RD6 - Thruxton - MCE Insurance British Superbikes
Last weekend saw riders and teams of the MCE Insurance British Superbikes head to the iconic Thruxton for round 6 of the championship. At the midway point in the season this round was all about cementing yourself in the top six or making that stride into the top six before its too late.
In free practice 1 it was Shane 'Shakey' Byrne on his Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki who topped the time sheets closely followed by local lad Tommy Bridewell and Josh Brookes on the Milwaukee Yamahas. Peter Hickman who is known to be fast around Thruxton powered his RAF Reserves Honda to the fourth fastest time. Once the initial set ups were sorted the times started to drop and in FP2 the top 16 were separated by just 0.994s. Bridewell took the top time followed by Shakey and Michael Rutter on the Bathams BMW. Day two and the weather had turned, FP3 was a complete washout but that didn't stop some of the riders getting out. Proven wet specialists Josh Waters and Keith Farmer topped the times in the sodden conditions.
By the time qualifying happened the weather had improved and the sun shone down. The times across the board were very close once again with a different rider topping each session. Josh Brookes took the first, John Hopkins the second and Jakub Smrz the third gifting him the accolade of being the first rider to get the new Ducati Panigale on pole. Brookes followed him up in second position on the grid and surprisingly Shakey was pushed back to the second row by Dan Linfoot who is in great form.
Race 1 started and Smrz had a terrible start from pole letting a whole host of riders past him as the Ducati jumped about underneath him. Dan Linfoot who has been consistent all year but unable to break the top five surged into the lead as Brookes and Shakey followed. Linfoot led for a number of laps then Brookes made his move taking the lead. Shakey waited behind Linfoot for a couple of laps which was probably his downfall as he gave Brookes enough time to clear off. To be fair Josh was riding the perfect race and it reflected in the gap he created! Shakey eventually made the pass on Linfoot and got himself into second position. Before long though one rider could be seen moving through the pack, Ryuichi Kiyonari. Kiyo had a poor qualifying session and had to start from 11th but the Japanese rider showed amazing skill to carve through the field and close the gap on the front three. He passed Linfoot and then chased down Shakey. The three times champions battled it out during the final laps and as Brookes crossed the line either of them could have taken second out of Club Chicane. Shakey had the legs though and finished in second taking 3 podium credits.
Race 2 and it was Linfoot on pole as he picked up the fastest lap in the race before. The race got under way and Shakey shot into the lead from position two with Brookes following, only a couple of laps were completed though as Tommy Bridewell's bike blew meaning the race was red flagged. The race was restarted as a 15 lap sprint, Shakey led from the front initially but he had a real fight on his hands with Linfoot, Walker and Brookes all vying for the front position. Eventually Brookes took the lead and just as he did in race 1 began to gap the rest. Also like in race 1 Kiyonari had caught up to Shakey and moved into third, once again though he couldn't find a way through and the race finished Brookes, Byrne and Kiyo.
In amongst all the racing Club MCE members took part in fantastic VIP experiences including pillion laps, safety car laps in the Nissan GTR, hang out with pole sitter Jakub Smrz, Official Pit Crew with Team WD40, Grid walks and more! To be part of Club MCE all you need is an MCE policy and to sign up here on the Club MCE app.
The Oulton Park triple header is this weekend, expect fireworks! Shakey will want to get back to winning ways, Brookes has a double win to build off and Kiyo is back to his old competitive self! Keep up to date with Big Ed's Facebook for all the live updates, news and gossip around the paddock.
For more information on the series visit MCE Insurance British superbikes.
05.08.2014 - Big Ed