BSB Round 4 - Snetterton
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Tyco BMW riders Tommy Bridewell and Michael Laverty shared fourth placed finishes in today’s British Superbike races during round four at Snetterton, with Alastair Seeley second in the National Superstock 1000 class.
Bridewell was the leading BMW Motorrad S1000RR rider during race one in the Tyco camp, although Laverty was in contention in the early exchanges after a great start. Unfortunately for the Ulsterman he was forced to retire with a mechanical problem from fifth place.
He redeemed himself in the second outing with a strong fourth place just 0.067sec behind third placed man Jason O’Halloran. Bridewell was right behind his Tyco BMW team-mate in fifth and holds the same position in the championship standings. Laverty holds seventh place just outside the magical top six, but will be encouraged by his weekend, and especially the race two performance.
Josh Brookes claimed another double podium finish for the Milwaukee Yamaha team with a pair of second places to move just 17 points adrift of the standings leader.
In the opening race Brookes carved his way through from sixth place to second by lap twelve and continued to close the deficit to race leader Shane Byrne over the closing stages to claim another second place finish. Broc Parkes put in a determined ride to battle up the order from 19th place on the grid to claim 11th, narrowly missing out on the top ten.
Race two again saw Brookes fighting in the leading group and determined to push for the first win of the season. However a problem caused the Australian contender to drop down the field, but in true Brookes style he didn’t give up and fought on to move back through the pack to finish second. Parkes had a strong start in the second outing, pushing towards the front of the race, but he later dropped down the order to score his second 11th place finish of the weekend.
Brookes said: “I definitely didn’t get the start I wanted in race one; as I let the clutch out, it was bunny hopping and I lost all my momentum. Going into the first turn, I got bunched up then – there were a lot of different bars bumping. In turn two, it was still a bit squirrelly, and I kind of got stuck in a position behind Stuart Easton for a while. He’s really strong on the brakes, and I struggled to find a way past him. I stayed there far too long, but once I did make the pass I could move forwards and make some passes easier, but we had a strong end to the race and I was happy to be back on the podium.
“We had a bit of an issue in the second race, we have limited electronics but where they work most is on engine braking and mid-way through that race it kept locking up the tyre, not completely but skidding into the turns and I was missing my apexes and losing power. If I rode in my normal way it would have caused me more problems as I would have gone further backwards as you would have seen, but I figured out a way to ride without using the engine to slow the bike up on the way in to the corners. I was able to come back through the pack to come back to second and I was really fortunate to make the end of the race as at one point I thought I might have to pit. I am really pleased though that we could make it a double podium.”
Parkes said: “The first race we started in 19th and got off to a good start, but we got hit in the second corner and went back down the pack and had to climb my way through and I was happy with my pace to finish eleventh and to catch up the time.
“In race two we could be a lot stronger from seventh and I got a blinder of a start and got up to fourth position and was hanging in there and thought I had a good pace. The safety car didn’t really help me and I didn’t get quick enough off the last corner when it came in and then two guys came under me and from there I didn’t quite have the pace and I felt like I lost a lot of rear grip and basically went back. The good thing was I was running near the front and I need to work on that and come back stronger.”
Team Manager Mick Shanley commented: “It was a really positive weekend to come away second in the championship with Josh and feeling comfortable at the top. I think it is obvious we have the pace to be in contention for winning every weekend now. Broc also had a positive weekend and showed he had the pace and was capable of running up the front too, although he dropped back a bit at the end of the second race. Overall it has been a good weekend for Milwaukee Yamaha and we are looking forward to Knockhill.”
The JG Speedfit Kawasaki team’s weekend at Snetterton went from bad to worse on race day as a mixture of bad luck and mechanical issues hampered their race efforts.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw James Ellison suffer nasty-looking crash, in which he was ran over by the front of his bike, when the rain began to fall.
This resulted in Ellison having to start the first race from 10th on the grid and in need of a fight back through the field. Unfortunately he straight on at the end of the Bentley Straight whilst in seventh place on the first lap, dropping him down to 19th position.
At the half-way stage of the race Ellison was then forced into retirement due to his chain stretching and jumping off the sprocket.
Ellison had to start the second race from down in 16th position but after making a great start, found himself up into seventh by the end of the first lap.
Once the safety car had returned to the pit-lane following Taylor Mackenzie’s fire, Ellison found himself up to fifth and was homing in on the podium positions.
However just as he had made it up to third place, the physical effects of his heavy crash in qualifying took it’s toll and he began to fall back down the field – eventually finishing in seventh.
Looking back over the weekend, a disappointed Ellison said: “It’s been an incredibly disappointing day today, to only walk away with a seventh is frustrating for both myself and the team as we know it’s not where we should be – particularly as we set the fastest lap of the weekend in FP3. Unfortunately we just had a bit of bad luck this weekend, the qualifying crash caused a lot of damage to the bike and just left me a bit battered and bruised.
“We were a long way back in race two but the bike was mega and by the end of the first lap we were up in seventh before moving up to third mid-race. I was capable of running the pace when I was out on my own but towards the end of the race, when we were caught up in a battle I was just struggling slightly from the crash and couldn’t keep my rhythm.
“We’ve got two weeks before Knockhill so I’ll get some rest and we’ll come back ready to return to the podium and get the series lead back!”
It was also a dismal day on the other side of the garage, with James Westmoreland suffering from a double retirement.
The 26-year-old had been lapping around the top 10 places throughout practice but only managed to qualify down in 23rd position before retiring from race one on lap four.
Westmoreland was forced back to the garage once again in the second race, suffering from a clutch failure on lap 11.
A frustrated Westmoreland said: “Today has been particularly difficult. We made a big jump forward with the setting of the bike this weekend and certainly had the pace to run top ten. Unfortunately I messed up a bit in qualifying which put us back on the grid as I just couldn’t match my earlier pace. We fixed that in warm-up but in the first race we had a sensor break on us and then in the second race we had a problem with the clutch.
“Despite this, we can walk away with some positives and Knockhill is one of my favourite tracks, as well as being one of my strongest, so we can hopefully continue building and enjoy two strong rides there.”
Today’s results mean that Ellison has now lost the lead of the championship to Shane Byrne and finds himself down in third position, 33 points behind the reigning champion.
The Teams head to Scotland next for round five of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Knockhill, with the action getting underway on Friday 3 July.
Rider Team Pts
1 Shane Byrne PBM Kawasaki 151
2 Josh Brookes Milwaukee Yamaha 134
3 James Ellison JG Speedfit Kawasaki 118
4 Stuart Easton PBM Kawasaki 99
5 Tommy Bridewell Tyco BMW 77
6 Jason O'Halloran Honda Racing 74
7 Michael Laverty Tyco BMW 53
8 Dan Linfoot Honda Racing 50
9 Howie Mainwaring Quattro Plant Kawasaki 45
10 Chris Walker Be Wiser Kawasaki 45
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BIG gratz to Tyco BMW!
Alastair Seeley continued BMW Motorrad’s winning streak at the International North West 200 by taking a fabulous Superbike victory for Tyco BMW on Saturday [May 16]. The win helped the Ulsterman go level of victories with the legendary Robert Dunlop – both men now sharing 15 wins apiece at the top of the all-time winners’ list.
The Tyco BMW rider is usually never short on words, but was well aware of his feat as he crossed the line in front of Ian Hutchinson and Bruce Anstey, and duly paid tribute to the late great Dunlop brothers, Joey and Robert.
“I’m a bit overwhelmed if I’m honest. To have equaled Robert’s record in such a short space of time… I’m stuck for words,” said Seeley. “I used to watch Joey and Robert race here as a boy, and to join Joey on thirteen wins on Thursday was an honour, but to join Robert now on fifteen is just amazing for me and the Tyco BMW team. Big credit to all the boys for a big effort this North West and of course BMW Motorrad for providing top class machinery.”
The double British champion also finished in second place after a thrilling duel in the Superstock class to fellow BMW rider Lee Johnston. Seeley led on numerous occasions throughout, and despite Johnston putting an embargo on him taking his 16th career win at the Triangle after an epic struggle, Seeley heaped praise on his local rival.
“I’m not a bit disappointed at all. It’s just good to be on the podium here at the North West in this type of company. Lee and I used each other to draft ourselves away from Dunlop on our BMWs, which were certainly stronger than the Yamaha. Hutchy came strong at the end but it’s a 1-2 for BMW Motorrad and you can’t ask for better than that.”
Superbike Race – Winner: Alastair Seeley [Tyco BMW] 22mins 15.677sec; 2nd – Ian Hutchinson [PBM Kawasaki] 22mins 15.982sec; 3rd – Bruce Anstey [Padgett’s Honda] 22mins 16.220sec; 4th – Lee Johnston [ECR/Burdens BMW] 22mins 22.17.598sec; 5th – Michael Rutter [Penz13.com BMW] 22mins 19.200sec; 6th – John McGuinness [Honda Racing] 22mins 20.644sec
Fastest Lap – Alastair Seeley 121.967mph
Superstock Race – Winner: Lee Johnston [BMW] 22min 17.138sec; 2nd – Alastair Seeley [BMW] 22min 17.330sec; 3rd – Ian Hutchinson [Kawasaki] 22min 17.557sec; 4th – Michael Dunlop [Yamaha] 22min 18.299sec; 5th – William Dunlop [BMW] 22min 31.884sec; 6th – Martin Jessopp [BMW] 22min 32.157sec