DOUBLE SUPERBIKE CUP JOY FOR JACKSON Krystal Racing Space Air's Lee Jackson scored two second place finishes in the British Superbike Cup at Mallory Park this afternoon. Riding his usual Superstock Yamaha YZF-R1 machine...
DOUBLE SUPERBIKE CUP JOY FOR JACKSON
Krystal Racing Space Air's Lee Jackson scored two second place finishes in the British Superbike Cup at Mallory Park this afternoon. Riding his usual Superstock Yamaha YZF-R1 machine with slick tyres, the Lincoln rider beat several series regulars to bag two podiums in the Cup class of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
It was a difficult start to the weekend following the tragic death of Ollie Bridewell, a close friend of the team on Friday afternoon. Both Jackson and the team had considered withdrawing from the event, but after much deliberation it was agreed that they would run.
More trouble struck on Saturday when inclement weather saw the cancellation of qualifying. Race chiefs ruled all competitors would line-up for Sunday's two races in their respective championship positions. This meant Jackson, who was competing in the class as a one-off, was forced to start second from the back, in 26th spot.
A good start in Race One saw the 32-year-old leapfrog up to 23rd by the end of the first lap, moving up to 22nd by the end of the second and 21st by the third. After chasing down and passing Tom Tunstall on Lap Five, Jackson was by now up to 20th and lying third in the Cup behind Tristan Palmer and Marty Nutt. Jackson sat in 20th for several more laps, slowly closing the gap on Nutt. He finally made the move on Lap 20, and a lap later re-took a spot he'd lost to Dave Johnson. Jackson settled down and put his head down, crossing the line 16th overall and second in the Cup behind Palmer. The race was won by Stobart Honda's Shane Byrne.
Race Two was to prove slightly more difficult, but Jackson rose to the challenge. After dropping down to last after a poor start, he made his first move on Lap Two, passing Brian McCormack for 26th. A lap later he took championship rider Keith Amor, passed Malcolm Ashley on Lap Four and then made a move on Tunstall two laps later to move into 23rd. He then began to close-in on the group ahead which consisted of Nutt, 2006 Cup winner James Buckingham and Aaron Zanotti, but as he was almost within touching distance, all three crashed just in front of him.
Lucky to avoid being caught up himself, Jackson rode around the debris as the Safety Car was deployed. Now running in 20th, Jackson stayed in the same spot until Lap 23 when HM Plant Honda's Jonathan Rea crashed, bringing out the red flag. As Rea was removed from the points as the cause of the flag, Jackson crossed the line 19th, and second again in the Cup, again behind Palmer. Up at the front, HM Plant Honda rider Ryuichi Kiyonari won the race.
"I'm really pleased, I'm more than just happy with that," he said. "We didn't really have a clue how our Superstock bike was going to measure up to the Superbikes, and although we'd been confident that we wouldn't be last, I don't think any of us expected two podiums!
"I really enjoyed both races. Getting 16th overall in Race One was great, and Race Two was pretty tough. I was lucky to avoid the crash in front of me, it looked pretty nasty at the time. Naturally the whole thing has been overshadowed by the sad death of Ollie on Friday, and while I'm pleased about my results, the loss of one of the best guys in the paddock has left a bitter taste for all of us today."
Team Owner Tony Astle echoed his rider's thoughts. "To be honest, the loss of Ollie has made this whole weekend incredibly hard, and we all spent Friday evening trying to decide whether or not to even compete. But at the end of the day, it wouldn't have been fair to Lee to pull out of the event.
"Lee did an amazing job out there today. He showed we can run Supestocks with the Superbikes and beat them at their own game. Both races were superb. Lee seemed perfectly at home in the longer races on the slick tyres and we're all incredibly proud of him.
"To finish 16th and 19th overall and to get two second places is a remarkable achievement and Lee has done a great job. He definitely deserved both of those results today, we couldn't have asked for any more from him."