Last weekend proved to be a dream for the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team as rider Jake Dixon took an emphatic double victory at Knockhill in Scotland, his first in the class and the team’s first since Cadwell Park in August 2014.
The meeting marked the one year anniversary of Dixon making his debut in the Superbike class and despite a heavy spill on Friday, when he was one of three riders to crash on oil, the 21-year old was in sparkling form on Saturday and converted his pace into a superb second place in qualifying and a maiden front row position for Sunday’s opening race.
With a superb start, the Ashby resident grabbed the lead from pole position man Luke Mossey going into the first corner and from that moment on, he rode an imperious race. Controlling proceedings from the front, Dixon was never headed and was never seriously under pressure as he dominated the race to eventually take his first ever victory in the class by almost four seconds from Mossey.
Starting the second race from second place once more, Jake grabbed the lead off the line again only this time he was under a lot more pressure with Mossey pushing him back to second on lap eight. Two laps later this had become fourth but it remained close at the front and Jake remained in contention. Indeed, as the race entered its final third, he started to move forward again and with just three laps to go, he was back in the lead as he swept to his second brilliant race win.
Team-mate Jordan Weaving was also in action on the Briggs Equipment Kawasaki ZX-10R where he qualified in 19th for the first of the two races with a lap of 50.420s. However, he continually moved forward during the 18-lap race and with some good overtaking manoeuvres he took a solid 12th place at the chequered flag.
Some strong lap times meant he started Sunday’s second encounter from the much better position of 11th and the fourth row. A slightly sluggish start though saw him drop out of the top fifteen and it took him until lap fifteen until he was back inside the points. Once there, he kept moving forward and was holding onto 12th with just four laps to go when he unfortunately crashed out uninjured at the hairpin.
Jake Dixon: “I’ve never had a podium in the Superbike class before this weekend so to leave with two race wins has left me a bit speechless to be honest, I can’t believe it! Qualifying well is one thing but to do it in a race is a totally different ball game even if I did feel confident that I had the pace. It was hard leading from the front in the first race but the gap kept going up and it was almost like I was floating out there so I just tried to keep as focused and as calm as possible. I had a bit of a slide at the hairpin towards the end so backed it off a bit and brought the bike home for a dream win.”
“We didn’t change a single thing on the bike for race two and I knew what pace I had so when I could see some of the riders sliding around, I knew I was in a good position as my bike was on rails and not using nowhere near the same amount of rubber. I let the race come to me and made my moves in the last third of the race but having taken the double, it’s hard to describe how I’m feeling right now. It’ll take a while to sink in but a massive thank you to the whole team and the sponsors and to all my family.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “What a day! It was great when Peter (Hickman) won for us in 2014 but to do the double in such a way is simply superb and I’m simply over the moon. Jake had shown his pace in practice and qualifying but we had a chat before the first race and whilst we knew it would be hard, we also felt that if Jake rode his own race and did his own thing, he wouldn’t be far away. He made a superb start and was lapping really consistently so although the gap was increasing all the time, it was happening because he felt so comfortable.”
“It was a win that belied his 21 years of age so to then go out and do it again in race two was simply superb. The race panned out in a slightly different manner but he again made a fantastic start and didn’t panic when the other riders came by him. He dropped back to fourth and the bike didn’t quite look as settled as what it had done earlier in the day for some reason but, again, he rode his own race and let it come to him. He was strong at the end when it mattered and had preserved his tyres well so with a double victory it really has been a dream weekend.”
The next round takes place in two weeks time at the team’s local circuit, Snetterton, on June 30-July 2.