The Smiths Triumph Racing Team experienced another strong weekend at round four of the British Supersport Championship at Snetterton with Aussie Glen Richards claiming second and third in the two races and fellow Australian Billy McConnell scoring second in Sunday's second race. Third team member Luke Mossey was also in contention in both races and was unlucky to leave with just a solitary fourth place finish to his name.
Riding the Smiths (Gloucester)-prepared Daytona 675s, the trio had a good start to the weekend with all three qualifying inside the top seven, Richards taking pole position and it was him that grabbed the lead off the line in Saturday's 'Sprint' race with Ben Wilson, Jack Kennedy and McConnell close behind. Glen was managing to keep his rivals at bay but Kennedy hit the front on lap four only for Richards to immediately fight back. Positions continued to change hands but it was Kennedy who ultimately prevailed over Glen with Wilson taking third and a charging Mossey fourth. McConnell completed the top five.
The second, longer race on Sunday started at a frenetic pace with just two seconds separating a staggering ten riders. Richards was leading from Kennedy and Mossey as McConnell found himself at the back of the pack but a crash involving Ben Wilson and Luke Jones on lap five was enough to bring the safety car out. Racing resumed on lap eight with seven riders still fighting it out for the victory but it was Richards who led for the majority of the race despite coming under extreme pressure from championship leader Kennedy. Going into the final lap it was still anyone's race but despite a hectic final lap that saw positions changing all the time, it looked like it would be a 1-2 for the team with McConnell leading Richards out of the last corner. Kennedy had different ideas though and drove past the pair to take his second win of the weekend.
There was also disappointment for Royston rider Mossey as he slipped off on the penultimate lap when he was lying in sixth place.
Metzeler National Superstock 600cc Championship rider Johnny Blackshaw also enjoyed a good weekend with the Warrington rider involved in a four-rider dice that lasted the entire 12-lap race. Positions changed with frequent regularity but, at the chequered flag, he had to settle for sixth place with the ten points gained moving him up to tenth overall in the race for the championship.
Billy McConnell: "A bit of a mixed weekend, really. I made a mistake in qualifying and didn't have time to go out on a soft tyre near the end and then in the first race we had a problem with the amplifier on the sighting lap so got a little preoccupied with fixing that and raced on an SC1 when we should have gone for the SC0. Today's race was awesome though. I was a little frustrated with some of Sam Warren's moves and he pushed me about but I got away from him and got with the boys at the front so it's all good. Happy with the weekend, though a win would have made it a bit better."
Glen Richards: "I tried to keep out of trouble and I knew I was never going to get away so I didn't get too worried about it I just prepared myself for the last lap. I got past Billy on the second to last corner and he got back and we both went wide and Jack was on the right line so he was lucky and picked up the pieces. That's the way it goes sometimes and that's racing. I'm happy enough, I just needed to beat Jack in that race for the championship, now he's some 30-odd points ahead and it's hard to get those back."
Johnny Blackshaw: "I had a good race and good points from a tough weekend. We'd not been on the pace all weekend so it was good to be able to get down to decent times in the race. The front end felt absolutely mint and I had a few issues with the rear but then I'd put that down to the high track temperature. I've had a couple of big crashes that have dented my confidence so it's good to get a decent race result under my belt and start building some momentum."
Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: "It's generally been a good weekend for the team as a whole. Johnny was struggling a little bit all weekend and we eventually found the problem last night and the team managed to rectify that problem going into today's race. Unfortunately he had to start from 10th on the grid but he fought very hard to get up to sixth and hopefully regained some confidence after two big crashes that definitely knocked him back.
"We're delighted with how the Supersport class is going and I don't just mean for our team but for the whole series, it's great to be part of such a world-class show. We're gutted for Luke but they're all riding at the limit and these things happen. Three more podiums for Billy and Glen between them, and we're still looking strong for the championship. Hopefully at Knockhill we can get on that top step."