AFTER DRAMATIC SILVERSTONE QUALIFYING
2008 Bennetts British Superbike Championship - Rounds 21 & 22 - Silverstone, Northants
Hydrex Bike Animal Honda rider James Ellison fought against the odds to post eighth fastest time during the sun-kissed Swan Combi 50 Roll for Pole qualifying at the penultimate round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Silverstone yesterday.
Aboard the 1000cc Shaun Muir Racing Honda Fireblade, Ellison was comfortably in control as he looked forward to the three-tier qualifying procedure but a short way into the first part, the machine developed a problem with the rear spindle meaning the team had to set to work to rectify the situation.
Despite frantic efforts, the problem couldn't be solved in time so Ellison had to revert to his spare machine in the final throes whereby he dramatically squeezed into the top ten to make it into the final part of the session.
With further work involving changing the fork internals, Ellison persevered with the spare bike and ended up setting eighth fastest time to start both of tomorrow's 20-lap races from row two of the grid.
It wasn't such a successful qualifier for team mate Guy Martin who ended up crashing out in the opening part of the session.
The Lincolnshire rider was well inside the all-important top twenty and looking set to qualify for the second phase when he tipped off at the low speed Woodcote Chicane before making his way back to the garage.
As the team raced to effect the repairs, Martin hung on to twentieth position but on the very last lap he was squeezed out meaning he ended up 21st fastest to start on row six of the grid.
Metzeler Racetec National Superstock 1000 rider Kieran Clarke qualified in seventeenth position and will start tomorrow's 15-lap race from row five of the grid.
James Ellison: "It's been really frustrating. I've been struggling with the set-up all weekend and I just can't quite put my finger on it because it doesn't show on the data log. We had to change to the number two machine half way through the session which has no data logging and no traction control or anything and it just went well straight away. It's like someone's gone and ironed the track, it feels so much better and it's a lot less physical. We had five minutes to switch the forks over and we've made another step forwards. I'm confident now for the race tomorrow."
Guy Martin: "We were plugging away and I just lost the front going into the chicane. We've got telemetry on the bike now so we're getting there. But now I've got a sixth row start which means I've got my work cut out tomorrow and it will be hard."
Kieran Clarke: "We were running in tenth place and came in and made a change to the front suspension, which didn't work for me. Hopefully we will have it sorted for morning warm up, otherwise we'll go back to the setting we had. I'm a little bit disappointed with the result, but pleased with my riding and looking forward to the race tomorrow."
Shaun Muir (Team Owner): "It's a shame for Guy, he went down and got pushed back to 21st or I think he would have got a fifth row start. The rear wheel spindle seized on James' bike and we couldn't remove the rear wheel and had to switch everything over to his spare bike so the best we could have hoped for was a second row start and that's what we've got, so it sets us up for a good race tomorrow."
The first of the two 20-lap Bennetts British Superbike races gets underway at 1.15pm on Sunday with the second at 4.25pm. The Metzeler Superstock 1000 race is scheduled for 12.00pm. The British Eurosport 2 live broadcast window is 12.30pm to 6.00pm.
Superbike Qualifying1, Cal Crutchlow (Honda) 1m25.489s, 2, Leon Haslam (Honda) 1m25.790s, 3, Michael Rutter (Ducati) 1m25.952s, 4, Karl Harris (Yamaha) 1m25.976s, 5, Tom Sykes (Suzuki) 1m26.012s, 6, Shane Byrne (Ducati) 1m26.136s, 7, Leon Camier (Ducati) 1m26.175s, 8, James Ellison (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 1m26.555s, 9, Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 1m26.912s, 10, Gary Mason (Honda) 1m27.011s. 21, Guy Martin (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 1m28.530s.
Superstock 1000 Qualifying1, Jon Kirkham (Yamaha) 1m29.432s, 2, Richard Cooper (Yamaha) 1m29.548s, 3, Alastair Seeley (Yamaha) 1m29.695s, 4, Steve Brogan (Honda) 1m29.788s, 5, Peter Hickman (Yamaha) 1m29.831s, 6, Ben Wilson (Yamaha) 1m30.000s, 7, Marshall Neill (Suzuki) 1m30.197s, 8, Victor Cox (Yamaha) 1m30.344s, 9, Martin Buckles (Kawasaki) 1m30.426s, 10, Lee Jackson (Yamaha) 1m30.496s. 17, Kieran Clarke (Hydrex Bike Animal Honda) 1m30.888s.
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