Cummins shines with debut North West 200 podiumUsing Maxton's GP30 forks and GP10 rear shock absorber, Manxman Conor Cummins put in a strong showing at Saturday¹s International North West 200 road races and after claiming his first ever pole position around the 8.9-mile circuit, he was rewarded on race day with 2nd place in the opening Superbike race for a debut podium around the high-speed circuit. The McAdoo Kawasaki Racing rider was prominent in all five of his races and whilst he didn¹t necessarily get the results his efforts deserved, he served warning that he¹s going to be a tough man to beat at the forthcoming Isle of Man TT Races.
The Manxman put in some strong qualifying performances with the undoubted highlight being pole position for the Superstock class although he was also well placed after the two Superbike sessions, the 23-year old putting the Kawasaki into third place here. He was slightly lower down on the Supersport grid, in 12th, but knew there was more to come in Saturday's two races.
The opening Superbike race was delayed by a rain shower and cut to 4 laps but when it got underway, Conor shot into the lead and it soon became clear it was going to be a two-man fight between him and John McGuinness. The Honda man overtook Conor on the 2nd lap and managed to hold him off for the rest of the race although there was little to choose between the two riders, just 0.217s separating them at the chequered flag. In the following Supersport race, Conor was again in the heat of the battle but overheating problems with the 600cc bike meant he was slightly down on power and had to settle for 8th place.
After a brief rest, Conor was back out in the 5-lap Superstock race where he lined up in pole position and a brilliant start saw him immediately take the lead. However, it didn¹t last long as a rare mistake saw him high-side out of the action just a few miles later at University Corner, fortunately without injury. Things didn¹t get much better in the feature NW200 Superbike race when he was forced to retire on the second lap after water from the machine started being thrown out but he finished on a positive note with a strong 7th in the second Supersport race pulling through from a poor start that saw him outside of the top 15.
Speaking afterwards, Conor commented: "Overall, I'm happy with how today's gone and there are a lot of plusses to take from it. I was made up with the first Superbike race and I¹d like to think I pushed John hard all the way. I tried to make a break for it but that¹s nearly impossible to do at the North West and John overhauled me. I tried my best to find a way by him but he¹s a wily old fox and had everything covered finishing 2nd and 0.2s behind him is no disgrace though. In the second, the bike started throwing water all over me and, at first, I wasn¹t sure if it was from another bike so I continued but I was getting passed by bikes I shouldn¹t have been. It was getting worse and worse so I pulled in as it simply wasn¹t safe, which was a wise decision as there was water all over the side of the bike."
"I didn't quite get the Supersport bike set up right all weekend and in the first race it was at about 114 degrees at one stage! It did cool down a bit but was still down on power so I had to settle for my position. I was happy with my riding in the second though as I got a really poor start and dropped all the way back to 16th. It was hard work but I got my head down and managed to latch on to the group dicing for the podium so to finish 7th was pretty good going. As for the Superstock race, well, we¹ll have to put that down to pilot error for now. I¹d just got the lead and the bike was flying when it high-sided me with no warning coming out of University. I felt really confident of winning it so it was a bit of a strange one to be honest."
"I took my first NW200 pole position and podium this weekend and the bikes are good enough for the job so there are lots of positives to take from the meeting. The McAdoo bikes are flying, they handle brilliantly and it was real good fun out there so I can¹t complain. I¹m feeling confident so roll on the TT!"
Maxton riders Grab 1st and 2nd in Qualifying at NW200
Mixed fortunes for Farquhar at North West 200Using Maxton's GP30 fork cartridges and GP10 rear shock, KMR Kawasaki rider Ryan Farquhar enjoyed mixed fortunes at Saturday’s International North West 200 road races but the 34-year old did add another podium to his collection when he took a hard-fought third place in a fiercely contested Superstock race. He was also heavily involved in the two Supersport races and although his end results didn't necessarily reflect his efforts, Ryan was happy at the end of the day with his riding.
With qualifying held in a mixture of dry, damp and windy conditions, Ryan ended the two days of action happy with all three machines and was handily placed on the grid for all of his races. His best position was second, and the front row, for the Superstock race and this was backed up with ninth for both the Superbike and Supersport races, good enough for a third row start here.
Despite having to rebuild the engine overnight, Ryan’s best race of Saturday was undoubtedly the 5-lap Superstock race which had the 100,000 strong crowd on the edge of their seats right until the very last corner. Despite being slowed up, and nearly falling, on the opening lap when Conor Cummins crashed in front of him, Ryan was right in the slipstream of regular sparring partner Keith Amor at the end of the lap and was still with him on the second before he overshot the Juniper chicane. Dropping back to 4th, Ryan then had to claw back the ground he lost, which he duly did getting back up to 2nd on the penultimate lap. With Alastair Seeley and Ian Hutchinson right behind him, the race was anyone’s coming into the final chicane and Ryan had to settle for third as Hutchinson found a way through, less than a second separating the quartet at the chequered flag.
In the two Supersport races, Ryan found his 600cc Kawasaki to be down a little on top speed compared to his rivals and although he was well to the fore at the beginning of the first race, he was pushed back to sixth at the end of the 5 laps although he was only 2 seconds off the race win! In the second, he could only manage 10th with the engine ready for a rebuild prior to the forthcoming TT.
Sadly, the two Superbike races didn’t go to plan when, riding the MSS Colchester Kawasaki machine for the first time this year, he was forced to retire from the first shortened 4-lap race due to front axle problems. With this in mind, he switched to his trusty Superstock machine for the feature Superbike race but he was again out of luck, this time retiring at the end of the first lap.
Talking later, Ryan said: "We've had a few problems over the course of the week but, overall, I'm really pleased with how I was riding on Saturday and I felt as strong as anyone else out there. I knew the Superstock race would be the one where I'd be most competitive and I couldn't have ridden any harder although it nearly ended on the first lap when Conor crashed in front of me - how I stayed on is beyond me as I got launched over his bike motocross style and just took off! Fortunately, it landed wheels down and it was a great race all the way to the end. I had a few problems changing from 1st to 2nd gear when I kept finding neutral and overshooting the chicane didn't help but whilst I obviously would have liked the win, I gave it everything I had and was only half a second off the win at the chequered flag."
"The 600 was handling superbly well and we've got the chassis working perfectly but I was a bit down on speed although in the first race the result could have gone any way and I was in the hunt right until the very end - there were certainly some quick riders behind me too. We'd been chipping away with the Superbike all week but we had a problem in the first race with the front axle and we didn't have a spare one with us so I had to take the Stocker out again. The 600cc engine has gone away to be rebuilt and my main priority now is to get the Superstock bike totally refreshed as it took a bit of a hammering after Conor's crash. The MSS guys are also working really hard now so we should be in a lot better position come the TT. My results could have been a bit better at the NW200 and the finances have taken a bit of a hit with all the problems - I had two helmets destroyed by all the stones - but, like I say, I was happy with how I rode and am really looking forward to the TT now."
It’s now on to the Isle of Man TT Races for Ryan and the team with opening practice around the legendary Mountain Course taking place on Saturday 29th May.
Top six all round at Cadwell for CumminsUsing Maxton's GP30 forks and GP10 rear shock absorber, Conor Cummins got back into Championship contention at Cadwell Park on Sunday when he finished in 6th place in round 4 of the Metzeler National 1000cc Superstock Championship. The Team Blackhorse Kawasaki rider overcame a tough first qualifying session to steadily increase his pace over the course of the weekend and he was rewarded with a fighting sixth place in the 15-lap race to move into fifth place in the title race.
Slight problems with the handling in Friday's opening qualifying session saw Conor down in an unfamiliar 15th place but only 1.2 seconds off the pole position time so, with a few changes to the set-up of the bike, he was confident of moving up the grid during Saturday's second and final qualifying session. Sure enough, the changes to the geometry worked and he was able to shave over a second off his time, jumping up to 8th on the grid, which was good enough for a third row start on the 3x3 grid.
With extremely warm temperatures on Sunday, it was going to be a tough race for the 36-strong field but a good start by Conor saw him move up to sixth straightaway and when the safety car came out on the sixth lap he was up to fifth and more than handily placed. Two laps later, the car pulled in and for the second half of the race Conor was embroiled in a fine seven-rider battle for fourth place, a position he briefly held having overhauled Luke Quigley before the Suzuki rider fought back. With the leading three riders clear, fourth place was still anyone's but Quigley manfully resisted all challenges Conor made and in the run in to the line he slipped back to sixth as Glen Richards just sneaked by. Nevertheless, after crashing out of the last round at Oulton, it was good to be back in the top six and the ten Championship points picked up by Conor see him well placed in fifth overall.
Talking later, the 23-year old said: "I'm really happy to be back in the top six again and it's been nice to move back up to fifth in the Championship table. With the TT so close, it's important to stay out of trouble but you've also still got to give 100% so it's a bit of a fine line but we put together a strong race and were rewarded with a good result. We had a few handling issues on Friday but all the team and the guys from Maxton got their heads together and we made a few changes to the bike to try and make it steer a bit better and it was a lot better on Saturday. In the race, I got a good start and the bike was flying but, try as I might, I just couldn't find a way past Luke. He was stronger than me in places but I was faster in others and if I could have got by I think I could have pulled clear but fair play to him he rode a good race. It would have been nice to have held onto fifth but Glen was more confident than me through the Gooseneck although I'm still chuffed to be back in the top six. I'm really looking forward to the TT now and can't wait for it to begin!"
Another weekend of progress for the young Manxman. Following an impressive qualifying performance, where he consistently went quickest through the Sector One speed trap in both qualifying sessions to qualify in 20th position in Group A, David then lined up for the shoot-out race which determines the remaining ten positions for the feature race itself. Displaying great determination from 13th position on the grid, and despite a fading front brake, David fought his way through to ninth, again leading the way through the first speed trap.
On to the main race itself and from 35th position on the grid David came through at the end of the first lap in 29th and on the next lap he gained another three places which he maintained for the next three laps and he was within striking distance of a top twenty finish when, unfortunately the brake problem he experienced in the shoot-out race re-surfaced, and he was forced to retire with six laps to go whilst in 24th position.
However a strong performance from David who lapped quicker with every outing on the Blackhorse Kawasaki ZX-6 which he loves riding. And, as in previous rounds, he was again impressive in the speed timings, posting first and second best times through both sector speed traps.
Afterwards David commented;
"Overall, Cadwell was a mixture of disappointment and positivity. I was really disappointed to retire from the feature race as I was riding well and making great progress. However. I was really pleased both with my own form and the speed of my bike. I was quickest through the Sector One speed trap in both qualifying sessions and the warm-up and only for being held up a bit in the race, I could possibly have been top there as well as the fastest speed recorded through the sector in the race was slower than the speeds I was achieving throughout the weekend.
I'm really enjoying riding for the team, the whole set-up is relaxed and it feels just nice to be able to chill out and enjoy my racing with no pressure from the team. They really know what they are doing with the bike."
The next round of the Superstock 1000 series takes place at Silverstone alongside the MotoGP, over the weekend of June 19-20. Next stop for the team is the world famous Isle of Man TT races where one of the event's most experienced competitors, team boss Ian Lougher will be in action. Practice begins this Saturday, with racing itself getting underway with the Superbike Race on Saturday 5th June.
Cummins breaks Superbike TT lap record!”Using Maxton's GP30 forks and GP10 rear shock absorber, McAdoo Kawasaki Racing’s Conor Cummins may not have finished the first race of TT week, the Poker Stars Superbike race, but he most certainly was the star of the show. Conrod was absolutely flying on the McAdoo ZX-10R Kawasaki Superbike, breaking lap records and blowing the competition into the weeds.
From a standing start, Conor smashed the lap record at a lap speed of 131.511mph, the fastest standing start lap in TT history to lead Ian Hutchinson by 8 seconds. Lap two was another 131.311mph lap (including slowing down to pit for the first time), pulling further away from the field to lead by 15 seconds. The Manxman was timed from Ramsey to Ramsey at over 132mph – a ferocious pace which no-one could match. After four laps, Conrod had set the four fastest laps each circuit and therefore extending his lead each time he crossed the line to accumulate a lead of 23 seconds and in all fairness, have the race sewn up.
Unfortunately, the TT circuit is a cruel place and the clutch on the McAdoo ZX-10R Superbike began to fail towards the end of lap three and this became evident after the second pitstop, when Conrod stalled leaving the pits. This was the sign of imminent problems when he retired on lap five at Laurel Bank. A devastating afternoon for Conrod and the McAdoo Kawasaki team – a certain victory snatched away but racing is like this. Looking at the positives, no-one could match Conor’s pace – eventual race winner Ian Hutchinson was slower than Conor on all four laps he completed and neither Hutchy nor anyone else recorded a 131+mph lap – Conrod recorded two in a row. Perhaps it didn’t seem like it at the time, but longer term it’s better to blow the competition away and not finish with a mechanical failure than for everything to go perfectly and finish 8th through lack of race pace.