The Maraham based RAF Regular & Reserve BMW team concluded their British Superbike Championship season at Brands Hatch at the weekend and it proved to be one of the best meetings of the year for Alastair Seeley as he scored points in all three races including another top ten finish.
Having qualified in 14th place for Saturday’s opening race of the weekend, Alastair was confident of a good result although the first two attempts at running the race were halted by a number of crashes and rain. Cut to 15 laps, it was a case of third time lucky and the Carrickfergus rider was soon up to 11th place in the wet race only to drop back to 17th soon after due to an off-track excursion.
However, by half race distance he was back up to seventh and although he slipped back to ninth on lap 11 due to a moment when the rear wheel came round on him, he duly held on to the position for another top ten finish.
Sunday again saw damp conditions at the Kent venue although when the first Superbike race came to the line, a dry line had appeared with the weather improving all the time. Starting from 13th on the grid on this occasion, a solid start by Alastair saw him lie in 14th in the early stages of the race and although he dropped back briefly to 16th when he got pushed wide by Richard Cooper he soon regrouped to climb back up to 13th.
By half race distance he moved up to 12th and although he was unable to climb any higher, it was one of his strongest rides of the year, finishing less than three seconds adrift of fifth place. That just left one more race to negotiate and this was cut to ten laps after an oil spill and the 37-year old made it three points scoring finishes from three rides as he took 13th place.
The points haul saw Alastair end the year in 21st overall with team-mate Jake Dixon, making good progress from injury, in 16th.
Alastair Seeley: “At the Oulton Park round we found a good set-up with the bike but the crash at Donington Park a week after set us back a bit and I’ve had to build my confidence back up. I’ve had a good feeling with the bike all weekend here at Brands and with one of my better qualifying performances we were in the area where we wanted and needed to be so I was able to have three decent races.”
“Conditions were very tricky in the first race and the bike was backing in quite a bit which led to a couple of moments so, all things considered, ninth was a good result. It was a bit patchy in Sunday’s opener but I got a good 12th and then the last race was a stop start affair with just ten laps taking place in the end. I got some more points though and it’s been a solid end to the season with some good progress so thanks to all the team for their work during the year.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “It hasn’t been a bad weekend at all and it’s good to end the season with points in all three races. Alastair’s qualifying position for each race was good despite numerous interruptions and he had good pace in both the wet and the dry. He was happy with the bike and in a good place whilst we were more than happy with his performances and how he rode over the course of the weekend.”
“It’s been a tough year with a number of ups and downs and it’s a shame things haven’t worked out at every circuit we’ve visited. Alastair’s confidence took a dip so it’s been nice for him to end the season with a series of good results and he’s finished the year with his head held high. A big thank you must go out to all our sponsors that have been involved and without their support or help none of it, BSB or roads, would be possible so we’re looking forward to working with them again in 2017.”
The BSB season may be over but the team still have one more outing with the Macau Grand Prix taking place on November 17-19.
MCE British Superbike Championship race one (15 laps): 1 Peter Hickman (Kawasaki), 2 Christian Iddon (BMW), 3 Glenn Irwin (Ducati), 4 Dan Linfoot (Honda), 5 Tommy Bridewell (Suzuki), 6 Shane Byrne (Ducati), 9 Alastair Seeley (RAF Regular & Reserve BMW). Race two (20 laps): 1 James Ellison (Kawasaki), 2 John Hopkins (Yamaha), 3 Peter Hickman (Kawasaki), 4 Dan Linfoot (Honda), 5 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki), 6 Shane Byrne (Ducati), 12 Alastair Seeley (RAF Regular & Reserve BMW). Race three (10 laps): 1 James Ellison (Kawasaki), 2 John Hopkins (Yamaha), 3 Shane Byrne (Ducati), 4 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki), 5 Christian Iddon (BMW), 6 Dan Linfoot (Honda), 13 Alastair Seeley (RAF Regular & Reserve BMW).
Final positions (after 12 rounds): 1 Byrne 669pts, 2 Haslam 640, 3 Ellison 610, 4 Linfoot 602, 5 O’Halloran 568, 6 Mossey 550, 16 Dixon 50, 21 Seeley 37.