RAF Marham racing team secure top-six finishes at British Superbike and Pirelli National Superstock events
Ryan Vickers and Lewis Rollo both secured top-six finishes in the second round of the Bennetts British Superbike and Pirelli National Superstock Championships at the weekend.
Racing for the the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team, the duo were in excellent form at the Scottish circuit of Knockhill.
Vickers was on the pace from the word go in the Superbike class and after recording the 12th fastest time in practice, he advanced straight into the second part of qualifying.
A strong lap of 47.535s saw him record the seventh fastest time to start Saturday’s opening race from the head of the third row.
He was able to post consistent laps all the way to the end where seventh place was the deserved outcome, just six seconds behind race winner Christian Iddon.
Starting the second race, held over 30 laps, from sixth, the 22-year old was pushed back to tenth in the early laps but he quickly regrouped and moved back up the leaderboard in the second half of the race.
It looked like seventh would be the outcome but when Peter Hickman took to the grass with three laps to go, he seized the opportunity to take a brilliant sixth place.
It was back to a third row start for the final race of the weekend and it was another hectic affair with little to choose between the leading riders.
With the race being stopped early, Vickers was awarded ninth place, just four seconds adrift of race winner Danny Buchan, and with a good haul of the points over the course of the weekend.
Vickers said: “It’s been a good weekend and I’m really happy with how it’s gone and the results I’ve achieved.
“It was my first time here on a Superbike but the work we’ve done so far this season paid dividends and we had the consistency we wanted.
“We didn’t have the tyre trouble we had at Oulton and my lap times were strong all the way until the end of each race.
“It’s not the easiest track on a Superbike but my times were as quick as anyone’s and had it not been for a couple of average starts, the results could have been even better.
“We learnt a lot with the bike again and to be only four seconds away from the race winner shows the progress we’re making.
“We’re making improvements and strides forward all the time and three top ten finishes is what we want at this stage of the season so the aim is to keep the momentum going at the next round.”
Team owner Lee Hardy added: “I’m really pleased with how the weekend went and Ryan did a great job in the three Superbike races.
“The consistency we’re looking for is there and he’s understanding the bike a lot more so he’s doing everything we’re asking of him.”
Team-mate Rollo also had a busy weekend with two 25-lap races in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship.
Competing at his local circuit, the East Lothian rider qualified in 12th place for the opening encounter, where a brilliant start saw him move up to sixth on the opening lap.
This became fourth by lap ten and having briefly moved up to third, it looked as if fourth would be the outcome but on the final lap, both Tom and Tim Neave moved ahead of him at the final corner which meant he had to settle for sixth at the chequered flag.
The strong ride saw him start the second race from the front row and he ran in a podium place for the first half of the race before an ambitious move at the hairpin by eventual winner Fraser Rogers saw him pushed back to fifth.
It looked like this would be the end result but with Tim Neave crashing out on the final lap, Lewis took an excellent fourth place less than two seconds off the race win.
Rollo said: “We made a big step forward this weekend in terms of both myself and the bike and although starting from P12 in the first race wasn’t ideal, we had the pace to run at the front which put us in good stead for race two.
“It was disappointing to miss out on a podium at my local track but it’s a really tough class this season, tougher than ever, and it’s really important to be consistent and score good, solid points in each race, which is what we’ve achieved so far.
“I’m understanding the bike a lot more and the team’s gelling all the time but we’re building together and the aim is to keep the momentum going at the next round and get into the top three.”
The next round takes place at Brands Hatch, Kent on July 23-25.