A favourite track for many riders, Oulton Park in Cheshire hosted the third round of the MCE British Superbike championship over the may Bank Holiday weekend. Our #FuelledByXpressCoffee riders were all out for strong results after returning mixed results from the frenetic opening two rounds of the 2017 season.
Taking centre stage in the results for the weekend was STK1000 rookie, Jordan Weaving. The reigning STK600 Champion worked hard with his Briggs Equipment Lee Hardy Racing team and their Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR to get the very best from the package, with positive gains made in Cheshire. Starting from the back of the 40-strong grid after missing pit exit, the South African sliced through the pack to reach 15th place before the red flag came out for a rain shower. On the restart the form of the former MotoStar Moto3 champion continued as he cut through to a career best finish of 5th place and in plain sight of the podium places. Backing up Jordan’s result in STK1000, experienced Yorkshireman Tom Tunstall hauled his immaculate Integro BMW to a strong 6th place finish in the 9 lap restarted race, showing his class in the mixed conditions that faced the STK1000 field for the morning race.
McAMS Yamaha duo James Ellison and Michael Laverty once again had a weekend of challenges despite James once again showing front-running pace, as the team and riders continue to get to grips with the R1 Superbike. Qualifying for both riders wasn’t where either hoped to be, with James qualifying in 15th place and Michael in 21st after the mother of all crashes down Cascades, the Northern Irishman ‘lucky’ to escape with scuffs, bruises and a holed knee (which has since become infected, and shared on Social Media accordingly by Michael), unlike his Yamaha R1 that required a full rebuild.
Ellison has shown his speed at every round so far this season but the Gods aren’t smiling kindly on the Cumbrian yet this season. After a difficult qualifying it was an improved 6th place finish in Race 1 for the former World Superbike and MotoGP rider while a very stiff and aching Laverty pulled in to the pits with a tech issue on Lap 13. Race 2 saw Ellison take a second row start courtesy of his Race 1 pace and snatch the lead on lap 3 before being usurped by Byrne a handful of laps later. Ellison then became embroiled in a podium battle with former team-mate Haslam, both riders battling for precious points as the race drew to a close. Ellison’s luck deserted him again with spectacular consequences as his McAMS R1 expired at around 150mph on the run out of Druids leaving Haslam and his JG Speedfit Bournemouth Kawasaki ZX-10RR with nowhere to go other than hit the rear of the stricken Yamaha and fall from the race, destroying the Kawasaki as it barrel-rolled over the armco, Haslam thankfully escaping injury in the incident. Unfortunately for fellow #FuelledByXpressCoffee rider Laverty it was another no-scoring race for the former Supersport champion as he was once again forced to pull out of proceedings, capping off a tough weekend.
With the traditional Road Racing break upon us, the British Superbike boys return to action 16th – 18th June up at Knockhill while the STK1000 runners will once again provide support for the Donington Park WSB round 26th – 28th May.
We’re in place for the Vauxhall NW200 this week so look out for us if you’re around the paddock and remember to post any shots of the truck, cups or even staff to social media by tagging us on twitter @xpresscoffee and over on our Facebook page Xpress Coffee Events & Hospitality.