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MORE POINTS AT SNETTERTON FOR SMITHS RACING

The Smiths Racing BMW team had a solid weekend at round five of the MCE British Superbike Championship taking place at Snetterton in Norfolk and two top seven finishes for Peter Hickman ensured he moved back into sixth place overall and with it, into one of the coveted ‘Showdown’ positions.
The Louth rider was disappointed to have qualified in tenth aboard the Smiths Racing BMW but he was still inside the class lap record and sixth quickest in morning warm-up put him in good stead for today’s opening 16-lap race. Indeed, he was soon up into eighth place and eventually part of a large group battling for sixth before having to settle for seventh at the chequered flag.   Starting the second race from fifth position on the grid, the 30 year old hoped for a good start but he got pushed wide at turn two and again later in the lap, dropping him down the order to 11th place as a result. But with a concerted effort, Hickman moved forward before sealing a fine sixth place on the final dash towards the chequered flag meaning the 19 points from the two races has moved him up to sixth overall.

Team-mate Lee Jackson qualified in 15th place for the first race but a coming together with another rider saw him pushed off the track on the opening lap and he was all the way back in 22nd. However, the Lincolnshire youngster dug deep and a storming ride saw him climb back up to 13th at the end of 16 laps.   He was rewarded for his efforts with 12th on the grid for the second race but struggled off the line and was down in 17th after the completion of the first lap. He battled back up the order and with just four laps to go, he took over 13th place and here he remained until the end of the race to add another three points to his tally.

The weekend also saw Graeme Gowland rejoin the double British Supersport champions for the two Dickies British Supersport Championship races aboard the Smiths Triumph 675 and, despite more than two years out of the saddle, the Allendale rider put in two fine performances, finishing ninth in yesterday’s ‘Sprint’ race and improving to an excellent sixth in today’s longer ‘Feature’ race.

Peter Hickman: “It hasn’t been a bad weekend and if you forget the race positions, one of the major things to come out of the weekend is that we’ve made major improvements to the bike and have learnt an awful lot which should stand us in good stead in the forthcoming rounds. The bike felt a lot more planted and I was really hopeful of a better showing in race two so it was a shame I got duffed up a bit. I made a good start but got pushed wide twice and lost my rhythm which made it tough but I kept pushing until the end and to be back in the top six is pleasing. The team have done a mega job all weekend and we’re looking forward now to pushing on even further.”

Lee Jackson: “We made good progress again all weekend so it was a shame I got pushed onto the grass at turn one of the first race but it was just one of those things. After that, I just got my head down and was really pleased to come from half a lap down and from 22nd to 13th, and with another lap I think it could have been the top ten. I struggled a bit in the second race mainly with front end grip and the different setting we tried didn’t quite work as we hoped. I was pushing the front a lot more and although I could see 11th, I couldn’t make any ground up. It’s two more solid finishes and more points so a big thanks to all the team for their continued hard work.”

Graeme Gowland: “My last race was back in October 2014 so it’s certainly been a baptism of fire! It’s been a massive learning curve and it’s literally been like starting all over again but the most pleasing aspect was that I went quicker each time I went out on the bike. It’s hard to come back after such a long time away from the sport but the feeling was great and it was really good to be back racing again. The class has changed a bit since 2014 and I had to recalibrate the brain in terms of getting used to the speeds, the tyres, the bike moving around, everything really, so to get two top ten finishes was very pleasing and I’ve got to say a massive thanks to the team for giving me the opportunity.”

Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: “We were hoping for a little bit more this weekend but Peter had two solid rides to get himself back into a Showdown position but we obviously need to start pushing more for the podium positions to make sure we’re in the top six come round nine. Lee made steady progress all weekend and scored two solid results so with some testing planned before the next round, we’re confident there’s plenty more to come. As for Graeme, he did an outstanding job and after being out since October 2014, to finish sixth and ninth was simply superb. We’ll evaluate what we’ll do with the Supersport bike but it was like Graeme was never away so he certainly deserves another opportunity.”

MCE British Superbike Championship race one (16 laps)

1 Shane Byrne (Ducati)

2 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)

3 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)

4 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki)

5 Dan Linfoot (Honda)

6 Jake Dixon (Kawasaki)

7 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

13 Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW)

MCE British Superbike Championship race two (16 laps)

1 Shane Byrne (Ducati)

2 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)

3 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)

4 Jake Dixon (Kawasaki)

5 John Hopkins (Ducati)

6 Peter Hickman (Smiths Racing BMW)

13 Lee Jackson (Smiths Racing BMW)

 

Championship Positions (after five rounds)

1 Mossey 147pts

2 Byrne 140

3 Haslam 132

4 Brookes 118

5 O’Halloran 115

6 Hickman 93

19 Jackson 20

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