It was a disappointing weekend for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team, with two separate incidents in the opening race seeing James Ellison and Peter Hickman taken out of contention, whilst Leon Haslam suffered with a lack of grip on his way to fifth. In the second race, Haslam secured fourth whilst further bad luck struck Ellison who retired. Hickman, who finished eighth, crashed on oil after the red flag had been deployed.
Having enjoyed a two day test at the Norfolk circuit recently, the JG Speedfit Kawasaki trio immediately hit the ground running during the practice sessions, as they worked through a number of settings. Going into qualifying, Peter Hickman was fourth on combined times, James Ellison tenth and Leon Haslam 11th.
With all three riders easing through the first qualifying session, James narrowly missed out on progressing through to Superpole, securing tenth for the first race. Taking on their first Superpole of the season, Leon secured second whilst Peter took fifth
Anticipation was high for the opening race, however disaster immediately struck the JG Speedfit team as despite taking a great start James was unluckily involved in an incident at turn two and was taken out of contention. Further bad luck struck on lap four when Pete was also involved in an incident through no fault of his own, crashing out of fifth place. As the sole rider remaining, early race leader Leon struggled with rear grip and slipped back to fifth at the flag.
Eager to make amends in the second outing, Leon enjoyed a strong start to be running in the leading pack. Slipping back to fourth, a red flag brought the race to a premature end meaning he was unable to attack for a podium position. Running in eighth place at the time the red flag was deployed, Peter then crashed unhurt on oil whilst James was forced to retire from 14th.
Disappointed not to make the podium Leon Haslam (5th and 4th) said “It’s been a pretty tough weekend if I’m honest. We’ve had a few problems that we just couldn’t seem to get on top of. In that opening race we opted for the softer tyre but I just didn’t have the grip to keep running with the front guys. Although we hadn’t tried it, we changed to the harder option for race two which stayed consistent and I was actually surprised by the pace we had, but because we hadn’t tried it before our settings were just a little out so I couldn’t quite run with Shakey and Dan. I felt I had the pace to make the podium though and was lining up an attack but unfortunately the red flag stopped that.
It’s not been our best weekend, but we got points on the board and can look towards Thruxton where our goal will be to keep racking up the podium points.”
Having had two crashes through no fault of his own, Peter Hickman (DNF and 8th) said “Today’s not been the best! The weekend was shaping up really well and we were consistently running top five pace and I honestly think we could have been challenging for the podium. Unfortunately, in that opening race Glenn had a problem right in front of me and down we went. In that second outing, our setting just wasn’t right and I couldn’t quite manage the same pace but it’s still good to get some points on the board – particularly as just as the flag came out, I hit the oil and crashed!
Thruxton is one of my favourite circuits though, and the bike is working great so I’m looking forward to getting there and making amends.”
A weekend to forget, James Ellison (DNF and DNF) added “This weekend hasn’t gone to plan. We had a few problems Friday but coming into that first race I was really happy with the package the team had given me and I felt we could be running at the front. Unfortunately we were taken out and couldn’t show what we could do. The team again rebuilt the bike and it was great, but we just had a bit of a problem with the clutch and couldn’t ride competitively.
It’s absolutely gutting, but we’ll move on and refocus – we’ve slipped out of the Showdown position but we’re not far off so I will be looking to get back in at Thruxton.”