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Tough Oulton for

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The team had a tough third round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park.  

Hinckley-based Australian David Johnson had an engine problem during first free practice, a second engine was sourced and fitted overnight leaving Johnson to run it in during final free practice. He then went out and qualified in a healthy sixth position aboard his GSX-R1000 Suzuki in the BSB-EVO class.

Team-mate Michael Howarth had a slightly less eventful run up to qualifying but chatter problems still made life difficult for the former professional rugby player. He placed his Suzuki in 11th position on the Evo grid for race one.

Race one took place in dry conditions and the riders finished with Johnson seventh and Howarth in ninth. Just ahead of the second race the heavens opened and the BSB riders had to hit the track for a seven minute wet practice session. Once that was out of the way the second race took place in wet conditions. Some fast changes had to be made to the bikes for the rain-coated track.  Johnson battled to eighth and Howarth raced to tenth.

Johnson said: “In race one I did the best I could considering the engine was standard and I only run it in yesterday morning. I tried to stay consistent and I had good grip throughout. In race two the change of conditions got everyone, we opted for a soft wet tyre and it lost all feeling after about five laps. Then at half race distance my gearlever snapped leaving me stuck in third gear. I was still passing people but it was very frustrating. I’m just going to look ahead to Cadwell Park now.”

Howarth said: “It’s good to get some points. I was as fast on the first lap as I was in qualifying so a satisfying race one. For race two we made some changes but we went the wrong way with them plus it was a wet race so I didn’t get the result I had hoped for. It’s just typical of the British weather.”

Dan Brill riding a GSX-R1000 in the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship made some headway this weekend. He had a tough qualifying which meant he had to take part in the shoot-out race to enter for the main race. However the extra track time was useful and the race, in which he finished third, was a learning exercise. He started from 33rd on the grid and raced to 26th.

Brill said: “I didn’t really want to be in the shoot-out race again but it actually did me a favour as I found out a few more things about the bike, so the extra track time was useful. We made some changes ahead of the main race but I think we went a little too far with them as I struggled with grip. That said I made up quite a few places. I’m looking forward to getting to Cadwell in three weeks as I’ve had race wins there in the past.”

Nikki Coates, who is contesting the Metzeler National Superstock 600 championship aboard a Yamaha YZF-R6, qualified in an uncharacteristic 19th place. He wasn’t getting enough drive out of the fast turns at Oulton Park and that is where he was losing ground. He was sure with a good start he could make up for it in the race.

Unfortunately the race was short lived as Nikki was hit by another rider causing both to crash out on lap one, bringing out the red flags. Nikki hasn’t broken anything but is very sore from the crash. Due to time restrictions the race didn’t go ahead.

Dave Tyson, Race Director, said: “It has been one of those weekends where we have just been up against it from the start. All the riders worked really hard, as did the team, and I take my hat off to them. However it just seems like the gremlins were out to get us. I’m glad Nikki is largely ok and will be back to full fitness by Cadwell Park in three weeks time. I’d like to thank DP Generators, AutoValet Supplies and Simon at Power Tech Exhausts Fleetwood for their assistance this weekend.”

The team will be back in action at round four of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park on the 21st - 23rd May.

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