RAF Marham team member claims career-best finishes in Bennetts British Superbike Championship
It was a weekend to remember for Ryan Vickers as he claimed career best finishes of fourth in two of the three races in round four of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship.
The RAF Regular & Reserve Marham-based Kawasaki member was in fine fettle at Thruxton, in Hampshire, as he put a poor third round display firmly behind him.
There was further joy for team-mate Lewis Rollo as he notched up fifth and sixth in the two Pirelli National Superstock Championship races.
Vickers, 21, excelled in the second qualifying session but a maiden front row position was taken away when the he was given a three-place grid penalty due to an infringement on Friday.
Nevertheless, he still started Saturday’s 15-lap race from sixth on the grid although the safety car was quickly deployed after a first lap crash mid-pack.
When the race resumed, Ryan was pushed back to eighth but the longer the race went on, the quicker he got and he continually moved forward – and finished in fourth place for his best ever result in BSB.
Vickers was again disputing the podium positions in Sunday’s opening race.
A long lap penalty saw him drop back to fifth but he quickly regrouped and he took over second on the 17th lap.
He was still in third on the final lap and looking good for his maiden BSB podium but his race cruelly ended when he slid off at Campbell with just half a lap to go.
He bounced back for the final race which saw wet conditions and, opting for a wet front tyre and an intermediate rear, he took it steadily initially before advancing forward.
Indeed, he was regularly one of the quickest riders on track and although he just missed out on a podium, he recorded another fourth place finish to conclude an excellent weekend.
Vickers said: “It’s been an amazing weekend and the team worked seriously hard both before and during the meeting so it’s great to take my best ever BSB finishes.
“The whole team have belief in me and trust my input and we’re making big steps which I always felt we could and would. I’ve had the capability from the first year but Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“I’ve never stopped learning since I jumped on the Superbike and what’s pleasing about the weekend was that I was fast in all conditions.
“Of course, it would have been great to have taken a podium but there are so many positives to take away and we know we can still improve further so roll on the next round.”
Team owner Lee Hardy added: “It’s been a great weekend and I’m delighted with how the team turned it around after a difficult previous round.
“We would have loved it if Ryan had taken his first BSB podium but we understand these things can happen and it’s ironic that he crashed when taking the safer option into the corner.
“The two fourth place finishes were brilliant rides though in very different conditions and the fact he was able to be fast in both the wet and dry speaks for itself.”
For team-mate Rollo, a lack of set-up time resulted in 18th during Saturday’s Superstock qualifying session but a good start from the sixth row enabled him to gain five places on the opening lap.
He was part of a seven-rider battle for third, eventually finishing the 15 laps in an excellent sixth.
Starting Sunday’s 14-lap encounter from the more advanced position of tenth, but he made a brilliant start and was up to third at the end of the opening lap.
He slipped back to fourth a lap later and this became fifth at half race distance which was where he finished.