Jake Dixon and the RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki team came away from the second round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch wondering what might have been with their strong pace and form unfortunately not borne out with the results they deserved.
With mixed weather conditions during free practice, Jake was down in 16th place overall albeit only half a second off the quickest time but both he and the team made good strides forward in qualifying which gave a truer reflection of their capabilities. Improving his lap time by over three tenths of a second, the 21-year old subsequently lined up in seventh on the grid for the opening race and a good start saw him immediately slot into sixth spot.
Here he remained until lap eight when he got pushed back a place to seventh but in the final third of the race, he moved back ahead of Michael Laverty to climb back up to sixth and this was where he finished to pick up ten hard earned points and his best result of the season so far. The Ashby resident started the second race from the slightly higher position of sixth and with a brilliant start he immediately moved up to third which was where he was when the race was stopped early on lap six due to rain.
Restarted over the shorter distance of 22 laps and in damp, tricky conditions, the race soon developed into a five-rider fight for the win with Jake in the midst of the action. Consistently in the top three places, Dixon looked set to claim his first podium of the season but on lap 17 he got on the throttle a little bit early exiting Graham Hill Bend and unfortunately crashed out, a cruel end to a weekend that promised so much.
Weaving was also in action on the Briggs Equipment Kawasaki ZX-10R in the two Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship races and he qualified in an excellent fifth place for Saturday’s opening 24-lap encounter. The South African made a strong start and ran in the same position in the early stages before suffering a brake issue on lap eight. It dropped him down to 11th but he battled back to claim tenth at the chequered flag.
However, this became ninth as Josh Elliott was excluded from the results due to a technical infringement thus losing his seventh place finish. Starting Sunday’s race from fifth place on the grid once more, Jordan completed the first lap in the same position but that was as good as it got as the gremlins that had plagued him the day before returned thus ending his race ended early.
Jake Dixon: “It’s been a tough and disappointing weekend and to have picked up just ten points from the two races is nowhere near what I feel it should have been. We chipped away all weekend and the bike was working really well in the dry and sixth was a solid result in the opening race and I felt really confident in race two when I was running in third. It was a shame the rain came but in the restart I felt equally comfortable in the wet and put myself right in contention for the race win. When Leon (Haslam) came by, I got squeezed a bit and tapped the power on that little bit early and I got highsided. It just hasn’t fallen for us in the first two rounds but we’ve good pace in both the wet and dry so fingers crossed our luck will turn at round three.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “It’s definitely been a frustrating weekend and one where we’ve been left to ponder what might have been. Both riders showed a lot of promise but it just didn’t go our way. Jake struggled a bit with set-up during practice and qualifying, particularly onto the start and finish, but we continually improved and had good pace in both the wet and dry which could be seen in his sixth place in race one. We were in a lot better position compared to this meeting twelve months ago and we were well on course for our first podium in the second race. Jake was putting together a strong ride but you need to bide your time when conditions are tricky and he was just that little bit eager on the throttle after Leon passed him. It caused him to crash out but we know we can run with the front boys and will do everything to get two good results next time out so we can start climbing the table.”
“Jordan was flying in qualifying and a possible podium was on the cards so it was a real shame he suffered the problem with the front brake in race one. It was more brake fade than anything else but he had to slow right down to make an adjustment before getting going again but it at least meant he was back amongst the top ten. With another good starting spot for race two, we were hopeful of some good points but it wasn’t to be so we need to get to the bottom of the brake issues he’s been having so that he can finally be rewarded with the results his pace deserves.”
The next round of the series takes place at Oulton Park, Cheshire on May 5-7.
Pictures by Tim Keeton – Impact Images Photography
Bennetts British Superbike Championship Positions (after two rounds)
1 Bradley Ray (Suzuki) 79pts
2 Shane Byrne (Ducati) 69
3 Leon Haslam (Kawasaki) 65
4 Glenn Irwin (Ducati) 48
5 Michael Laverty (BMW) 36
6 Christian Iddon (BMW) 33
13 Jake Dixon (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki) 19
Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship Positions (after two rounds)
1 Billy McConnell (Suzuki) 82pts
2 Andrew Reid (Aprilia) 66
3 Keith Farmer (BMW) 57
4 Joe Collier (Apriilia) 55
5 Chrissy Rouse (BMW) 52
6 Josh Elliott (Kawasaki) 37
16 Jordan Weaving (Briggs Equipment Kawasaki) 7