Following on from his second place finish at the last round at Oulton Park, Hydrex Bike Animal Honda rider James Ellison was once again on great form as he secured another podium finish in changeable conditions in round eight of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Knockhill in Scotland yesterday.
With bright blue skies coupled with the odd heavy downpour, it was always a problem for the riders but in the opening race, held in dry conditions, the 27 year old from Kendal diced with the leading bunch through the race eventually passing Michael Rutter in the latter stages to claim third position and with it his third podium of the season.
James couldn't quite repeat the feat in race two which was stopped on a couple of occasions due to inclement weather and latterly due to a crash involving championship leader Shane Byrne whereby he had to settle for fifth at the flag.
For team mate Guy Martin, again it was a weekend of mixed emotions whereby the 26 year old from Kirmington suffered a mechanical problem in the opening race but in the first part of the afternoon's second race he stormed through the field to hold a top ten position before the race was halted and in the re-start he couldn't quite manage a similar result but had to settle for 14th at the flag.
The net result is that Ellison lies in sixth position in the championship and Guy Martin in eighteenth going into the next round at Cadwell Park on August bank holiday weekend. Meanwhile Martin will be in action at the Ulster GP this week whereby he hopes to score another victory on the Dundrod circuit.
Kieran Clarke rode well to claim a top ten position in the Metzeler Superstock 1000cc race to add to his points scoring ride on his debut in the Shaun Muir team at Oulton Park and he will be looking to improve at Cadwell Park in the next round aboard the team's 1000cc Fireblade.
James Ellison: "I'm well happy with the first race but again we maybe could have done better, but we had the pace and we showed that. I did the third fastest lap so we finished where we finished but I feel we could have done a bit more but I tried my hardest and that was all I could do. We ran with an intermediate front and a slick rear which was the right decision but it was a bit difficult off the line with it being wet but once we got into the race we were chipping away. I could see the riders in front getting closer every lap so if we had more laps I could have maybe got higher up. The team has done a mega job this weekend especially with me crashing on Friday, they turned the bike around and I enjoyed riding it and I'm happy to come away in one piece with more points and a trophy."
Guy Martin: "I was disappointed to break down in the first race again, but I am over the moon with a good finish in the second race where I had to start from the back of the grid because my hose clip went and it was a good job the race got red flagged so I could fix it and get out in the restart. I'm looking forward to the Ulster GP in a few days time."
Kieran Clarke: "It went really well, although it was wet and we've not spent any time on the wet Superstock tyres and it's nowhere near the level of grip as I'm used to. I feel that had it been dry I should have had a mid top-ten and I think we just need to keep chipping away and now I'm looking forward to Cadwell Park. The whole team was been fantastic again this weekend."
Shaun Muir (Team Owner): "Overall I'm obviously well happy with another podium for James and he now has a chance to get into the top three in the championship. It was a pity he didn't get on the podium in the second race when the race was cut short. Guy rode well to score a good couple of points, and Kieran also had a good solid ride for some points. Hopefully we can move forwards again at Cadwell Park."
Superbike Race One Result1, Tom Sykes (Suzuki) 25m09.296s, 2, Shane Byrne (Ducati) +3.093s, 3, James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +3.479s, 4, Michael Rutter (Ducati) +5.752s, 5, Leon Camier (Ducati) +9.345s, 6, Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +9.461s, 7, Karl Harris (Yamaha) +19.051s, 8, Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +36.055s, 9, Tristan Palmer (Honda) +39.097s, 10, Gary Mason (Honda) +40.021s.
Superbike Race Two Result1, Leon Haslam (Honda) 11m58.300s, 2, Michael Rutter (Ducati) +3.214s, 3, Karl Harris (Yamaha) +3.541s, 4, Tom Sykes (Suzuki) 3.680s, 5, James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +6.591s, 6, Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +15.876s, 7, Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +16.539s, 8, Leon Camier (Ducati) +18.608s, 9, Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +23.428s, 10, Chris Burns (MV Agusta) +26.439s. 14, Guy Martin (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +1lap.
2008 Bennetts British Superbike Championship Standings after Round 81. Shane Byrne (Ducati) 332pts2. Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 222pts3. Tom Sykes (Suzuki) 214pts4. Leon Haslam (Honda) 199pts5. Leon Camier (Ducati) 179pts6. James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 177pts7. Michael Rutter (Ducati) 174pts8. Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 110pts9. Simon Andrews (Yamaha) 108pts10. Tristan Palmer (Honda) 75pts18. Guy Martin (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 21pts
Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Result1, Steve Brogan (Honda) 22m29.483s, 2, John Kirkham (Yamaha) +4.486s, 3, Daniel Hegarty (Yamaha) +6.322s, 4, Kenny Gilbertson (Kawasaki) +8.351s, 5, Jimmy Storrar (Suzuki) +8.737s, 6, Sam Warren (Yamaha) +9.751s, 7, Marshall Neill (Suzuki) +13.308s, 8, Cameron Donald (Suzuki) +13.831s, 9, Alastair Seeley (Yamaha) +36.080s, 10, Kieran Clarke (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) +38.133s.
Photograph attached courtesy of Turn One Photography.
Round 2 - 18th/20th April - Thruxton, HantsRound 3 - 3rd/5th May - Oulton Park, CheshireRound 1 - 10th/11th May - Brands Hatch GP, KentRound 4 - 24th/26th May - Donington Park, LeicsRound 5 - 13th/15th June - Snetterton, NorfolkRound 6 - 27th/29th June - Mallory ParkRound 7 - 18th/20th July - Oulton Park, CheshireRound 8 - 8th/10th August - Knockhill, FifeRound 9 - 23rd/25th August - Cadwell Park, LincsRound 10 - 12th/14th September - Croft, North YorkshireRound 11 - 26th/28th September, Silverstone, NorthantsRound 12 - 10th/12th October - Brands Hatch Indy, Kent
Sykes takes Knockhill BSB victory
Rizla Suzuki's Tom Sykes took his third win in a row at the eighth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Knockhill in Scotland today - and then backed it up in a damp crash-littered shortened second race with a competitive fourth place.
After a good start in race one, Sykes battled with Ducati's Michael Rutter on the damp but fast-drying track, passing him on lap nine and never looking back. After winning the last two races at Oulton Park it marked a unique hat-trick of victories for the Huddersfield ace.
Rizla Suzuki's Atsushi Watanabe started from 16th on the grid and was fighting for a season's best top-10 result when he was hit by another rider and crashed out unhurt.
Race two started immediately after a rain-storm and on full wet tyres. Sykes moved from seventh on the grid to fifth on lap eight when the race was red-flagged due to a crash. The grid reformed shortly after and now on slicks to suit the drying 1.27-mile track, Sykes was in contention for a podium finish with six laps to go when the red flag brought the race to halt and the result declared after leader Shane Byrne crashed on his Ducati.
Starting from the rear of the grid, Watanabe managed to score a point in the difficult conditions as Honda's Leon Haslam won the race.
Rizla Suzuki is back in action for the ninth round of the British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park on Bank Holiday Monday, August 25th.
"Race one was fantastic: My Rizla Suzuki was doing just what I wanted it to and once I passed Michael Rutter for the lead I controlled the gap until the end. A couple of the back-markers upset my rhythm a little but I kept going and to score my third Superbike win is brilliant.
"Race two was more difficult with a wet first part and then damp but drying second. Fourth is OK and I'll take the points but if it had been another couple of laps long I would have been able to take the two riders in front of me and a second was on the cards, if not another win. I am frustrated a little at the result but overall it's been a good weekend. Thank you to my Rizla Suzuki team for all the effort and support."
"Race one was maybe OK result until I was hit by another rider and into the gravel. There was nothing I could do; this is disappointing as a top-10 was possible. I was winded and sore but no problem.
"The wet second race was difficult but I think I improved the rain-setting on my Rizla Suzuki. I started from back of grid after making some last-minute bike change. On the second part of the restart the weather conditions were tough but 15th place is at least one point."
Jack Valentine - Rizla Suzuki Team Manager:
"It has been a difficult race day with the weather changing by the minute. Tom did brilliant in race one and is riding very well indeed; he deserved the victory. If the second race had gone full distance then I think he may have been second or better but fourth is no disgrace. He is hungry for more wins and they will come that's for sure.
"Atsu was unlucky in race one and then had to contend with the changing weather in race two, whilst starting from the back of the grid. He did well against that backdrop and will take heart from his first race performance and go to the next round in good spirits."It's been another positive weekend for Rizla Suzuki and we are now much closer to second in the Championship with Tom than when we started - that is now our clear target for the season.
"Also, on behalf of Rizla Suzuki, I would like to dedicate the first race win to Craig Jones, a friend to many of the team and a great talent lost to British racing."
Race one result:
1: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) 25:09.2962: Shane Byrne (Ducati) +3.0933: James Ellison (Honda) +3.4794: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +5.7525: Leon Camier (Ducati) +9.3456: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) +9.4617: Karl Harris (Yamaha) +19.0518: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +36.0559: Tristan Palmer (Honda) +39.09710: Gary Mason (Honda) +40.021DNF: Atsushi Watanabe (Rizla Suzuki) 11 laps
Race two result:
1: Leon Haslam (Honda) 11:58.3002: Michael Rutter (Ducati) +3.2143: Karl Harris (Yamaha) +3.5414: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) +3.6805: James Ellison (Honda) +6.5916: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) +15.8767: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) +16.5398: Leon Camier (Ducati) +18.6089: Billy McConnell (Kawasaki) +23.42810: Chris Burns (MV Agusta) +26.43915: Atsushi Watanabe (Rizla Suzuki) +1 lap
Championship positions (after eight of 12 rounds):
1: Shane Byrne (Ducati) 3322: Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 2223: Tom Sykes (Rizla Suzuki) 2144: Leon Haslam (Honda) 1995: Leon Camier (Ducati) 1796: James Ellison (Honda) 1777: Michael Rutter (Ducati) 1748: Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 1109: Simon Andrews (Yamaha) 10810: Tristan Palmer (Honda) 7515: Atsushi Watanabe (Rizla Suzuki) 34