Round six of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Thruxton on Sunday promised plenty for the Marham-based RAF Regular & Reserve/Briggs Equipment BMW team but riders Jake Dixon and Alastair Seeley left the Hampshire venue extremely disappointed after grip issues in the two races left them pointless.
Both riders showed great form in Saturday’s qualifying session to be amongst the nine quickest riders and both, therefore, making it through to Q3 for the first time. Each rider then completed their single ‘Superpole’ lap around the 2.35-mile circuit and it was Alastair who fared best taking the eighth fastest lap although Jake was only 0.065s further back in ninth.
It put them in a strong position for Sunday’s opening 20-lap race but it didn’t quite go as expected with Jake running in 11th and Alastair 20th when the race was stopped on the ninth lap. It was restarted over 12 laps but Alastair retired on the seventh lap and Jake dropped back to 17th.
It meant they were both lower down the grid for the second race which was delayed due to rain. Ashby resident Dixon completed the first lap in 13th place and Seeley 17th but again the same tyre issues affected them. They crossed the line in 16th and 22nd place respectively.
Lee Hardy, team owner, said: “It was a really proud moment to have both riders in Q3 and it’s a great opportunity to showcase yourself with the camera solely on the one rider for the entire lap! Jake showed good pace in free practice both on a single lap and when on race runs whilst Alastair struggled a little bit early on in the weekend but chipped away and thoroughly deserved to qualify in the top ten. A change in the front spring rate gave him the feel he needed with the front and also helped the rear so for a privateer team to have two riders in Superpole was a great effort.
“It put us in a strong position for race day but it simply didn’t pan out in the way we thought and at this moment in time we can’t quite understand what happened. We thought both riders would be coming away with two top ten finishes but as each race wore on, both Jake and Alastair dropped back with no grip. It happened to other riders too but for us it’s majorly disappointing and we’re scratching our heads a bit and are wondering what we could have done differently or what we did wrong. We’ll go away and evaluate the weekend and move forward to Brands which shouldn’t throw up the issues we’ve encountered here.”
The seventh round of the series takes place at Brands Hatch, Kent on August 5-7.
Picture by Tim Keeton – Impact Images Photography