Rampant Reeves dominates at Knockhill
Having taken pole position around the 1.27-mile venue by 0.852s, the duo were in confident mood going into Saturday afternoon's 18-lap race although the mixed weather conditions meant it wasn't going to be straightforward. The threat of rain was never far away but, after shadowing Scott Lawrie/James Neave on the opening lap, Tim and Ashley moved ahead a lap later and promptly began to pull away. With slight rain falling at mid-race distance, the running order was shuffled as the pace was eased slightly but Tim and Ashley were able to continually extend their lead and they took the chequered flag and the victory by a commanding 12.4s.
The weather was considerably better for Sunday afternoon's encounter and this time, Tim and Ashley grabbed the holeshot to lead the pack round at the end of the first lap. They again opened up a gap over the rest of the field but when the safety car was deployed on the third lap, the pack bunched up once more. Four laps later, the race resumed and with a series of laps faster than their rivals, Tim and Ashley led by over six seconds going into the final third of the race. Driving to his pit signals for the last few laps, Tim was able to bring the outfit home 4.7s clear of second placed Roger Lovelock/Rick Lawrence for his second win of the weekend.
The double victory and 50 points has elevated the duo to fifth in the Championship table.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, a delighted Tim said; "It's been a faultless weekend and with pole position, two wins and two fastest laps, it really couldn't have gone any better! After a successful week on the continent at Hungary and Croatia, the outfit's working exactly as I want it to and it's flying now so a double victory just adds to the momentum we're building right now. I could see conditions were a bit iffy on Saturday so decided to go for it from the start and build up a decent lead just in case the rain fell and the plan worked. There were a few spots but nothing to cause us any problems so it was a great start to the weekend."
"The whole of Sunday was dry, which was perfect for everyone, and although the safety car bunched us all up for a few laps, I was confident I could make the break again when we got going. I made the break and was able to control the race from the front, driving to my signals and just going at the pace required. The World Championship's my main aim this year but it's great to come back and race in front of the a big British Championship crowd once more so a big thanks to Ashley and to the whole team for doing a great job again all weekend."
Cox third at KnockhillVictor Cox consolidated his top six position in the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship standings with a fine third place finish in the sixth round of the series at Knockhill on Sunday.
The 26 year old from Trowbridge has been knocking on the door of a podium on a number of occasions so far this season and he wasn't to be denied this time around the 1.3 miles circuit in the heart of the Fife countryside.
With the weather forecast looking wet for second qualifying the team knew it was important to set down a good time in the first session. Cox did just that, finishing the session in fourth just 0.21s off provisional pole and in the top six in all three sectors. His team-mate Ash Beech was also going well and the talented rider finished an excellent 11th only 0.79s off the pace.
The forecast for the second session proved correct which meant that these would ultimately be the qualifying places for both riders with Victor heading the second row and Ash on the fourth row, occupying his highest qualifying spot of the season so far.
The race got underway in dry conditions and, determined not to get caught up with the type of mishap that befell him at the previous round at Snetterton, Cox stormed into third place at the first corner and settled in behind the early pace setters Keith Farmer and Steve Brogan. For the next few laps Victor kept the gap to Brogan to around half a second whilst holding a similar advantage over David Johnson, Jimmy Storrar and Jason O'Halloran. At third race distance postitions at the front were the same with Farmer stretching his lead over Brogan and Victor still pressing in third. Ash meanwhile was circulating just outside the points in 16th, his efforts being frustrated however by a broken fairing which unfortunately would cause him to retire from the race a few laps later.
There was drama on lap nine when championship leader O'Halloran attempted to overtake Johnson and Storrar at the hairpin and went down in the process and the incident gave Victor a bit of breathing space as he continued to push for second place. Two laps later a brilliant move at Clark's saw him move into second but Brogan fought back to again relegate Victor to third at the hairpin, Storrar meanwhile had got past Johnson to move ominously into fourth. With Farmer still out on his own by two seconds, Brogan, Cox, Storrar and Johnson flashed across the finish line at the end of Lap 14 in line formation. Then at Butcher's on the next lap, Cox swept past Brogan to go second as Storrar followed suit a lap later.
Victor had now opened up a slight gap on Storrar but before long the duo were together as their battle for second drew them closer to race leader Farmer. On Lap 17, Cox had reduced the gap to 1.2s as Farmer responded on the next lap to keep the charging duo at bay, with four laps to go the gap was again reduced slightly as Victor battled to keep the hard charging Storrar at bay.
As they began to encounter back markers with two laps to go, Storrar made his move and, with his rear tyre starting to go slightly, Victor dropped off the pace a bit to settle for a safe third as Farmer just held on to take the race win.
So a very satisfying weekend for the team and for Victor Cox in particular. Again on the pace all weekend, Victor has firmly established himself as one of the strong contenders in the championship. For Ash Beech, his disappointment in the race was more than tempered by his performance in qualifying and the young rider is showing tremendous promise.
Victor Cox: 'It was a great weekend from start to finish. Qualifying went well and it was great to be back up there on the podium in the race itself, both for myself and the team. Thanks go to Ian Lougher and the ILR Kawasaki team and to all my sponsors.'
Ash Beech: 'It was unfortunate the fairing broke at the bottom in the race, but it was no-one's fault and that's just racing for you. Otherwise it was a good weekend with my best qualifying of the season, I'm moving forward and learning all the time and I can't wait to get back out again at Oulton. We have been there already so I'll be trying to get with the front guys.
Big thanks to the team as always.'
Bush Road Races (June 23rd)
In front of his local fans, Cookstown/BE Racing team leader John Burrows took two top three finishes on the 3.3 miles Bush circuit which is located just a few miles from his Carland home near Dungannon.
Burrows' first race of the day was the Supertwins race and on the Cookstown/KBM Kawasaki 650 he took third, just 2.8 seconds behind winner Ryan Farquhar. Burrows was disappointed not to get second place.
In the Supersport 600 race Burrows rode really well but had nothing to show for his efforts as he explained: "The Moira Club's 600 Honda has a little electrical fault which occasionally causes it to die when you let the clutch out and it did it at the start of the Supersport race. However, she quickly fired up again and I cut my way through the pack until I caught Derek Sheils who was in second place behind Farquhar. The Honda has a superb chassis and was handling perfectly.
With conditions damp, Burrows opted to use the Moira 600 in the Senior Championship race in preference to his GSXR 1000. Unfortunately, the bike again stalled at the start and Burrows was last away. With a wet front tyre on a drying track Burrows salvaged fifth position at the chequered flag.
The big Cookstown/BE Racing GSXR 1000 was wheeled out for the feature Grand Final and Burrows put the extra power to good use, taking second position behind Farquhar.
Fabulous Farquhar takes another five timerFor the second successive weekend, Ryan Farquhar won five Irish National road races in a day when he dominated proceedings at Saturday's Bush meeting. The KMR Kawasaki rider was again in imperious form and won every race he started, the 125cc/450cc, Supersport, Supertwins, Superbike and Grand Final, to move onto 26 wins for the season.
After practice was wiped out due to rain, the riders receiving just a handful of controlled laps instead, Ryan's day started in fine style with a start to finish victory in the Supertwins race, and there was further joy for the team with Jamie Hamilton taking second and Paul Cranston in sixth on a third KMR Kawasaki. Another start to finish victory then followed for Ryan as he dominated the Supersport race, his eventual winning margin being a commanding 16 seconds. The first Superbike race was a lot closer affair though as Ryan had to see off a last lap charge by Derek Sheils. With his lead over Sheils being less than he thought, Ryan got overtaken on the final lap but he was able to fight back and complete his hat-trick with a 0.463s victory whilst Hamilton crossed the line in seventh.
Keen to make no mostakes in the Grand Final, Ryan grabbed the lead from the start and promptly pulled away from the rest of the field as he swept to yet another win. The gap on this occasion was 15 seconds with John Burrows taking second as Hamilton claimed a brilliant third, his first podium in the Superbike class. That just left the 125cc/450cc race for Ryan and he not only led the 450cc class but also the 125cc class when the red flag came out due to rain after four laps. The result was taken and so Ryan wrapped up yet another five timer.
Speaking later, a delighted Ryan said: "It's been another great day for me and the team and although conditions were again tricky, the club did a good job in getting every race run so to come away with five more wins is superb. The weather was very up and down, a bit like last weekend's Mid Antrim meeting and so I opted to ride my 600 in the two big bike races as it was a lot more manageable in the conditions. Everything went to plan except for the first Superbike where there was a bit of a hiccup with my pitboard. Going into the final lap, I was given a '+12' board so backed right off and cruised round the first part of the lap.Needless to say, it was a huge shock when Derek came flying by! It was certainly a wake up call and so I tucked in behind him and got by as soon as I could. Luckily, there was enough of the lap to find a way by and I was able to take the win once more - it was a good last lap for the spectators but not for me!"
"The rain had been on and off during the day but it was only in the final race of the day, the 125/400, that it really came on heavy, so it was a good decision to end it early. I was obviously delighted with the wins but also very pleased for Jamie and Paul. Jamie was over the moon with second in the Supertwins race but when he got third in the Grand Final, he was even more chuffed and it was a great result, particularly given the lack of track time he'd had. I loaned Paul the bike as a thank you to him for letting us use his yard, rather than the wet field, and it was a good result for him in his first ever ride on the bike and in the class. Our other team member, Conor Parkhill also won his race at the Mondello Masters so it really has been a great day for KMR Kawasaki. I've got a weekend off now from racing but all the bikes need a good service so I'll be working hard to get them all fully prepared for Skerries in a fortnight's time."
Dominant Reeves takes World Championship leadTim Reeves and passenger Ashley Hawes dominated round three of the World F1 Sidecar Championship at the weekend with the duo winning both races at the Rijeka circuit in Croatia. There was further reason for celebration too with the victories, Reeves' first since Magny Cours in September 2010, elevating them to the top of the World Championship table.
Having qualified in second place, Tim and Ashley were in confident mood going into Saturday's 10-lap 'Sprint' race and with a lightning start, they duly completed the opening lap in first place. As the race wore on, they continually extended their lead and in the end crossed the line for a comfortable win with Markus Schlosser in second and reigning World Champion Pekka Paivarinta in third. Sunday's longer 18-lap race would be a lot tougher in the searing heat and it was Schlosser who grabbed the holeshot this time but by the end of the lap, Tim and Ashley were in front and the duo soon left the rest of the field behind. Finding a good rhythm, Tim never allowed his German rival to get close enough to try a pass and he wrapped up his and Ashley's second win of the weekend in superb style. Third place was taken by Jorg Steinhausen some 22 seconds further back.
A week earlier at Hungaroring, Hungary, Tim and Ashley took a solid third in a race interrupted by rain. Lying in third place at the time of the stoppage, Tim and Ashley found themselves battling with Ben and Tom Birchall in the restart and that allowed Steinhausen and Paivarinta to escape. However, they successfully saw off the challenge of their English rivals to take yet another podium and with four rostrums from the four races held so far, the only team to achieve this feat, they've moved onto 82 points to lead the Championship by 8 points from Paivarinta.
Speaking after the Croatia round, a delighted Tim said: "It's been a great week on the continent for me and to be fair it couldn't have gone much better. The bike's absolutely flying and that, coupled with a lighter passenger, has been the major difference. Mind you, perhaps Ashley's a bit too light as he fell out in practice in Hungary! He's taken so much stick since it happened though that he'll make sure it won't happen again, but, being serious, he's doing a terrific job and I'm delighted for him that he's taken his first World Championship wins. I was pleased with third in Hungary but I think the battle Ben and I had slowed us both down and allowed the front two to escape, if it wasn't for that, we probably could both have run at the front. It was a good podium though and set us up nicely for Croatia."
"It's a really abrasive circuit and with the temperature being around the 35 degree mark, it all came down to who could conserve their tyres the best. In the first race, I just went for it from the start whereas everyone else seemed to take it steady to begin with and that allowed me to make a break - by the time the rest got going, we were well clear and the tyres held out for the 10 laps so it was a great start. In Sunday's longer race, I managed to get by Schlosser towards the end of the first lap and with it being a longer race, we were all taking it steady in the early laps. I got into a good rhythm though and began to edge away and although Markus came with me, I always felt I had enough off a gap to feel secure and when I looked behind on the last lap there were 6 or 7 bike lengths between us so it was very much a case of job done. We're the only team to finish on the podium in every race so far and I think that's going to be crucial this year. There's nothing between the top six crews so whoever can be the most consistent, and can keep racking up the podiums, will be the Champions - and that's what we aim to do!"
Two top three results for Burrows
JOHN Burrows went to the 2012 Mid-Antrim Road Races determined to make amends for a slightly disappointing Isle of Man TT campaign. Burrows set a target of four top three finishes on the 3.5 miles Clough circuit but he had to settle for two visits to the rostrum after the gremlins that had camped with him for two weeks in the Isle of Man made sporadic visits to County Antrim.
Burrows' day didn't get off to a great start as he had to withdraw from the Senior Championship race after his Cookstown/BE Racing GSXR 1000 developed a gearbox problem on the warm-up lap. Burrows was forced to sit and watch Ryan Farquhar cruise to victory.
Burrows and his crew, which included, for the day, Michael Dunlop and Tyco Suzuki engine builder Stevie Fleming, hoped to have the big Suzuki fixed for the Grand Final but when the engine was opened up, the damage was worse than expected.
In between the two big bike races Burrows took second place in the Supertwins race on his Cookstown/KBM Kawasaki 650 and fifth in the Supersport 600 race on his Cookstown/BE Racing Yamaha 600.
Overall, it was a challenging day for Burrows and his Cookstown/BE Racing crew: John concluded: "I came for four rostrum finishes but had to settle for two. However, I felt I was riding well enough and if it hadn't been for bad luck I'm sure I'd have gotten four trips to the rostrum.
Farquhar dominates at the Mid Antrim 150Fresh from his race-winning exploits at the Isle of Man TT Races, Ryan Farquhar's highly successful season continued on Saturday when he dominated the Mid Antrim 150 road races. Despite the tricky, damp conditions around the 3.54-mile Clough circuit, the KMR Kawasaki rider won all five of his races, including the Grand Final, by comfortable margins to make it 21 wins already for the season.
Having been hit by bad weather in the last three years, the organising Mid Antrim club brought the meeting forward from their traditional August date to June but, sadly, they were still hit by wind and rain and so only 5 controlled laps of practice could take place, Ryan completing his on the 450cc Kawasaki. Saturday was still damp although a dry line appeared as the day wore on and first up for Ryan was the Superbike race. Despite having made a few changes to the big since the TT, the bike was still handling poorly but, after taking it steady in the first few laps, Ryan moved up from third and took his first win of the day by 10.44 seconds.
Next up was the Supertwins race and Ryan, quite literally, dominated the race with a start to finish victory, which saw him take the chequered flag some 45 seconds clear of second placed John Burrows. He also set a new lap record of 98.735mph. Riding a borrowed 600cc ZX-6R Kawasaki, he then completed his hat-trick with a 9.6s victory in the Supersport race and win number 4 soon followed with another dominant performance in the 125cc/450cc race and another new lap record. That just left the Grand Final and, aided by the fastest lap of the day at 106.501mph, it was another start to finish victory for Ryan as he beat Derek Shiels by 10.3s.
Team-mate Jamie Hamilton took strong 5th and 6th place finishes in the two Superbike races but was denied 2nd place and a podium in the Supertwins race when he slid off at the Clough hairpin, fortunately without injury.
Speaking later, a delighted Ryan said: "After having a few hectic weeks at the NW200 and TT, I wasn't sure if I was going to race this weekend but I took the bull by the horns, got the bikes sorted and came along and I'm glad I did now! It's tough at the moment for everyone and with a number of meetings being cancelled later in the year, I think it's important I do what I can to support the clubs as best I can as I'd hate any of them to disappear. I think it was appreciated and it's just such a shame for the Mid Antrim club that the meeting was affected by the weather again. We got a full day's racing in though and although it was still quite damp and greasy off the racing line and out the back of the circuit, a dry line was there and I was able to complete most of the day with an intermediate front tyre and slick rear."
"The Superbike was still giving me problems and having taken the big fuel tank fitted for the TT off, it changed the characteristics of the bike again. It was a long way off in the first Superbike race so I just took it steady to begin with and managed to take the win but if it had been dry, I wouldn't have been so fortunate. I made some changes for the Grand Final though and it was a lot better so I could push on a bit more. My 600cc bike is still in bits after having it stripped after the Supersport TT race so a big thanks to John Duggan (again!) for loaning me the use of my old 600 and it was another good race for me. In fact, the whole day went really well and I couldn't have asked for any more - five wins and two lap records was pretty good going and I really enjoyed myself out there. I was planning on cutting down my racing a bit this year but, like I say, I think it's important to support all the clubs as much as possible to keep the meetings going so I've got a busy few weeks ahead at the likes of the Bush, Skerries, Walderstown, the Southern 100 and Scarborough so I'll be hoping to rack up a few more wins there!"
Reeves/Hawes take the wins but Lovelock/Lawrence extend Championship leadRound 4 of the Eastern Airways British F1 Sidecar Championship took the series to the Knockhill circuit in Scotland at the weekend and although it was Tim Reeves and Ashley Hawes who dominated proceedings, two more podium finishes for Roger Lovelock/Rick Lawrence allowed them to extend their Championship lead.
Despite the threat of rain never being far away, Saturday's 18-lap race was held in mainly dry conditions and it was Scott Lawrie/James who grabbed the holeshot, leading the 20-strong field through the sweeping Seat Curve. Reeves/Hawes were in second from Ben Bygrave/Paul Knapton and they soon moved into the lead, overtaking Lawrie/Neave, but further back there was trouble for both Johan Reuterholt/Aki Aalto and John Clarke/Stuart Graham as they both spun out at the end of the first lap although the former was able to restart.
Reeves and Lawrie stayed close together for the next couple of laps as Lovelock/Lawrence moved into third whilst a superb battle was taking place for fourth with Bygrave/Knapton, Phil Bell/Tony Belsey, Barry James/Calum Lawson and Ben Holland/Lee Watson separated by less than a second. On lap six, rain began to fall and that shuffled the pack somewhat with the front trio edging away from each other and Holland/Watson taking over in fourth from James/Lawson. Reeves/Hawes were continuing to extend their lead all the time and at half race distance, the gap to Lawrie was up to 4.9s.
Indeed, the leading trio were comfortable in their positions and Reeves/Hawes were able to sweep to a commanding 12.4s victory over Lawrie/Neave who clawed back 4 points on Lovelock/Lawrence in third. The battle for fourth went down to the last lap though and it was ultimately decided at the final corner when Holland/Watson spun, handing the position to James/Lawson. Bell/Belsey, competing in the Championship for the first time this season, took fifth ahead of Holland, who was able to rejoin, with the top ten completed by Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson, Bygrave, Craig Chaplow/Darren Tritton and Steve Kershaw/Robin Wilson.
Sunday's second 18-lap encounter around the tight and twisty course saw more favourable conditions and it was Reeves/Hawes who grabbed the holeshot on this occasion. Clarke/Graham were out of luck once more though as they put their outfit on its roof on lap three, fortunately without injury, and this brought out the safety car for a period of four laps as the incident was cleared. When the race resumed under green flag conditions, Reeves again opened up a gap over his pursuers and on lap 12, Lovelock was able to move up to second when Lawrie ran wide. Meanwhile, there was a similarly close battle for fourth with Bell getting past James at the hairpin.
As the race negotiated its final third, the front three of Reeves, Lovelock and Lawrie maintained their positions and it was left to the second part of the top six to provide the changes with James/Lawson moving up to fourth and Holland/Watson pushing Bell/Belsey back to sixth at the chequered flag. Peach/Richardson, Bygrave/Knapton, Reuterholt/Aalto and Kershaw/Wilson rounded out the top ten.
The results mean that Lovelock/Lawrence continue to head the table with 156 points, their advantage over Holland/Watson now 45 points. Lawrie/Neave are only four points further back in third followed by James/Lawson (85), Reeves/Hawes (84) and Bygrave/Knapton (52).