BURNS BACK WITH A BANG AT MALLORY CHRIS Burns announced his return to the Daily Star British Superbike Cup with a third place followed by a win at Mallory Park today. Onboard the STP Motorsport MV Agusta, the Newcastle rider took a tyre gamble...
BURNS BACK WITH A BANG AT MALLORY
CHRIS Burns announced his return to the Daily Star British Superbike Cup with a third place followed by a win at Mallory Park today. Onboard the STP Motorsport MV Agusta, the Newcastle rider took a tyre gamble which was to pay dividends in the second of two races around the historic Leicestershire circuit.
After Burns and the team were forced to withdraw from the Snetterton round earlier this month, hopes were high they could return to their top three-finishing ways as they returned with the only MV Agusta in the series.
Qualifying in 19th spot overall and third in the Cup behind points leader John Laverty and Superbike veteran Gary Mason, Burns was confident he could grab another podium finish. As Race One got underway, the Geordie dropped one place in the opening lap, but was determined to make up as much ground as possible in the 30-Lap race. Never in a position to challenge Laverty or Mason, he kept his head down and crossed the line 15th overall and third in the Cup.
Showers later that afternoon - with one shortly before Race Two got underway - left teams scratching their heads as to what would be the best tyre choice. As the rain stopped, Burns opted to go out on intermediates, along with several other riders while the rest of the grid were split between wets and slicks.
At the green light, a better start saw him make up two places into 17th, and with tyres which perfectly suited the conditions on the track, he quickly began reeling in his rivals. Laverty, having chosen slicks, dropped down to the back, while Mason on wets, soon began to struggle. Passing Mason on Lap eight, Burns found himself up to 12th. But midway into the 30-Lap race, the drying track began to play into the hands of riders on slicks. Despite his best efforts he was unable to hold of Hydrex Honda's James Ellison, and he was passed on Lap 19. With Laverty too far behind to become a serious challenger, Burns held onto 13th overall as he crossed the line, taking his second victory of the season for STP Motorsport.
"I'm happy, but I'm also pretty relieved that we made the right choice with regards to tyres," he said. "Everyone was in the same position before the race and it was always going to come down to what the weather was going to do and who had chosen what.
"I came into the weekend confident I could get two third places, but I feared Laverty and Mason would be too fast to catch. I've not ridden at Mallory since 2002 and the track has seen a few changes since then, but we were also at a big disadvantage by our weight. Our bike is weighing-in at around 200kg, it's almost the equivalent to having a small child sitting on the back compared to every other bike out there, so a stop-and-go track like Mallory was one we really worried about.
"I'm delighted to come home with a win and a third place. It's great to get the victory not just for me but for everyone in the team. We were all gutted to have to miss Snetterton, so I'm happy I've been able to give them all something to smile about."
Today's results put Burns fifth in the title-chase, just four behind Mason. And although Laverty looks to have the title sewn-up already, with just 18 points separating places second to fifth, everything is still to play for in the battle for runner-up spot as the season hits the halfway point.
The next race for Burns and the STP Motorsport team will be at Oulton Park in Cheshire over the weekend July 18-20