Mixed fortunes for Rock supported riders and teams over the weekend at Brands Hatch. With 55,000 fans converging on Kent for round six of the MCE British Superbikes Championship.
Peter Hickman maintained his 13th place overall in the title standings for the RAF Reserves BMW team. Despite a loose foot peg, he pushed hard in the second half of the race on Sunday to be ultimately rewarded with three hard earned points.
Peter Hickman: “It’s been another weekend where things just haven’t gone for us and we’re in general need of a bit of luck at the moment. I made a good start in the first race and had made a couple of places off the line but when we got to Druids the whole pack was bunched up and O’Halloran hit the back of Kiyo which left me with nowhere to go. To have a race end so soon through no fault of our own was hugely disappointing and frustrating.”
“I was way back on the grid for the second race and it was hard to make any passes as the riders in front were all lapping at a similar pace. To make matters worse, my foot kept slipping off the foot peg which I thought was oil but turned out to be a loose foot peg. I kept going and gave it 100% the whole way but I don’t feel that we deserve to be in 13th place. All we can do is keep working hard and hope that the tide will turn soon.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “It’s definitely not been our weekend again and that was proved in race one when Peter was the unlucky rider to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when Jason O’Halloran crashed. There’s nothing you can do about it but it just made Peter’s life a lot harder in race two. He was deeper on the grid and it was hard to get going with the lap times being so close amongst everyone.”
“The loose foot peg naturally made matters worse so full credit to Peter for finishing where he did. He battled hard throughout the race and whilst three points might not be many, he certainly deserved every single one of them. It’s not where we want to be though so we need to start getting back up to the sharp end from the next round onwards. I’d also like to say a big thank you to the whole team and all the sponsors for their continued hard work and support.”
Luke Hedger had the strongest weekend out of the Gearlink Kawasaki riders and gained a sixth place and seventh place. Ben Wilson was looking at two finishes this weekend and achieved seventh and ninth in the two Supersport races. Glenn Irwin crashed out of race one and fought hard in race two to finish in eighth position. Placing him in third in the overall Championship standings.
Glenn Irwin: "I'm really disappointed about the weekend as we had a lot of problems throughout and we weren't able to find a set-up that worked well. We put in some good times but just not consistently. I wanted to fight for my lead in the Championship but that just wasn't possible this weekend at Brands.
The crash in race one was totally out of my hands, the bike locked up and spat me off and I don't know if it did some internal damage as I really struggled in race two with the front end. I really didn't want to crash again and just wanted to try and bring it home in one piece and get a few valuable Championship points."
Ben Wilson: "I came to Brands wanting two race finishes after the shocking few races I've had but I was hoping I might have been a little higher up the pecking order. It is so frustrating fighting for a top ten place when I used to be fighting for a podium. I need to get things sorted out and have a good second half to the season."
Luke Hedger: "It was a good weekend and I was in the top six for most of the weekend and again managed to go faster in each session. We had a few set-up troubles at the start of the weekend but we got that sorted out for the races, I was really pleased to be top Gearlink Kawasaki rider in both races and thank them for their help again."
Morello Racing experienced a difficult weekend with Pirelli National Superstock 1000cc Championship riders Josh Elliott and John Ingram both crashing out of the 16 lap race. Even with the weekend results Elliott is still in first place in the current standings with 135 points, a clear 22 point lead. In the British Superbike Championship races Lee Costello crashed out in the opening 20-lap race and then sadly forced to retire from the second on the eighth lap after his clutch started to slip.
Steve Buckenham, Team Owner: “It’s definitely been a day to forget with not a single finish taken. Josh took another excellent pole position and was again looking strong in the race but he got drawn into a battle with Alastair Seeley and unfortunately came off second best. I’m confident he had the pace to win the race but you have to remember he’s only 21 and he’ll learn from today’s race. It’s the first mistake he’s made all year so he’ll bounce back next time without doubt.”
“John had a small issue with the bike in qualifying that left him lower down the grid than he would have liked but made a good start and was trying to keep in touch with the top ten when he lost the rear and got launched. Riders were dropping like flies in the Superbike races too and Lee sadly lost the front end on the final lap just as he was going for 17th place. In the second, the clutch began to slip and he had to retire so we’ll simply forget about this weekend and look to bounce back at Thruxton in two weeks time.”
Thankfully all of the Rock supported riders are in good shape and fit to ride in the next round. Sadly not all of the riders were as lucky, as PBM's Stuart Easton suffered a lower leg fracture and ligament damage to his knee in a frightening accident during the first British Superbike Championship race. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope to see him back on the track soon.
In Speedway news Rock supported rider Tai Woffinden achieved 8 points in the fifth round of the 2015 FIM Speedway Grand Prix. Despite a watersoaked meeting in Daugavpils, he ended with a nine-point lead in the World Championship standings.
Tai Woffinden: “It was just one of those nights where I really had mixed fortunes. I’m pretty pleased to come away with eight points under my belt and a nine-point lead in the championship.
“Daugavpils isn’t the easiest track to pass on and there were a couple of races where I didn’t make the best of starts. I’m pleased it’s out the way, I didn’t have a great meeting last year there.
“Looking back at the weekend, I have to say I'm pretty satisfied with it all.”
In the current Championship standings fellow Rock riders Chris 'Bomber' Harris is currently 13th with 27 points, Matej Žagar is in 6th position with 40 points. Troy Batchelor had a great result finishing third at the Latvian GP. Troy moved up to 12th in the standings with 28 points, if he's able to maintain his form he'll have a guaranteed place in the 2016 series.
The next round of the MCE British Superbike Championship takes place at Thruxton, Hampshire from the 31st of July to the 2nd of August. Including supporting events such as the FIM Sidecar World Championship, Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Pirelli National Superstock 1000 and 600 Championship and British Motostar. The next Speedway FIM World Championship event occurs on the 25th of July at Malilla in Sweden at the G&B Arena, with engines starting at 19:00 local time.