SEVENTH HEAVEN FOR MASON
BIRD SET TO RING THE CHANGES FOR BRANDS HATCH
Stobart Honda rider Gary Mason overcame difficult damp conditions to record a best result of seventh position at the penultimate round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Donington Park today.
The 26 year old from Lichfield followed up a tenth place finish in the dry opening leg with a battling seventh place finish after a torrential rain shower dampened the Leicestershire circuit.
Mason steadily clawed his way through the field and stayed on board whilst others around him fell and as a result remains in eighth position in the Championship.
"It was very difficult conditions and a lot of people crashed out. If you went in too hard, you went down, it was that simple. You needed to be up at the front of the grid to benefit as it was a bit of a freight train really and you couldn't get a dry line to overtake" said Mason.
Meanwhile team mate Michael Laverty weighed in with a tenth place finish in leg two after crashing out whilst well placed inside the points on the final lap in race one.
The 24 year old from Toomebridge struggled during the early part of the weekend due to injury but battled back to record his first points of the Championship since his Snetterton podium back in July.
"I'm reasonably happy with that considering where I qualified. I'm still not riding as strong as I could be and it's taken time this weekend, so I have to build on that. Earlier in the season I would have been happy with a tenth place, but not now. Hopefully we can get back to normal at Brands Hatch in two weeks time and get back on the pace again" said Laverty.
After a weekend of frustration, team owner Paul Bird revealed that he is planning on putting a third rider out for Brands Hatch in the championship finale in two weeks time:
"We have an obligation to our sponsors and to the team to end the season on a positive note and I'm already making plans to bring in another rider at Brands Hatch who could do just that for us. Michael and Gary have struggled recently and it could just be the tonic they need to spur them on but for a team that is used to winning championships, racking up a few points here and there is not what we are interested in. We need to move on from here and fast and it has to be our aim to round the season off in style." commented the Penrith businessman.
Bennetts British Superbike Race One Result
1, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) 30m49.746s, 2, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +2.054s, 3, Leon Haslam (Ducati) +11.856s, 4, Glen Richards (Kawasaki) +14.456s, 5, John Reynolds (Suzuki) +19.583s, 6, Michael Rutter (Honda) +28.931s, 7, Scott Smart (Kawasaki) +38.386s, 8, Tommy Hill (Yamaha) +38.831s, 9, Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +38.921s, 10, Gary Mason (Stobart Honda) +39.184s.
Bennetts British Superbike Race Two Result
1, Gregorio Lavilla (Ducati) 31m26.230s, 2, Leon Haslam (Ducati) +4.022s, 3, Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda) +5.970s, 4, Michael Rutter (Honda) +11.612s, 5, James Haydon (Suzuki) +14.758s, 6, Dean Thomas (Kawasaki) +17.401s, 7, Gary Mason (Stobart Honda) +29.427s, 8, Scott Smart (Kawasaki) +29.974s, 9, Karl Harris (Honda) +51.731s, 10, Michael Laverty (Stobart Honda) +54.798s.
<pre> Bennetts British Superbike Championship Standings (after Round 24) 1, Gregorio Lavilla Ducati 416 2, Ryuichi Kiyonari Honda 403 3, Michael Rutter Honda 353 4, Leon Haslam Ducati 305 5, Glen Richards Kawasaki 231 6, Karl Harris Honda 195 7, Dean Thomas Kawasaki 176 8, Gary Mason Stobart Honda 156 9, John Reynolds Suzuki 139 10, Michael Laverty Stobart Honda 119