Cadwell Park, the jewel in Lincolnshire’s crown was the setting for Round 8 of the 2017 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship. The historic venue is a favourite for race fans who flock to the parkland circuit to witness the bikes get airborne over the world-famous Mountain section. Spilt in to two definitive sections, parkland and woodland, the sinuous and undulating ribbon of tarmac is a true test of man and machine.
The weekend saw a massive turn of fortune for the McAMS Yamaha pair of Michael Laverty and James Ellison. After a season of struggles it was a strong weekend for both riders who, despite not making it to Q3, were both on the cusp of the final qualifying session. Missing Q3 meant a lot of work to do for both riders in Race 1 as James started 15th and Michael 11th; with overtaking points few and far between it needed to be a calculated race to make ground quickly at the tightest of circuits.
Race 1 worked well for Laverty, a confidence-inspiring race time that was just 4 seconds shy of the winner, 7th place was well-deserved for the Ulsterman after a season of toils to cure front end issues that finally seem solved. For Ellison it was also progress made; a notoriously difficult circuit to pass on anywhere other than Park Corner (or Mansfield if you REALLY fancy your chances!). Again, 10th place doesn’t tell the full story, finishing just 0.5s shy of his team mate for a McAMS Yamaha double top ten.
With lap times counting towards the grid for Race 2, Ellison lined up on the front row with Laverty in 7th place. It looked like a race of attrition at one point, the searing pace catching out a couple of the Showdown contenders. Ellison kept touch with the front three, lap record pace showed just how hard the boys were trying as Ellison made his move on race leader Jackson. Jackson bit back but showed his hand early as the experienced Ellison held the youngster off in the final laps to take victory in Lincolnshire. Laverty consolidated his turn of pace with another top ten, both are now eager to get to Silverstone in two weeks time.
Superbike rookie Andy Reid coped well with the demands of Cadwell Park, improving his pace session on session. However it was in Qualifying that the young Northern Irishman shone aboard his Tyco BMW. Despite not testing at the circuit, Reid made it through to Q3 and a career-best 8th place on the grid. Backing up the show of talent on Saturday it was a double points finish for Reid as he grows ever comfortable on the BMW S1000RR.
In STK1000 it was a mixed weekend for Messrs Elliott, Tunstall and Weaving (sounds like a firm of solicitors!) at Cadwell Park. A rain-interrupted qualifying session caught out Elliott who started the session on a used tyre to assess the alterations in set-up made by his Tyco BMW team, however the rains came early preventing the former champ from chasing a strong time with a new rear tyre. No such issue for Weaving who gambled on the new tyre for a long first run. 8th and 9th for the pair with Yorkshireman Tom Tunstall struggling a little down in 23rd place.
Race day was almost perfect for the STK1000 field and despite a brief Safety Car interlude after a rider crashed at the Mountain on Lap 2 it was down to business. Elliott rode hard to make up places after a juddering clutch cost him a good start, battling back from 13th to 6th at the flag. Weaving held his own, looking every inch the big bike rider now, battling hard to bring his Briggs Equipment
Kawasaki ZX-10RR home in the top ten while Tunstall fought hard through the pack , calling on his vast experience to slice through to 13th place at the flag, a quite epic performance for the Integro BMW man. After the flag a competitor was deemed to have infringed the technical regulations for the class and was excluded from the results, elevating our #FuelledByXpressCoffee riders to 5th, 9th and 12th. A good day for theSTK1000 Holy Trinity.