MIXED FORTUNES FOR STOBART HONDA AT BRANDS HATCH The opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship heralded mixed fortunes for the Stobart Honda team with rider Jeremy McWilliams having a best result of seventh place in the...
MIXED FORTUNES FOR STOBART HONDA AT BRANDS HATCH
The opening round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship heralded mixed fortunes for the Stobart Honda team with rider Jeremy McWilliams having a best result of seventh place in the opening race at Brands Hatch.
With backing from The Mob, VK Vodka Kick and Vent Axia, the Paul Bird Motorsport team were hoping for a decent points haul in round one of the thirteen round series, but fortune contrived against them in front of a record 50,000 Easter bank holiday crowd.
In the opening race McWilliams battled to seventh place with fellow Ulsterman Michael Laverty claiming fifteenth to secure valuable points for the team but a broken clutch saw Gary Mason retire early in the race.
In race two McWilliams was dicing along with Mason in a group just behind the leading bunch when disaster struck late in the race and he crashed out at Clearways after tangling with a back marker. However Mason and Laverty scored more points for the team in tenth and fifteenth place respectively.
"I'm not sure I agree with the Blue Flag where riders are told to hold their line as it makes it very difficult to pass when there is only one line. I was trying to take every possible advantage and I went underneath (Richard) Wren and got my front wheel in front of him but he held his line and we came together and both ended up crashing out. I'm pretty disappointed because the best we could have hoped for was seventh or eighth position but we would have taken the points anyhow but we've still got a bit of a way to go yet" said a battered and bruised McWilliams.
Mason however was upbeat despite his disappointment in race one. "We have learnt a lot from the race and we know where we need to make a few improvements to help us all and we will move that on to Thruxton now. We're not a million miles away but here it does make a huge difference. It was my fault I fried the clutch in the opening race but everyone's working flat out and we will just do our best."
In his second year with the team, Laverty commented: "I'm happy enough to come away with some points after the way things have been this weekend. I improved gradually in the races and didn't set the world on fire but I was steady and didn't take any chances. Hopefully we can improve from here but I'm happy enough with this weekend" said the rider who suffered a heavy crash during practice.
Team owner Paul Bird said: "It's not the start we had hoped for, as we were hoping for a couple of sixth places but we were just unlucky with the backmarker in the second race and we just have to put that down to inexperience on his part. Things will get better and we'll get stronger round by round I'm sure."
The next round of the Championship takes place at Thruxton in two weeks time on April 9/10.
<pre> Superbike Race One Result 1. Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda 23m17.575s 2. Gregorio Lavilla Ducati +10.242s 3. Glen Richards Kawasaki +10.432s 4. Michael Rutter Honda +10.533s 5. Sean Emmett Yamaha +14.168s 6. Karl Harris Honda +18.874s 7. Jeremy McWilliams Stobart Honda +24.408s 8. Dean Thomas Kawasaki +24.604s 9. John Reynolds Suzuki +26.892s 10. Tommy Hill Yamaha +32.289s
15. Michael Laverty Stobart Honda +40.244s.
Superbike Race Two Result 1. Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda 23m16.796s 2. Michael Rutter Honda +5.041s 3. Gregorio Lavilla Ducati +8.027s 4. Leon Haslam Ducati +9.786s 5. Sean Emmett Yamaha +14.181s 6. Karl Harris Honda +14.421s 7. Glen Richards Kawasaki +16.612s 8. Scott Smart Suzuki +24.002s 9. John Reynolds Suzuki +24.439s 10. Gary Mason Stobart Honda +24.506s
15. Michael Laverty Stobart Honda +35.888s.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship Standings (after Round 2) Pos Rider Bike Points 1. Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda 50 2. Gregorio Lavilla Ducati 36 3. Michael Rutter Honda 33 4. Glen Richards Kawasaki 25 5. Sean Emmett Yamaha 22 6. Karl Harris Honda 20 7. John Reynolds Suzuki 14 8. Dean Thomas Kawasaki 13 8. Leon Haslam Ducati 13 10. Tommy Hill Yamaha 10 11. Jeremy McWilliams Stobart Honda 9
14. Gary Mason Stobart Honda 6 17. Michael Laverty Stobart Honda 2