The Integro Yamaha squad showed they could compete with the best in the world this weekend, chalking up double top ten results in the World Supersport round at Donington Park. Brad Jones finished in 9th after running in the top five for the first half of the race and Jack Kennedy battled his way up to 7th after qualifying in an unlucky 13th.
Entering as ‘wildcards’ the Colin Appleyard Macadam team had to put in a huge amount of work to get their machines closer to the spec of the series regulars and the bikes had a quick run up at Mallory Park the day before the event.
With comparatively limited track time the duo looked to achieve a good set-up early on and Jack was immediately fast with a P5 in the first practice session before settling into P8 with Brad a couple of places behind, only one second off the fastest rider.
Qualifying was a tale of two sides of the garage as Brad managed to get a fast time in early on as rain started to make the circuit slippery whilst Jack was unlucky to not get a clear track before the weather meant times slowed up. Consequently Brad ended a stunning fifth fastest but Jack was disappointed to be starting the race 13th on the grid.
With Sunday morning dawning, it was nearly a complete disaster for Jack as he slipped off in warm-up, causing substantial damage to his bike, which the team managed to turn around for the mid-day race.
With excitement levels high, both Integro Yamaha riders were interviewed by Eurosport on the grid, with Charlie Hiscott describing Brad as “one of the coolest wildcard riders he’d ever spoken to” whilst Jack sounded ultra determined to make up for his qualifying nightmare.
Brad had a superb start slotting into fourth and staying with the leading riders for nearly half of the race. As the laps ticked down Brad’s lap times slowed slightly and he was engulfed in the ultra-competitive WSS pack but he stayed on for an eye-catching ninth place finish. Amazingly his fastest lap was 1.9 seconds quicker than he did in the BSB round last year, showing how hard he was riding with some of the world’s best riders.
Jack came round after lap one in 12th and settled into a steady pace but then unlike many of his surrounding competitors, he upped his speed as the race wore on. Remaining consistent and determined he was seemingly taking a rider per lap in the closing stages, finishing an impressive seventh at the flag.
It was an focused display of teamwork from the crew to get the bikes prepped and the riders now have some confidence bosting experience and track time, ready for the next Dickies British Supersport round at Snetterton in a fortnight.
Jack Kennedy said: “I’m happy with the way the weekend finished after such a crazy start with the bad qualifying and tipping off this morning which we definitely didn’t need! I knew I had decent race pace so I was steady to start with and we also had the front brake coming into the bar, so I wound in some more at the lever and then we were nice and settled. The lap times were really strong as the race went on and I manged to get by a few lads for a decent finish. The whole crew put a big effort in this week so I’m glad we could repay them with two good results.”
Brad Jones added: “It was a tough race to be honest! The first eleven laps were great and I felt comfortable with the fast pace but then the tyre dropped off a little and with less fuel load the bike was moving around loads so my lap times dropped. I’ve raced against some really experienced riders this weekend which has been invaluable and enjoyed the whole weekend massively!”
Team owner Robin Appleyard summed up: “It’s been an eventful weekend for sure but we ground out some impressive results so everyone is happy. The lads put some massive efforts in to get us ready for the weekend, much more than we anticipated when we decided to do this to be honest!
Jack obviously had to start from way back but he kept his head and had an added incentive once he could see his teammate in front of him. His late race pace was very strong and he remembered he can run at that level.
Brad was impressive throughout the weekend and started the race so strongly to keep with the top lads. He was two seconds quicker than when he was here last year which just shows how far he’s come on and how hard he had to work. I’m impressed with the whole team but there’s no time to relax; it’s work tomorrow and we need to switch everything back for BSB.”