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Apr 26, 2011

Even More From This Past Weekend's Various Races

Steve Plaster (22). Photo by Dave Yeomans, courtesy of Steve Plater

Steve Plater powered the Padgett's Honda to a fifth place in the British Supersport season opener at Brands Hatch followed up by a podium finish of third in race two and left the Kent circuit nicely placed in third position on 27 points.

This year sees the race format changed and just one qualifying session ahead of a short race which as well as attracting championship points also sets the grid for the following day's feature race.

Starting from second on the grid alongside fellow Lincolnshire rider Ben Wilson, Plater got away to a steady start settling into fourth position which he held for 16 of the 18 laps before being caught and passed by Lee Johnston to cross the finish line in fifth position.

"I wasn't really happy with fifth," explained the Woodhall Spa racer. "We had one or two issues with the bike which are being checked out prior to the second race. Riding wise I am feeling fit and capable and once we get the bike sorted I should be more competitive."

With the bike problem solved Plater began the 26-lap feature race from the second row of the grid in sixth place but dropped back to 11th in the opening few laps. Once he settled into his rhythm he began to make progress through the field and made his way through the midfielders picking them off one by one until he reached fourth position with two laps remaining. He seized the opportunity to power past Ben Wilson on the final lap and crossed the finish line in third place.

"That was a very good race," said the ever smiling Lincolnshire ace. "I got off the line well but was boxed in and bottled out at the first two corners. But then I got my head down, didn't do anything stupid and began to pass people. I realised half way through the race that I had podium potential and I knew I had the right tyre in. After the first race we discovered we did have an engine problem but the lads worked until 12.30am to sort it and I was fastest in morning warm-up so I knew I would be competitive. We left the set up the same and came good at the end of the race perfectly."

It's another quick turn around for Steve as the next round is at the weekend at Oulton Park. Free practice and qualifying take place on Saturday and Sunday at Oulton Park with the first British Supersport race to be run over 12 laps scheduled for 4.40pm on Sunday. The main 16-lap race is set for Monday at 3.15pm.

More, from a press release issued by Birchall Racing:


The first two races of the Eastern Airways British Sidecar championship resulted in a brace of second places for Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall who also claimed the fastest lap of the weekend in race one as they tried to catch race winners Tim Reeves and Greg Cluze.

Starting from a second row grid position Ben and Tom slotted into second place behind Reeves and Cluze in the first race. The two outfits at the front soon pulled clear of the rest of the field but although they set the fastest lap of the race on lap 14 with a time of 48.239s 90.14mph they were unable to get within striking distance of their rivals and settled for a close second place at the chequered flag, just 0.7s adrift. Lawrie and Neave came in 16 seconds behind the top two to take third place.

Ben said: "We had a few minor issues in qualifying and of course Tom is carrying quite a bad injury. He has a cracked kneecap and pelvis which only happened three weeks ago. He has been having some intensive laser treatment and is on the mend but not quite there yet.

"We made a few changes to the outfit after Saturday's qualifying period and when we went out for morning warm-up we were fastest. We have a good race pace and made a good start into second place although Tim pulled a bit of a lead on us at the start. But once my tyres kicked in we began to catch him. But a couple of 10ths is a lot around this Indy circuit and you can never be a second a lap quicker than the leader. On saying that we were closing in until we hit the backmarkers; I hit them wrong and Tim got through but then he was held up and I got through so we see-sawed a lot."

Race two was the last on the Easter Monday calendar and this time the Mitchells of Mansfield supported brothers started from the front row. But Lawrie and Neave made a lightning start and moved into second place on the opening lap. By the time Ben and Tom regained their position on lap two, Reeves had already pulled a 1.2 second gap and although they gave it their best shot they were unable to catch the leaders. The race was red flagged for an incident further downfield and a result declared at 15 laps giving Ben and Tom second place once again.

"I am happy with two seconds today," said Ben. "Despite his injuries Tom was superb in the chair and did a great job out there. We must give a big thank you to John Lawson who transported Tom to Ipswich four times last week for treatment which has helped speed up his recovery. Also thanks to Mitchells of Mansfield, and all our sponsors for their continued support plus we are pleased to bring on board NAPIT UK who have agreed to help us this year.

The next round of the series is once again at Brands Hatch but this time on the full circuit and with Bemsee club on May 22 but prior to that the first round of the world championship beckons. The two races take place at Schleiz in Germany on May 15 when Ben and Tom will begin their challenge for a second world title.

More, from a press release issued by Sportsbike/Ducati Only:


The Mount Gambier Motor Cycle & Light Car Club welcomed the National BEARS Championship to MacDonald Park over the Easter weekend. This was the second round of the National BEARS Championship and the technical Mac Park circuit was to be a real challenge for the depth of talented riders contesting the series.

For Peter Martin, riding the SPORTSBIKE | DUCATIONLY Ducati 1198S, it was his first ride at Mac Park and he was happy when he was able to quickly achieve 'reasonable lap times'. Short races and a lack of familiarity with the circuit made it difficult to reduce times and run closer to the front. Never the less, the 6th, 6th, 4th and 5th place results were enough to consolidate 3rd in the Championship and close the points difference on the leaders as consistency in finishing high in the points was rewarded.

After two of five rounds in the BEARS National F1 Championship, the points leader is David Clarke (Ducati 1198S) 145 Points, followed by: Marc Balestro (Ducati1098) 140 Points, Peter Martin (Ducati 1198S) 130 Points, Scott Brown (BMW S1000RR) 121 Points and Rick Fitzsimmons (Ducati 1198) on 119 Points.


"For 13 years BEARS founder Scott Brown has been saying I must go to Mac Park - I am so glad that I finally took his advice. People who know the circuit say that you have to be very exact. I was told that it is not a matter of laps but a matter of years before you can ride the circuit competitively They may be right."

"Mac Park is a truly amazing circuit for a rider. Designed on the historic British circuits, it requires exact lines at certain points that will have an influence 3, 4 or even 5 corners ahead. The grip level is incredible and the Bridgestone Tyres performed brilliantly the entire weekend. Passing places abound and you have to summon the courage to push with discretion as time is easily lost that being said, if you make a mistake there is tons of run off and you can get back into contention. For me going to Mac Park was about maintaining 3rd in the Championship and keeping as close as possible to the Leaders. The end result was better than I expected."

"I want to thank the Mt Gambier Club Committee and Members for a superbly run meeting, great hospitality, great food and great company. A special thanks to locals Darrin and David Trotter for being patient and generously answering my many questions on how I can get round this amazing circuit. A special thanks goes to my dear Judy for helping drive the 15 hours there and then back and for being Pit Crew over the weekend. Your help and generosity makes a very big difference and contributes greatly to me and the results we achieved."

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

Alastair Seeley demonstrated the pedigree of Suzuki's all-new GSX-R600 taking it to its debut victory in the British Supersport Championship at Brands Hatch in front of a packed Easter Monday audience.

The former British Superstock Champion and current Superbike and Supersport lap record-holder at the International North West 200, picked himself up after yesterday's disappointment when he crashed whilst challenging for the win, to lead home a high-speed freight-train over 26 pulsating laps. Less than a second covered the top-five at the chequered flag, and despite yesterday's DNF, the Ulsterman sits well-poised in fourth place, just 13 points behind the series leader.

Alastair Seeley:

"I never looked behind me in that second Supersport race and it's a good job as I think I might have scared myself! I just watched my board today, kept my head down and stuck to the game plan. Ben tried to make a break for it but I was ready for him and when I eventually got to the front I just defended my line on that last lap and brought it home for the win. Next week we'll get a chance to stretch the legs on the GSX-R600 at Oulton Park, but before that, I have a GSX-R 'Owners Day' here at Brands Hatch with Suzuki."

Philip Neill - Team Manager:

"There are a number of positives to take away from this meeting, starting with Alastair Seeley. He was pure class in that race today, and it's not the first time he's pulled this team out of a hole: He completely out-smarted his rivals and the new GSX-R600 package was nothing short of perfect. He rode the textbook race and we knew he had a better tyre-choice than many of his rivals. He controlled the race from the front and it was the race of the day for the fans with five of them in it at the end.

British Supersport Race 2: 1st - Alastair Seeley [Relentless by TAS Suzuki]; 2nd - Jack Kennedy [Yamaha]; 3rd - Steve Plater [Honda]; 4th - Ben Wilson [Kawasaki]; 5th - Dean Hipwell [Yamaha]; 6th - Lee Johnston [Honda]; 7th - Jimmy Hill [Triumph]; 8th - Luke Mossey [Triumph]; 9th - Sam Warren [Yamaha]; 10th - Daniel Cooper [Triumph].

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

Josh Brookes was forced out of his debut British Superbike Championship race at Brands Hatch on medical grounds after crashing out of the opening race.

The Relentless Suzuki by TAS rider was deemed 'not fit' to take part in the second race after high-siding while challenging for the lead in the opening race at the Kent circuit, after scything through the pack from a lowly 13th-placed start on the grid. Just when the Australian was planning his attack on race-leader Shane Byrne, he suffered a spectacular high-side at the top of Paddock Hill Bend, prematurely ending his Easter Monday debut.

Josh Brookes:

"I suppose we did all right coming back from where we were in qualifying and I have to say, everything felt 100 per cent better today on my bike. As I said after qualifying, I knew what caused the problem and once we'd that sorted; we were fast in morning warm-up and in the race. While I was battling with people in the race, I couldn't get into a proper rhythm, but once I got to P2 - which was quite easy - I was totally confident. I saw 'Shakey' and thought, 'I'm in a good position here,' but it all ended at Paddock Hill. I'm upbeat because I really can't believe how I didn't injure myself in such a big crash. Now I'm just looking forward to Oulton Park."

Philip Neill - Team Manager:

"Josh proved in the opening BSB race that we'd really cracked it with his set-up this morning in warm-up and I have to admit, watching him come through from 13th to second place - it's been a long time since I've taken so much pleasure watching someone on a Superbike: He was so strong and made a pass on almost every lap; no one could hold him off at Clearways. He can certainly ride a motorbike and that's why we signed him, for his 'never say die' attitude. He just pushed that little-too hard down Paddock Hill which caused the crash, but we'll accept that and move on. Until then, he made the whole GSX-R1000 Superbike package look absolutely superb.

British Superbike Race 1:

1st - Shane Byrne (Honda); 2nd - Tommy Hill (Yamaha); 3rd - Tommy Bridewell (Honda); 4th - Stuart Easton (Kawasaki); 5th - Jon Kirkham (Suzuki); 6th - Michael Rutter (Ducati); 7th - Loris Baz (Yamaha); 8th - Dan Linfoot (Honda); 9th - Martin Jessopp (Ducati); 10th - Chris Walker (Kawasaki). Josh Brookes DNF

British Superbike Race 2:

1st - Tommy Hill (Yamaha); 2nd - Ryuichi Kiyonari (Honda); 3rd - Shane Byrne (Honda); 4th - Michael Laverty (Yamaha); 5th - John Hopkins (Suzuki); 6th - Stuart Easton (Kawasaki); 7th - Michael Rutter (Ducati); 8th - Dan Linfoot (Honda); 9th - Peter Hickman (Honda); 10th - Gary Mason (Kawasaki). Josh Brookes DNS.

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki News Service:

Samsung Crescent Racing scored two top-five finishes in the opening round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch, despite suffering a crash and a DNS from Suzuki-mounted John Hopkins and Jon Kirkham.

In race one, Hopkins started well and very quickly was inside the top-six, but on lap 11, while pushing to make a pass for fifth, Hopkins slid off at Druids. He remounted and was able to regain 17th place by the chequered flag.

Kirkham's race didn't start so positively, placing as low as 15th place, but as ever, employing consistency and a very decent turn of speed, he was able to fight his way to fifth position by the end of the race, 3.5-seconds behind the winner.

Both Hopkins and Kirkham had second-row start positions for race two, but unfortunately Kirkham's bike suffered a component failure during the warm-up lap and he was unable to start. But Hopkins held position from the start and at half-distance was able to move up to fifth, but with the top-four a few too many seconds ahead, he was unable to improve on his position before the finish.

John Hopkins:

"Not my greatest day, not my worst. We started the day well; we'd made some changes overnight and that made a difference - third fastest, and my personal best of the weekend, in warm-up. I was pleased with my start in the first race; I got through some traffic but then got stuck behind Stuart Easton. When it comes down to tenths-of-a-second between you and then next guy, then passing isn't easy, and so when I was pushing it into Druids it didn't take much to run wide, and then go down. I picked it back up but couldn't get back into the points.

"I didn't get the best start in race two: In fact I got bumped as I went into turn one and this cost me a few places. Again I found myself coming back though and again finding Stuart Easton mid-race. I took my time second time around and made sure it was a safe pass - I wanted some points from this weekend. After that there was too-big-a-gap to the guys in front and it wasn't worth risking another fall to try and catch them."

Jon Kirkham:

"That was an amazing first race. I got a bad start and so had a busy time making back the places. Then just when I'd got up to a decent position, I got punted off the track and found I had to do the work all over again. It was mayhem in that race; bikes and riders going in all directions it seemed. I was so pleased to make fifth.

"To not even get to start the second race was really disappointing, I was looking to build on race one, but that's racing. So I'm really looking forward to Oulton Park now as it's one of my favourite tracks."

Jack Valentine - Team Manager:

"The day started so promisingly, but it just didn't go our way. It's frustrating. I'm happy with the lads' riding, though. Hopper was right to take a safe strategy to the second half of the second race; to take the points. And JK was brilliant in race one - a few more laps and maybe he could have been on the podium. To be denied a start in the second race because of the failure of a 25p component is tough, but by then JK had already done enough to show he's a serious contender in this Championship.

"Of course I'd be happier if we'd had four top-five results, not the two, but others suffered worse. It's a long season, and yet round two of the Championship is in just a matter of a few days time. We'll be carrying forward the positives from this weekend."

Race one result:

1 Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda)
2 Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha) +1.154s
3 Tommy Bridewell (Tyco Honda) +2.667s
4 Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +2.764s
5 Jon Kirkham (Samsung Crescent Racing) +3.408s
6 Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +4.310s
7 Loris Baz (Motorpoint Yamaha) +4.496s
8 Dan Linfoot ( Honda) +5.090s
9 Martin Jessopp (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +5.100s
10 Chris Walker (Pr1mo Racing Kawasaki) +7.728s
17. John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +15.965s

Race two result:

1 Tommy Hill (Swan Yamaha)
2 Ryuichi Kiyonari (HM Plant Honda) +0.142s
3 Shane Byrne (HM Plant Honda) +0.598s
4 Michael Laverty (Swan Yamaha) +4.463s
5 John Hopkins (Samsung Crescent Racing) +10.089s
6 Stuart Easton (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +11.984s
7 Michael Rutter (Rapid Solicitors-Bathams Ducati) +13.048s
8 Dan Linfoot ( Honda) +13.897s
9 Peter Hickman (Tyco Honda) +18.431s
10 Gary Mason (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +18.473s

More, from a press release issued by Seton Interceptor Racing:


A packed crowd of 40,000 race fans crammed into a sweltering Brands Hatch for an Easter treat, and the Superstock front runners didn't disappoint, with Ben claiming victory by just 0.025s, and a Yamaha 1-2-3, as the chequered flag signaled the end of 24 hard-fought laps.

The 22 year old Australian, with just a handful of laps under his belt at the infamous 1.2-mile Kent track had posted blistering lap times throughout the weekend to qualify under the existing lap record. Ben lined up the Seton Interceptor Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 in second just behind polesitter Dean Brown on the Colin Appleyard/Macadam Racing Yamaha.

From the lights, Burke fired into Paddock Hill hot on the heels of Leon Jeacock's Yamaha. With a number of position changes taking place as the field jostled for position during the opening exchanges, Brown, East and Burke made a three-man break at the sharp end, with Burke neatly tucked into third position.

Despite his lack of track knowledge, Ben looked comfortable throughout the first half of the race as he sat just behind the leading duo. Taking onboard the advice passed on to him by the experienced Alex Lowes, Ben's on-track confidence continued to build with each successive lap, posting the first new lap record of the race on the 7th circulation. Brown snatched the lap record away from the Australian on lap 11, but Ben soon re-stamped his authority as he kicked the Seton Yamaha up a gear to secure the outright record on lap 14 with a scorching time of 48.179s.

With a podium finish all but assured, Ben set his sights on the win. The plan for victory started to come to fruition on lap 19, setting up Brown from as far back as Paddock Hill, before making a move round the outside of the Yamaha rider into Graham Hill bend two corners later. Hunting down race leader East, Ben made the decisive move for the lead with a text book late braking manoeuvre on the inside into Druids on lap 22.

Powering out of the final corner, East pushed Ben all the way to the line but the super-fast Seton Interceptor Racing Yamaha held off the challenge for Ben to claim his, and the team's, maiden win in the class and the championship lead at the climax of an exhilarating race.

Ben Burke: "I still can't believe that I won and having a lap record to my name is the cherry on top of the cake! A huge thanks to the team who all helped and make the weekend run so smoothly. Thanks to Seton Tuning for giving me possibly the best bike in the field, TK Cope Motorcycles, Australia United Timbers, Impact Coatings and Standard Engineering. The whole weekend was a fantastic experience - I couldn't have asked for a better start to the season!"

Phil Seton, Team Manager: "I am over the moon, the entire team is! I couldn't be happier - what a ride from Ben, he has been absolutely incredible all weekend. Respect to all three in the Superstock race, they all rode at lap record pace from the lights but in such a mature way. We made just a single change to Ben's set-up after Friday's free practice session and that was that. It was a great, great performance from Ben - I can't believe he is only 22 as the confidence he showed in his racing was awe inspiring."

Brands Hatch heralded a new format for the Supersport Championship, with no fewer than 24 races to decide the title. Warren opened his account in the 15-lap sprint on Easter Sunday, claiming 15th place and the final point-scoring position despite suffering severe rear tyre longevity issues.

With each rider's fastest lap of the race determining grid positions for the main event on race day, Sam found his time of 47.725s would only be good enough to line up the Seton Inteceptor Racing Yamaha on the outside of the fifth row in 20th for the 28-lap main showdown.

The Derbyshire-based rider set about the task ahead with focus and determination, carving through the packed field ahead to close in on the top ten by two-thirds race distance. However, with an insurmountable 4-second gap to Mossey in eighth, Sam kept his head down to bring his Seton Interceptor Racing Yamaha home in ninth to claim seven more valuable championship points.

Sam Warren: "its been a bit of a tough start for us this weekend. Running top 5 through practice and early qualifying, it was a shame a red flag situation didn't allow us to use new rubber we'd put in and find a tenth which would have put us 5th instead of 11th! We tried a bit of a gamble on set-up in Race 1 but unfortunately it didn't pay off as the soft tire shredded itself. We found a much better setting for Race 2, running the harder tire, and managed to grab a top 10 from way down. Hopefully we can be competitive from the off at Oulton. And well done Ben!"

Phil Seton, Team Manager: "We have been blighted with set-up issues on Sam's R6 all weekend. We started with a stiffer shock but this sacrificed front-end feeling. With changes to the geometry and rear suspension, we got it working more to Sam's liking but it compromised rear tyre longevity, so Sam was unable to qualify any higher than 11th and settle for 15th in the first race.

We then went right back to basics, took comparisons from where Ben's R6 had been strong, then changed the spring and preload on the rear to counteract tyre wear. We took a big gamble for the main Supersport race and used a harder rear tyre and Sam went faster than he had in qualifying, didn't suffer any undue tyre wear issues and went from 20th to a fantastic result of 9th running the same lap times as the leaders. All we need now is a better qualifying and the results will turn around. All in all, it's been a very emotional, charged, hard-working, hot & sticky but fantastic weekend!"

The second round of the 2011 MCE British Superbike Championship takes place next weekend at Oulton Park, Cheshire (30 April - 2 May).

More, from a press release issued by Brandon Cretu:

Old Glory Speed Shop Takes First Team Challenge Victory of the Year

The Old Glory Speed Shop Team made the 21 hour road trip from Hanover, PA to Topeka, KS for round 3 of the ASRA Team Challenge Series this past weekend at Heartland Park. They had a feeling series points leader, Saddlebaum Racing, was going to be a no-show to this round so the goal was to win and get a good points lead.

The goal was looking bleak at first considering no one on the team had ever been to Heartland Park and they knew they would only get about 2 sessions of practice before the race. On top of that the forecast was calling for inclement weather. They would be without one of their riders, Brandon Cretu, so the only rider there with experience on the Buell would be Dennie Huff. Brandon would be unable to make a few rounds this year due to using most of his vacation from his day job to go back and race at the 2011 Isle of Man TT. The team decided to have Brian D'apice fill in for Brandon as they knew he would be an asset to the team for future rounds.

Dennie and Brian knew they had the bike to win the race though. After getting back from round 2 of of the Team Challenge Series they sent the Buell to Old Glory Speed Shop to have the chain drive installed on the new motor and to have all the seals replaced as it was leaking a bit at the end of the last race. The bike was then sent to Mike Cobb and MRP Motorsports to re-tune the bike since it had not been tuned with the new motor. On top of this they had trackside Continental support at Heartland Park so they knew if they had any questions about tires they would be taken care of.

After just two practice sessions, which were both on a wet track and rain tires, it was was race time for the Old Glory Speed Shop team. The track was still drying but was not longer wet. Continental recommended they run the softest tire because of the track conditions so they quickly dismounted their rains and put on a set of soft compound Race Attack DOT tires. Dennie started the race and took the hole shot in their class over local team, Tank Slapper Racing. They battled back and forth during the start of the race so Dennie decided to let him pass and watch his lines to better learn the track, especially since he had only had one session riding there in the wet! Once Dennie had the track figured out he re-passed Tank Slapper Racing for the lead and pulled a big gap. They pitted a few laps later which allowed Dennie to pull an even larger gap to almost 3 laps. Dennie pitted with only 15 laps left and allowed fill-in rider Brian D'apice to take control and bring it home. Brian extended the lead to over 3 laps and brought home Old Glory Speed Shop's and Continetal Tire's first victory in the ASRA Team Challenge series!

Dennie, Brandon, and Brian would like to thank all of their sponsors for their help this season, without them this would not be possible.

2011 Sponsors: Old Glory Speed Shop, Continental Tires; Drummer Exhaust; BG products; REV'IT!; EBC Brakes; MRP Motorsports; Spyder Leatherworks;; Supreme Protein; Flexi-glass Bodywork; Vortex; Woodcraft; Pipercross Filters; Blue Monkey Motorsports.

The team would like to invite everyone to come watch the next round fo the ASRA Team Challenge Series at New Jersey Motorsports Park on May 13!

More, from a press release issued by Thrashed Bike Racing:

Thrashed Bike Racing's principal Tim Ivanoff commends the excellent performance of riders Walt Sipp and Joel Spalding and team members in the ASRA/CCS Team Challenge event at Heartland Park Apr 22nd. The team's performance moved Thrashed Bike Racing's Buell 1125R to within 4 points of the overall points lead and places the team as the current points leader in the GTO class. Spalding commented: "We knew Walt would deliver at his home track of Heartland. He made my turn on the bike easy. All I had to do was not fall down!" Walt added: "This was a good weekend for the team for sure-especially getting back into the point lead. Tim builds a great bike so it makes it a lot of fun out there; can't wait for Jersey!"

The team is looking forward to meeting the competition for the next round at New Jersey Motorsports Park May 13th!

Great thanks to sponsors Arrow Aviation Company LLC, Erik Buell Racing LLC, Pirelli Tires and Avcal Decals for their continued support!