The 2014 British Superbike season and that of its support classes came to an end at the historic Brands Hatch circuit in Kent last weekend. As the sun set on yet another drama-filled final round, the #FuelledByXpressCoffee stable of riders enjoyed one last outing in the Autumn sunshine before a winter of big decisions and hard training take the place of big manoeuvres and hard racing.
Tsingtao WK Bikes Kawasaki man Danny Buchan had already wrapped up the Pirelli National STK1000 Championship last time out with a hard-fought win from fellow stable-mate Jason O’Halloran and his Honda UK team. This time it was role reversal as the Honda pilot took the victory from Buchan by the slimmest of margins, something that has been the mainstay of this year’s championship battle between the two riders that have been the class of the field for 2014. Both riders are rumoured to be stepping up to the British Superbike class for 2015, just reward for a fantastic season.
As well as Buchan and O’Halloran in STK1000, XpressCoffee’s longest-serving sponsored rider Tom Tunstall also competes in the hotly-contested class and worked hard at Brands Hatch to back up his third point-scoring finish of the season at the penultimate round just two weeks previous. Unfortunately for the Doodson Motorsport rider it was another tough round in Kent, the Kawasaki ZX-10R was not quite working the way he wanted it to, so unfortunately, despite his hard riding in the race, it was a finish outside of the points for the ever-cheerful Yorkshireman.
In the Pirelli National STK600 series the most recent member of the #FuelledBy stable had the chance to snatch the championship after a series of misfortunes struck the title fighters at Silverstone last time out. Northern Irishman Andy Reid was head and shoulders above the competition during Free Practice and Qualifying but agonisingly lost out on the race win, and with it the championship, to Kyle Ryde in the dash for the line. Reid will move on from the series for 2015, news of where the talented young rider will ride next year will emerge in the coming weeks.
News of where another of the young #FuelledByXpressCoffee riders will ride next year is also the subject of much interest as Motul Motostar Moto3 Champion Jordan Weaving looks to take his leave from the junior class and step up to a 600cc machine. It was a weekend to forget in terms of track action for the South African as it appeared all the bad luck that had eluded him over the season arrived at once. A spent clutch, a low speed crash, a tenth row start and then being taken out two corners from the end of the first lap after making up seventeen places told the story of a miserable weekend. Like Reid, news of where the 17 year old will ride next season should again emerge in the coming weeks.
In the blue ribbon British Superbike class it was a successful weekend for James Ellison but a mixed bag for Aussie Josh Waters. Ellison returned to the circuit that put paid to his championship challenge in July after a crash at Dingle Dell left the Cumbrian with a broken femur. Pole position for race one followed by two second places on Sunday redressed the balance at the picturesque circuit and gave the former MotoGP and WSS man a solid boost to go forward again with GBmoto next season. Tyco Suzuki two-time race winner in 2014 Josh Waters had an uncharacteristic weekend after reaffirming his potential in BSB by be becoming the third highest point-scorer after Shakey and Kiyo since Cadwell Park back in August. Waters took a close second place in Saturday’s first race but couldn’t replicate that pace in Sunday’s double-header, however the likeable Mildura man secured a season-best haul of 192 points, 96 more than in 2013. Ellison secured 8th in the championship after missing a series of races whilst recovering from injury with Waters claiming ninth.
Former STK1000 champion Keith Farmer was present at Brands Hatch in support of Ian Hutchinson in the same class, the fast Northern Irishman is confident of securing a ride for 2015 after a tough part season with PR Kawasaki in British Superbikes and is looking forwards to returning with a bang next year.
Finally the True Heroes team lead by Phil Spencer along with riders Murray Hambro, Luke Smith and Dan Helyer ended their season at Brands Hatch with a pair of 19th and 21st place finishes in the Triumph Triple Challenge. A pair of double finishes for Legless and Smudger, but sadly a DNF for Dan in STK1000, points to another successful season of competition for this incredible team comprising of injured servicemen and credit must go to Phil and all his staff and riders for making it all happen and having some fun on the way.
So, after numerous race wins, podiums and two championships, Chris, Sam and all the staff at XpressCoffee HQ wish to pass on their thanks and gratitude to all their #FuelledByXpressCoffee teams and riders for their efforts and support this year and wish them all the best for the close season. Special thanks also go to Gail, Andy and Dave for their tireless help over race weekends; after a short period of reflection and catching of breath, the XpressCoffee team will soon be ready to start planning for 2015. Watch this space….