British Superbike Championship poses challenging weekend for RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team
It was a difficult weekend for the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team, Marham, at Brands Hatch in the British Superbike Championship.
Ryan Vickers found it very challenging in the premier class with three 15th place finishes the outcome.
Team-mate Lewis Rollo fared slightly better in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship with a best finish of 11th.
Vickers made a steady start to proceedings, placing 17th in Friday’s free practice sessions and with Saturday’s qualifying being damp, tyre choice was tricky although conditions improved throughout the session.
The 21-year old placed 13th which meant a fifth row start for the afternoon’s race and a slightly sluggish start saw him lose ground although he regrouped for 15th and a hard earned point.
The result meant he started Sunday’s opening 20-lap race from a row further back and he completed the opening lap in 17th subsequently hovering around this position until just after half race distance when he moved up into the points.
He briefly climbed up to 14th place but ultimately 15th was the outcome once more.
The final race started in damp conditions and tyre choice was the hot topic with a wide variety of choices being made by the field, Vickers opting for a wet front and intermediate rear.
It looked like it was an inspired decision as he soon moved into the top six although by half race distance, the track was beginning to dry and his position coming under threat.
However, the race was stopped on lap 12 due to a bike expiring along the start and finish straight but, starting from sixth hopes were still high for a good result in the seven-lap restart in the now dry conditions.
It wasn’t to be though as the Thetford rider dropped steadily back for his third consecutive 15th place finish which means he also slipped back to 12th in the championship standings.
Team-mate Rollo had a tough start to his weekend with technical issues limiting his track time during Friday’s Superstock free practice sessions.
The sun was then replaced by cloud on Saturday and he had to settle for 14th in the damp qualifying session where tyre choice was again difficult, some riders going with wets and others going with a dry set-up.
A good start to the 15-lap race, where conditions were ideal, enabled him to move up to tenth on the opening lap but third time around he was pushed onto the grass at Sheene Curve, which dropped him down the order to 20th.
He dug deep for the remainder of the race though and his efforts were rewarded with a 15th place finish – this then became 14th as reigning champion Chrissy Rouse was penalised and moved down the order.
Starting Sunday’s race from 14th on the grid once more, Rollo made another great start to immediately move up to ninth although Levi Day pushed him back a place a lap later.
However, he was back up to ninth on lap three when race leader Luke Mossey retired but places changed regularly for the remainder of the race and he ultimately finished in 11th.
He now sits in tenth overall in the championship standings.
Round four takes place at Thruxton, Hampshire, this weekend.