The Smiths Triumph Racing Team enjoyed another strong weekend at the fourth round of the 2014 Motorpoint British Supersport Championship at Knockhill with Graeme Gowland and Billy McConnell taking three out of a possible four podiums from the two races.
Northumberland rider Gowland added to his recent Snetterton double when he won Saturday's Sprint race whilst a brace of second places allowed McConnell to extend his championship lead to a healthy 41 points for the Gloucester-based team.After their second successive one-two in qualifying aboard the factory-backed Triumph 675R machines, it was Gowland who lined up in pole position to take his first pole of the year, for Saturday's 18-lap race. From there, the Allendale near Hexham rider made a blistering start, before consistently extending his lead over the next few laps. With a lead of 2.5 seconds, the race was red-flagged at two thirds distance due to a rain shower meaning Graeme took the win ahead of Billy allowing the 2012 British Supersport champions to record their fifth successive one-two race finish.Today's 26-lap Feature race saw mixed fortunes for the team as pole sitter Gowland only got as far as the second corner before crashing out, fortunately without injury. That left Australian McConnell, from Adelaide, to fly the flag and although he got boxed in at the start and slipped back to fifth, he regrouped and as the race wore on he moved forward, eventually taking over second place with just three laps to go.Image removed by sender.Billy McConnell: "I think Graeme called upon all his motocross experience in race one as he got a good gate and was gone. To begin with, I was able to close in a bit but with the rain coming on, I thought about the fact I was leading the championship and opted to play it safe and settle for second. The rain got progressively worse so it was the right call to end the race and it was another perfect one-two for the team, our fifth in a row. In today's race, I saw Graeme go down early on and it was unfortunate for him but I got stuck in and fought my way up to second so it's been a good weekend for me with a good haul of points so a big thanks to everyone at the Smiths Triumph team."Graeme Gowland: "I just got my head down from the start on Saturday, the same as what I did at Snetterton, and I wanted to lead from the front and run my own race. I've found a really good setting with the bike and can run quick, consistent laps but it was difficult with the rain as it was hard to know how hard to push and how slippery it was. I made a mistake into turn one in today's race and I lost the front end. I saved it but then it went again and I was in the gravel. It's a shame as that's three DNFs now this season but I can't be too downhearted as I've been on a good run and I'm so happy as the team are doing a great job which is allowing me to ride fast. I'll re-group and look to put together another run of wins and claw back the gap again." John Trigger, Crew Chief: "Graeme had a great ride on Saturday and took a deserved win so it's a shame he crashed out early on Sunday as he'd been faultless all weekend up until that point. Thankfully, he was completely uninjured but after clawing back points since his first round DNF, he's now got to do it again. Billy's had a strong weekend with a brace of seconds and with it being a mixed bag for some of our championship rivals, he's been able to extend his lead significantly so we're all leaving Knockhill in an upbeat frame of mind. We're really looking forward to the next round at Brands Hatch as we've got a great package that works really well around the GP circuit and with both riders riding so well, we can't wait to get there and hopefully grab more wins and podiums."
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race One (12 laps)1 Graeme Gowland (Smiths Triumph)2 Billy McConnell (Smiths Triumph)3 Luke Stapleford (Triumph)4 Luke Jones (Triumph)5 Jake Dixon (Yamaha)6 Alastair Seeley (Yamaha)
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race Two (26 laps)1 Luke Mossey (Triumph)2 Billy McConnell (Smiths Triumph)3 Luke Stapleford (Triumph)4 Jake Dixon (Yamaha)5 Alastair Seeley (Yamaha)6 Glenn Irwin (Kawasaki)DNF Graeme Gowland (Smiths Triumph)
Championship standings (after four rounds)1 McConnell 152pts2 Gowland 1113 Stapleford 102= Seeley 1025 Irwin 1006 Jones 87
The next round of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship takes place at Brands Hatch over the weekend of July 18/20th