t injured and we have a good break now before the next round.”
Snetterton 300 Circuit Statistics
Length: 2.99 miles (4.811km)
Pole Position: Left
BSB Lap Record: Shane Byrne – 1:47.143 (2017)
Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Leon Haslam 91 30:10.370 Kawasaki
2 Glenn Irwin 2 +0.407 Ducati
3 Jake Dixon 27 +1.727 Kawasaki
4 Josh Brookes 25 +1.878 Yamaha
5 Danny Buchan 83 +9.220 Kawasaki
6 Tarren Mackenzie 95 +10.264 Yamaha
7 Peter Hickman 60 +10.458 BMW
8 James Ellison 77 +12.296 Yamaha
9 Christian Iddon 24 +20.503 BMW
10 Richard Cooper 47 +25.097 Suzuki
DNF Dan Linfoot 4 DNF Honda
DNF Jason O’Halloran 22 DNF Honda
Pos Rider Number Time Constructor
1 Leon Haslam 91 20:01.207 Kawasaki
2 Jake Dixon 27 +0.040 Kawasaki
3 Josh Brookes 25 +0.129 Yamaha
4 Dan Linfoot 4 +11.425 Honda
5 Danny Buchan 83 +12.268 Kawasaki
6 Peter Hickman 60 +12.432 BMW
7 Richard Cooper 47 +14.733 Suzuki
8 Christian Iddon 24 +14.911 BMW
9 Michael Laverty 7 +15.733 BMW
10 Andrew Irwin 18 +27.365 Ducati
Pos Rider Number Constructor Points
1 Leon Haslam 91 Kawasaki 165
2 Bradley Ray 28 Suzuki 101
3 Shane Byrne 67 Ducati 98
4 Jake Dixon 27 Kawasaki 91
5 Glenn Irwin 2 Ducati 79
6 Josh Brookes 25 Yamaha 72
7 Jason O’Halloran 22 Honda 63
8 Danny Buchan 83 Kawasaki 63
9 Christian Iddon 24 BMW 48
10 Michael Laverty 7 BMW 46
11 Dan Linfoot 4 Honda 42
Young team-mate Harris Beech was also in action in the two British Junior Supersport Championship races although he was unable to pick up any points on this occasion with the Alveley riding finishing in 17th in race one and failing to finish the second ten-lap encounter.
Michael Rutter: “It’s been a really busy few weeks on the road and it was again hard going this weekend but I kept chipping away during practice and qualifying and although 12th on the grid wasn’t where I wanted to be, times were very close and I felt we could give a better account of ourselves in the race.”
“The race itself was very difficult though as it was carnage out there and there were riders crashing out and bashing into me at what seemed like each and every lap – honestly, it was scarier than the TT! I think I got pushed back to about 15th at one stage and it wasn’t until the second half of the race that I was able to get into any kind of rhythm. When I did, I made a decent move forward and managed to get up to ninth only to run wide on the last lap and end up tenth. It was what you’d call a scrappy race but we got some more points and can now look forward to a weekend off.”
The Isle of Man-based Quinnstheprinters.com by Team IMR BMW team were back in Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship action at Snetterton at the weekend but it proved to be a mixed meeting for the riders with Chrissy Rouse crashing out on the opening lap and missing out on a potential podium but Jordan Gilbert claiming ninth, his joint best finish of the year.
After a six-week break since the last round of the series at the beginning of May, both riders quickly got into their stride during Friday’s two free practice sessions with Newcastle’s Rouse ending the day sixth quickest and New Denham’s Gilbert in 13th.
Good, dry conditions again greeted the riders at the Norfolk venue on Saturday and with just one, single qualifying session, both Chrissy and Jordan were eager to make it count. It was Rouse who shone the brightest and with an improvement in his lap time of one second, he qualified in fourth place to head off the second row. Jordan, meanwhile, qualified in 13th place for a fifth row start.
However, all hopes of a podium for Rouse disappeared no sooner had the race begun as he high-sided out of the action at Palmer’s, only a quarter of a way round the opening lap suffering damage to his shoulder in the process. That just left Gilbert to fly the team’s flag and he completed the first lap in 13th place, just where he’d started. A lap later he was up to tenth although this had become 12th a lap later.
Positions continued to change over the next few laps but with Andrew Reid and Alex Olsen crashing out, Jordan was back up into tenth place by lap six. This then became ninth as he overhauled Sam Clarke and for the remainder of the race he was locked in battle with Michael Rutter. The veteran overhauled Jordan with four laps to go but the youngster wasn’t to be outdone and he duly claimed ninth place to equal his best result of the year.
Chrissy Rouse: “It’s been good to get back into the swing of racing after the long break and the times were so close this weekend that you had to be ‘on it’ from the outset. Qualifying went well and I was happy with the way the bike was working and we tried a small change for morning warm-up prior to the race but unfortunately, my hopes of a podium finish, at least, were over almost straightaway. I had moments at both the first and second corners and then again at the third, which was the one that threw me off. I don’t understand at this moment in time what happened but I’m obviously gutted as we could have had a really strong result today. Luckily, I’m still in fourth place overall and there are plenty of races still to go so I’ll look to bounce back strongly next time out.”
Jordan Gilbert: “After the heavy crash last time out at Oulton Park, I was obviously out on a brand new bike this weekend but it felt good straightaway although I was a little rusty to begin with after the long break. I soon got back into my rhythm though and although Snetterton’s not my favourite circuit, I chipped away to set my fastest ever lap time. A tip off in morning warm-up put me on the back foot a bit so I just wanted to bring the bike home and get a solid finish which is what I did. A few people finished ahead of me who I thought I could have got the better of but ninth is my equal best finish of the year and I’m looking forward to the next round at Knockhill, which is one of my favourite circuits.”
Ian Moffitt, Team Principal: “It was good to be back racing again this weekend and after a difficult round three, it was pleasing to have a relatively trouble free weekend – initially. Both riders made steady improvements throughout the sessions and both of them were in a good place ahead of race day although Jordan’s small crash in morning warm-up knocked his confidence. What looked like being a good race day unfortunately didn’t happen though with Chrissy crashing out so soon and it was a huge disappointment for everyone, not least Chrissy. Jordan rode a sensible race though to bring the bike home in ninth but we’ve had seven crashes now so we need to look at what we can do to help both of the riders and ensure these are kept to a minimum in the future.”
Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc race (14 laps)
1 Joe Collier (Aprilia)
2 Billy McConnell (Suzuki)
3 Lee Jackson (Kawasaki)
4 Keith Farmer (BMW)
5 Luke Hedger (BMW)
6 Alastair Seeley (Kawasaki)
7 Luke Jones (Morello/host-it.co.uk Racing Kawasaki)
15 Sam Clarke (Morello/host-it.co.uk Racing Kawasaki)
Championship Standings (after four rounds)
1 McConnell 113pts
2 Collier 100
3 Farmer 95
4 Rouse 68
5 Reid 66
6 Seeley 54
13 Clarke 27
17 Jones 9