Round 5 - Snetterton 300 - MCE Insurance British Superbikes

MCE Insurance

Riders and teams of the MCE British Superbike Championship headed to the Norfolk countryside over the weekend for round 5 at the Snetterton 300 circuit. The weather conditions were set to be blisteringly hot and the forecast did not disappoint. The circuit is long and fast, with lots of corners suited for passing so as always with MCE BSB anything could happen! Many of the teams went into the weekend feeling confident after the official test at the track just a week before, giving them a chance to get the set up right. The heat though was a factor as tyres disintegrated and engines blew up! Here's the story through my visor...

Free Practice Sessions

Usual sort of story in FP, Lowes and the rest of the riders got out there and stuck in some good times. Reigning champ Shakey came out in his relaxed fashion and put in some quicker times. Lowes snatched back the fastest times in FP1 and FP3 from Shakey with Brookes in the mix too. Though the Aussie did have bike trouble at the end of FP1 meaning he had to pull in. PJ Jacobsen on the other Tyco Suzuki crashed out, something that would become a bit of a theme for his weekend as he did the same again in FP3. Jakub Smrz was going well in the practice sessions, following on from topping the times in testing, it would remain to be seen if he could convert it on raceday. The resurgent Ryuichi Kiyonari was also doing the business in his quiet style not leaving the top 4 in any of the FP sessions. Keith Farmer crashed out in FP3 damaging his leg. It wasn't broken but developed into a blood clot and ruined the rest of his weekend as he was unable to ride.


Aaron Zanotti had problems from the off when his Suzuki GSXR engine blew up in FP, the team do not have a spare and desperately tried to source on but without avail, his weekend was over. Q1 kicked off and within minutes Robbin Harms on the Doobson Honda crashed out at Oggies. The Danish rider has had a lot of offs this season so far, rumour has it the team want him to slow down but he just wants to speed interesting to see how this turns out. When he stays on he is very quick! Drops from Q1 were Tinmouth, Howarth, Rutter, Buchan and Jessop. Shakey was taking his usual tactic with qualifying, waiting until everyone's already out then casually coming out himself, putting in a few fast laps and then coming in again, it works and he got through to Q3 with ease. Kirkham had to pull up with bike trouble at the end of Q2 and the Buildbase BMW boys had a job on to get him back out for Q3. Drops from Q2 were PJ, Waters, Baiocco, Linfoot, Hickman, Costello and Mainwaring. Linfoot seemed to lose a lot of pace from Q1 to 2 as he was well up on the times in the first session but then disappeared in the second. The GBmoto boys are still trying to get the set up on the bike right. Ellison was having a better time in qualifying than he was in FP making his mark on the Milwaukee Yamaha, he managed to secure 5th place on the grid. It was the usual suspects at the front with Lowes taking pole with a record breaking time of 1:48:106, he was followed by Shakey, Brookes, Kiyo, Ellison, Walker, Bridewell, Smrz, Kirkham and Westmoreland.

Race 1

In the mornings warm up session Josh Brookes led the times only to crash at the end of the session. He was alright but the bike needed extensive rebuilding to get him ready for the race. They obviously did something right as when the lights turned green he flew off the line taking the lead from Lowes who had to tuck in behind Shakey, Kiyo followed. Kirkham who started on the grid in 9th had a terrible time and got muscled right down the pack to 18th. On only the second lap Bridewell had to pull up as his Bathams Honda blew up. Bathams have been dogged by running issues all season with both Bridewell and Rutter not performing as they should, the team are going to have to work hard on their Hondas to get them up to race pace. The safety car came out at this point so marshals could clear the materials dropped by Tommy's bike. Under the rules, riders must not pass when the safety car is out or they will incur a time penalty. After a couple of laps the track was clear and the safety car went back in. Lowes found some serious pace after this and managed to pass Shakey and then Brookes at Agostinis to take the lead. Howie Mainwairing had to pull in on the MH Kawasaki after the bike started to overheat, his race was over. Westmoreland who was running in 6th had a disaster when he ran wide and had to take his bike over the grass. The pack sailed past him and he was left back in 16th. Baiocco on the Rapido Sport racing Ducati was having another good day leading on from his results at Knockhill, he was sitting in 9th at this point, and the team were aiming for a top ten finish. There's talk of them getting another bike on the grid in the coming rounds, it will be interesting to see how they get on and who they might find to ride it. Meanwhile at the front Lowes was starting to gap the rest, building a lead of about a second. Behind him it looked as if Brookes was holding up Shakey, using all his power the champ just couldn't find a way past the Aussie. Martin Jessopp came into the pits at this point and ended his race; he broke his coxis at Knockhill though so I don't blame him. James Ellison on the Milwaukee Yamaha was hovering on Shakey's behind trying to find a way through, but the champ is so good at defending he just couldn't get past. The heat continued to dog the riders and Costello on the Halsall Racing Kawasaki had to pull in with bike trouble. The battle at the front continued as Brookes closed the gap on Lowes and Shakey cruised just behind waiting to pounce. Nearing the final laps of the race, Rutter who was sitting way down the pack, pulled in with bike trouble, really not looking good for Bathams. Then fans favourite Chris 'the Stalker' Walker had a disaster when his bike started expelling smoke, the officials were onto it and gave him the black and orange flag meaning he was forced to retire. He was running in 6th, sadly that meant he was knocked out of the top 6. Shakey sitting in 3rd looked as if he was starting to lose pace and Ellison was turning up the heat on him desperately after that podium spot. PJ Jacobsen on the Tyco Suzuki was running in 6th and looked set to take his best ever position...until he crashed out in spectacular fashion sending the bike spiralling through the air and nearly hitting Westmoreland who had made his way all the back up the pack. Lowes took the win without trouble and Brookes just managed to hold second over Shakey.

Race 1 results

  1. 22 Alex LOWES - Samsung Honda
  2. 2 Josh BROOKES - Tyco Suzuki
  3. 67 Shane BYRNE - Rapid Soliticitors Kawasaki
  4. 77 James ELLISON - Milwaukee Yamaha
  5. 23 Ryuichi KIYONARI - Samsung Honda
  6. 27 James WESTMORELAND - Buildbase BMW
  7. 127 Robbin HARMS - Doobson Motorsport Honda
  8. 96 Jakub SMRZ - Padgetts Honda
  9. 21 Josh Waters - Milwaukee Yamaha
  10. Matteo Baiocco - Rapido Sport Racing Ducati

Race 2

The grid lined up much the same as race 1 but with Ellison on the front row, Lowes had pole. He had a terrible start though and had to tuck in behind Shakey, Brookes and Ellison into turn 1. Shakey as always when he doesn't get the result he wants in the first race was here on business. There was a huge crash when Kirkham lost his back end and was sent flying into the track head first, his bike slid out in front of Robbin Harms which sent him and his bike flying. The Doobson Honda shattered into a million pieces and then set on fire. Riders had to dodge Kirkham who was out cold for a few seconds in the middle of the track. He eventually got up and walked away. Things were worst for Robbin though and he was rushed off to the medical centre with a wrist injury. The safety car came out as marshals cleared the damage and Shakey slowed the pack up. When they were back up to race pace Ellison had real problems as his Milwaukee Yamaha as it overheated behind the safety car, he had to slow the pace for a couple of laps which dropped him right down the order from 3rd to 19th. Danny Buchan who managed to finish the first race came off at Murrays and sent his bike right into the tyre wall just jumping off in time escaping injury. The front 3 of Shakey, Brookes and Lowes were starting to move off now, leaving Westmoreland behind with Kiyo on his back. It wasn't long before Kiyo was past Westmoreland with Chris Walker stalking behind. Bridewell who was having a better race (still running) past Hickman on the GBmoto Honda back in 13th just as Jakub Smrz crashed out. His weekend didn't finish as well as he was hoping after such a performance in testing. Brookes made a mistake trying to pass Shakey and had to run off, he only lost one place to Lowes but was left 3 seconds behind the front two when he rejoined the track. In the final laps it looked as if Lowes was reeling Shakey in, he just had to find a way through. With all the retirements and crashes Jenny Tinmouth who was a good lap behind the leaders made her way into the points, making her the first ever female to do so, a great achievement for her Two Wheel Racing Team. In the last lap Alex did everything in his power to get past the champ but Shakey's excellent defending kept the youngster at bay and he picked up his 7th win of the season.

Race 2 results

  1. 67 Shane BYRNE - Rapid Soliticitors Kawasaki
  2. 22 Alex LOWES - Samsung Honda
  3. 2 Josh BROOKES - Tyco Suzuki
  4. 23 Ryuichi KIYONARI - Samsung Honda
  5. 27 James WESTMORELAND - Buildbase BMW
  6. 9 Chris WALKER - Quattro Plant Kawasaki
  7. 21 Josh Waters - Milwaukee Yamaha
  8. 4 Dan Linfoot - GBmoto Honda
  9. Matteo Baiocco - Rapido Sport Racing Ducati

Club MCE members had a great couple of days at Snetterton enjoying the sunshine as well as all sorts of benefits and experiences including, a day with Eurosport, Official Pit Crew with Buildbase BMW, grid walks, VIP hospitality, Pillion Laps and Safety car laps to name a few. Two lucky members even got the chance to have a ride passenger in a sidecar, a thrilling out of this world experience! There was also the on track ride where 30 or so members got to take their bikes around the circuit on a couple of laps led by me! 'Hang out with a rider' took place on the grid with Milwaukee Yamaha's James Ellison, giving club members the chance to ask him about his career and life whilst sitting on the comfy Club MCE beanbags. A fantastic weekend had by all!

Next round we return to Brands Hatch on the GP circuit. Shakey's home turf, not that he needs an advantage! It all kicks off again on the 19th of July. Keep up to date with Big Ed's Facebook for all the live updates, news and gossip around the paddock.

Championship Standings

  1. 67 Shane BYRNE - Rapid Soliticitors Kawasaki - 207
  2. 22 Alex LOWES - Samsung Honda - 175
  3. 2 Josh BROOKES - Tyco Suzuki - 172
  4. 77 James ELLISON - Milwaukee Yamaha - 100
  5. 23 Ryuichi KIYONARI - Samsung Honda - 83
  6. 10 Jon Kirkham - Buildbase BMW - 81

For full race results visit the MCE BSB Website

08.07.13 - Big Ed

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