Victor Cox moved into 12th position in the Metzeler National Superstock Championship when he finished 8th in the fifth round of the series at Knockhill. For his team-mate Conor Cummins though, it was a meeting to forget as two crashes over the weekend, including one in the race itself, left the Manxman nursing a badly swollen knee.
Free practice ended with Cox in the top 15 and, despite struggling a liittle with bike set-up he then improved his lap time by around two seconds in First Qualifying to finish the session in 16th place. Team manager Ian Lougher and his technicians worked hard to improve things for Victor before the second session the next day and it certainly paid dividends as, in similar wet conditions he further improved by almost another two seconds to qualify on the third row of the grid in tenth alongside Cummins who was enjoying his best qualification of the season in 11th.
The race got underway in dry conditions but was red flagged on the first lap when a group of riders went down at the first corner, with Cummins unfortunately being one of them. The re-start over a shortened 20 lap distance saw Cox settle into 7th place for the opening five laps behind the Kawasaki of Michael Robertson with Luke Quigley and Joe Burns in close proximity, on the sixth lap Victor got past Robertson, however Quigley had now got past both Kawasakis to keep Victor in 7th. On the next lap Quigley had opened up a bit of a gap on Victor who was busy fending off the challenge of Burns and Robertson. At the end of the eighth lap Cox had reduced the gap to Quigley and for the next few laps he was right with him, Robertson was now losing touch but Burns was very much still posing a threat. On the tenth lap, Burns got ahead of both Quigley and Cox and began to move clear on the twelfth lap, Victor meanwhile was experiencing brake fade which enabled Quigley to distance himself slightly from the Blackhorse Kawasaki teamster and by Lap 15 the gap between the two was 1.7 seconds.
But Cox wasn't finished and over the next two laps he hauled the BMW rider in and by the end of Lap 17 he was right back on Quigley's case with the gap between the two now just 0.39 seconds. Victor was now looking good for seventh but the introduction of red flags due to rain brought his spirited ride to an early conclusion with three laps of the race still to run. However, another eight points for Cox, who is starting to make steady progress up the championship standings.
Following the Isle of Man TT, Cummins linked up with the Blackhorse Kawasaki team once more for Knockhill, the vast amount of riding Conor had done at the TT had certainly paid dividends for his short circuit aspirations and he was immediately running in the top 15. Riding smoothly in the wet conditions in qualifying, Conor was hopeful of scoring his first points of the season in the 24-lap race. However, it all went wrong on the first lap when he was the innocent victim of the seven man pile up that also included John McGuinness. Battered and bruised in the spill, Conor had to make a trip to the medical centre for a check up and although nothing was broken, he had to sit out the re-start.
"All the mileage at the TT really helped me so when I got to Knockhill, everything clicked straightaway. Obviously the conditions made it more of a level playing field as I'm still nowhere near fully fit but it was without doubt my best weekend on the short circuits so far. I felt really good on the bike and it was nice to be running inside the top 12 with the riders I'm usually running with. My luck ran out in the race though when Jason O'Halloran crashed and his bike collected me and about 5 other riders and it's fair to say I'm a bit sore from the crash as I got caught up with the bike and hit the deck fairly hard. The medics at the circuit looked after me really well and nothing's broken so I'll just rest up now before the next round. It was a very positive weekend though in terms of how I was performing so there's a lot to be encouraged by and I can now just press on at the next round and look to get the result I feel I'm now capable of."
Connor Behan 3rd in British Superbike Championship after Knockhill
For the 5th round of the British Superbike Championships, it was up north to the Scottish Circuit of Knockhill.
The weather, as always played a huge part in the weekends racing, with two days of rain, throughout practise and qualifying. Fallen riders looking like they have been in a mud fight, and bikes the same!
First practice came, but mechanical problems prevented Connor from getting out. Luckily for him, and unluckily for some, the session was Red Flagged twice, which helped Connor to get out for the last 10 minutes of the 30 minute session. Finishing 10th fastest, wasnít too bad considering the short time he had on track.
Qualifying 1, later in the afternoon, the weather was still wet. Connor set some good laps, but kept entering the pits as he was having problems with his visor steaming up. Managing to do a quick lap in the later stages, gave him a 3rd fastest time in the session.
Qualifying 2, the following day, was again raining. Connor managed to better his time early on, and was on a flying lap when he high sided at Seat Curves. Thankfully he was not hurt, although the same could not be said about the bike.
As other riders bettered their times, Connor could only watch as his grid position drop down the rankings, eventually putting him in 10th place, on row 3 of the grid.
When the bike was returned to the pits, the extent of the damage could not be seen through the mud, but it was clear that it would be a struggle to get the bike repaired before the race on Sunday.
It was all systems go, and working until 2am after trying to beg steal and borrow the various parts for the bike, it looked like the race was on.
Come race day, Connor was propelled one place on the grid due to the withdrawal of James East and moved up to 9th on the grid. The actual race was dry, with no one having any dry-set up, apart from the short warm-up session in the morning.
Connor got off to a poor start and fell to 13th within the first lap. On the second lap the steering damper snapped, which made the handling difficult. He rode with the problem, and slowly climbed back to take 8th place and 8 championship points. This sees him 3rd in the Championship after 5 rounds.
All things considered it was a good result under the circumstances, and hopefully at the next round at Snetterton, Connor will have a bit more luck and get another Podium.
Thanks everyone for your support!
All at Connor Behan Racing!
Fantastic five for Farquhar at Bush
Ryan Farquhar made his return to racing in the best possible style when he dominated the Bush Road Races on Saturday winning all five races he entered. Still recovering from the injuries sustained at the Isle of Man TT, the KMR Kawasaki rider was in imperious form around his home circuit and took victories in the Open, Grand Final, Supersport, Supertwins and 450cc events as well as setting 4 new lap records!
After practice was hit by heavy rain, race day began with cloudy, damp conditions around the 3.3-mile circuit and Ryan opened his account with a commanding victory in the 450cc race, leading from start to finish and coming home 27 seconds clear of Seamus Elliott, also setting a new lap record in the process. It was a similar story in the Supertwins race, a new lap record of 84.666mph heading his way along with a comfortable 18.6s winning margin over fellow Kawasaki rider John Burrows.
An oil spill in another race meant there was a lengthy delay but when racing resumed, conditions were a lot better and although it was close in the early stages of the Supersport race, Ryan soon saw off the challenge of Michael Dunlop and gradually pulled away over the course of the shortened 4-lap race, eventually winning by 6.5s. He also notched up a new lap record at 89.101mph. Using the same 600cc ZX-6R Kawasaki for the Open event, Ryan's biggest challenger was again Dunlop, who was out on his Superstock bike, but Ryan again had the upper hand and led his rival home by over six seconds for his fourth win of the day.
The final event was the Grand Final and it was once more Ryan and Dunlop who battled it out for the win, the latter on his Supersport machine this time. On this occasion, it was nip and tuck all the way and Ryan had to work extremely hard but, aided by a new outright lap record of 90.763mph, he was able to get the verdict by 0.547s at the end of the six, high-speed laps to complete a terrific five-timer.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Ryan said; "Today's been spot-on and, to be honest, it's gone a lot better than I thought it would have done. I've been resting up since the TT but my back was still a bit sore and when I saw the rain and mud on the Friday evening I decided to leave the big ZX-10 in the truck and just concentrate on the smaller bikes. The first race was the hardest in terms of my back and ribs but you're always a bit stiff when you've been off the bike for a couple of weeks so once I loosened up a bit and the adrenalin kicked in, it was a lot better. Everything went well in the races and to lead them all from start to finish and take a few lap records along the way was brilliant."
"The Grand Final was very difficult though as Michael was riding really well and pushing me hard so I had to ride the wheels off the bike to keep him at bay but luckily I did and it completed a really good day for me. Obviously, conditions were tricky with the rain and mud spilling onto the circuits from the fields but the Clerk of the Course made all the right decisions, particularly delaying the racing whilst the oil spillage was cleaned up and it all worked out for the best. I'm now taking a bit of a break from the Irish scene and am taking the family away for a few weeks holiday but I'll still be racing at the two Scarborough meetings that are coming up along with the Southern 100 so July's still going to be a busy month for me."
Successful Scarborough outing for Farquhar
Ryan Farquhar enjoyed a successful day's racing at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough on Sunday taking 4 wins including the feature Barry Sheene Classic Superbike Trophy race. Riding an assortment of machinery, Ryan took wins on Roger Winfield's XR69 1000cc Suzuki and his own Kawasaki ER6 Supertwin as well as claiming a new class lap record in the Classic Superbike race, his only disappointment on the day being a mechanical failure with the 500cc Paton.
Held in glorious conditions, Ryanís opening race was the first leg of the 400cc and Supertwins, a race he led from start to finish on his KMR ER6 Kawasaki, and his eventual winning margin over Ivan Lintin was 16.95 seconds. He then rode the same machine in the Open race although he pulled in after just a couple of laps deciding it wasn't safe to compete against 600cc and 1000cc machinery on the slower, but more nimble Supertwin. He was also forced to retire from the opening leg of the Denis Parkinson Trophy race, problems with the 500cc Paton causing him to grind to a halt on the penultimate lap at Mountside Hairpin whilst leading.
However, that was his last DNF of the day and he was unbeaten in the remainder of his races. The second leg of the 400cc/Supertwins was another benefit for Ryan, his winning margin on this occasion 10.5seconds, again over Lintin, and he then swapped to the big XR69 Suzuki for the second leg of the Geoff Barry Superbike event, a race he dominated eventually taking the chequered flag some 69 seconds ahead of his nearest rival! He also claimed a new class lap record of 74.831mph.
The feature race of the meeting, the six lap Barry Sheene Trophy Race for Classic Superbikes, was Ryanís final outing of the day and, with a near 9-second lead at the end of the first lap, he was never under threat on the Suzuki and at the end of the race, the margin of victory was almost 26 seconds as he swept to his 4th win of the day.
Speaking later, a happy Ryan said: "It's been a good meeting for me today and although it's a shame the entry wasn't a bit bigger, you can only race who you're up against and I'm naturally pleased to come away with a number of wins and a new class lap record. There were a few date clashes with the meeting namely Goodwood and Spa but it was great to have such fine weather and see a big crowd turn out to support the event. The Paton was going really well in practice so it was a shame we broke down in the race but the big Suzuki was flying and the changes we've made to the carburation have been a major step forward. i couldn't fault the bike at all so I'm really looking forward to racing it at the Manx GP in August."
"I'd only taken my Supertwin with me and another two wins in that class was spot-on as we were close to lap record pace all day. I took the wee bike out in the first Open race but it was getting a bit dangerous as although I was a lot faster through the corners, the big bikes would come flying by along the straights and with some of the boys taking some weird and wonderful lines, I decided to park the bike and stick to the other classes. All in all, it's been a good day so I'm going to enjoy the rest of the week before heading over to the Isle of Man on Saturday to prepare for the Southern 100 road races. I'll have a full compliment of machinery there so it will be a busy old week."
Podium for Behan At Snetterton 300
Another podium and an excellent result in the 5th round of the Junior Superstock 600 Race at the new Snetterton 300.
In Qualifying 2, we saw Connor improve on his first session and he missed out on Pole by 0.359 second, which was set by series leader Keith Farmer.
Come raceday, Connor got off to a great start, and was in a duel with race leader Keith Farmer and 2nd place Glenn Irwin and they started to make a break from the rest of the group almost immediately. On the 5th lap Farmer tipped off at Montreal, and Connor moved up in to 2nd place to engage in a fast moving duel with Irwin. Soon after, the race was red flagged as Tony Coombs fell at Williams, and the action was stopped.
Irwin had pole for the re-start, schedule to run over five laps, Connor again, got a great start and the two made a break, Connor leading on lap 1, he was taken by Irwin who was holding the advantage after three laps when the red flags came out again. With two thirds distance completed the race was declared over, giving Irwin his first win of the season, and Connor his best result so far. Farmer, somehow managed to make the re-start and pick up 7th place and 9 valuable points.
Connor now lies 2nd in the Championship, at the halfway point, 38 points behind leader Keith Farmer. Disappointed with the 2 red flags, Connor is looking forward to the 7th round at his local circuit of Oulton Park and hoping for his first win in front of the home crowd!
We would like to welcome our new (and final) #72 Club members CATERFAB (UK) LTD and again thank you all for your continued support!
It was nice to see a few of you at Snetterton, and are hoping to see a few more at Oulton Park in just over a week!
Successful Southern 100 meeting for Farquhar
Ryan Farquhar enjoyed a successful trip to the Isle of Man this week with some strong results at the Southern 100 road races. The KMR Kawasaki rider took the wins in both of the Supertwins races and backed this up with 3rd in the main Solo Championship race. He also grabbed another 3rd in the Senior race and 5th in the Open race, the only blemish coming with a retirement in the 600cc race.
With fine weather around the 4.25-mile Billown circuit, the week started slowly for Ryan with a somewhat lowly 5th place in Tuesday's 600cc/1000cc race, handling issues with the ZX-10R Superstock machine preventing him from getting near his personal best speeds but changes to the bike helped him improve to 3rd in the following days Senior race. On the same evening he won the combined 250cc/650cc race on his ER6 Supertwin machine after comfortably getting the better of the 250cc machine of William Dunlop.
The Supersport 600cc race was then stopped early on and re-run on Thursday although Ryan was an early retirement in the race. However, he was back out on the Supertwin where he again dominated the race, also setting a new lap record of 100.749mph, the first 100mph lap to be recorded in the class. The final race of the week was the Solo Championship race and, with further changes made to the handling of the bike, Ryan was able to run a good pace and with a best lap of 112.199mph, he pressurised Guy Martin throughout for second place, Michael Dunlop running away in the lead. Ryan was right on the back wheel of Martin for most of the race but ultimately had to settle for third when he began to run out of fuel on the final lap.
Speaking afterwards, a happy Ryan said: "I always enjoy the Southern 100 and this week has been no exception, itís been fantastic. The club work so hard and do all they can to make things right for not only the rider but also everyone in the team so itís been great to see them rewarded with some superb weather and a good crowd. Everything went to plan in the Supertwins races and I really enjoyed the two races. The bike was flying and I was delighted to break the 100mph barrier on the bike, which I think put about 3mph on the old lap record."
"Iíve been struggling a bit with the set-up of the 600 and we made a few changes going into the race but, unfortunately, we went the wrong way. I got a decent enough start in the race but went backwards so it was better to pull in rather than stay out there and risk anything. It was the same with the big bike where the handling of the bike was the main issue. With three races though we got more bites of the cherry so were able to make changes after each race. I was quite disappointed with 5th in the first one but then improved to 3rd in the second so we altered the chassis set up a bit more for the Championship race and it was loads better."
"It improved the bike no end so I was able to have a good run and to lap at over 112mph on the bike was very pleasing. I was right on Guyís tail for most of the race and felt confident of nicking second on the final lap but because we were going that bit quicker, I started to run out of fuel on the last lap and the bike was cutting out at all the road ends. I had to just knock it off a wee bit and settle for third but it was a good result. Itís a new bike and they always take time to get set up right but weíve made a lot of improvements so are heading in the right direction. It seems that thereís only a small window to work within regarding the chassis and the wheelbase, in particular, is critical. But, we got quicker and quicker as the week wore on and Iíve ended the week with a couple of wins, two thirds and a fifth so Iím happy enough."
Victor Cox on the rostrum at Oulton Park
Victor Cox secured his maiden podium finish in the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship when he finished second in Round 7 of the series at Oulton Park at the weekend.
As in the previous round at the Snetterton 300 circuit, Cox was on the pace throughout with the team again working hard to achieve a great set-up with the Ninja ZX-10R. Victor finished Friday's free practice in third position with a time of 1m:40.13s, just under half a second off the quickest time and in the top five through all three sectors.
He then went over a second quicker in first qualifying to maintain third place and despite slipping slightly to fifth in the second session he still lined up on the grid with a combined qualification of third.
The rain which had been forecast arrived at the Cheshire circuit on race day morning and it was still present as the race got underway. Victor got a good start and at the end of the opening lap he was holding third position, three seconds down on Adam Jenkinson and Howie Mainwaring but one second clear of the chasing pack.
Mainwaring went out of the race on the next lap and Cox was up to second with fellow Kawasaki mounted Danny Buchan in third and the rest now starting to drop back as the weather began to deteriorate. Riding calmly and assuredly in the extremely tricky conditions, Victor continued to hold on to second as positions remained the same until the fifth lap when Buchan, who was still running in third place, crashed heavily at Old Hall corner as the rain now poured down.
The race was red-flagged and a result declared, and it was a delighted Victor who took his place on the podium, runner-up to Adam Jenkinson and in turn well clear of third place man John McGuinness.
Straight from the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man, Conor Cummins linked up with the Blackhorse Kawasaki squad and after taking 20th in the free practice session, Conor improved his times in both of the qualifying sessions and with a best time of 1m:40.80s in Saturday's final session, he lined up in 16th place on the grid for the 14-lap race, his best dry qualifying position of the year.
Although he didn't make the best of starts, by the end of the first lap Conor had worked his way up to 13th. A lap later he was up to 11th and on lap three he overtook Marshall Neill to move up into the top ten. Lapping strongly, Conor had the group battling for fourth ahead of him but when Buchan crashed out and the race was stopped, Conor was awarded 9th place for his first points of the year, a brilliant effort and result given the conditions.
After originally finishing in 9th place at the conclusion of the race, Conor was then promoted to 7th after both Tristan Palmer and David Johnson were excluded. The GBmoto Racing riders were both removed from the results after failing a post race technical inspection.
Speaking later, a pleased Conor said: "Conditions were really bad out there and I could barely see the rider in front of me - it was only when they braked that they came into my sight! There was lots of standing water and grip was practically non-existent so everyone was having moments. I just tried to keep it as smooth as possible and find a good line, which was easier said than done! It was hard to overtake as you had to go off line but I managed to pick a few of them off and had the group ahead of me in my sights when the red flag came out. It really was horrendous but I'm chuffed to bits with not only my first points of the season but also a top ten finish so a big thanks to everyone in the Blackhorse Kawasaki team and to all my sponsors for sticking by me - I'm definitely heading in the right direction and things are getting better all the time."
Unfortunately the Metzeler National Superstock 600 race was cancelled as the worsening weather conditions caused the meeting to be abandoned, the race will now take place at a future date. However Brad Anderson did have the chance to get more valuable laps in during Free Practice and Qualifying in what was only his second race meeting back from injury.
It's a three-week break before the next round of the Metzeler National Superstock Championships with Brands Hatch hosting Round 8 on August 5-7. Before then however, Ian Lougher will again be in action when he takes part in the annual Cock o' the North Road Races at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough this weekend.