Chance and happenstance have again conspired against the Worx Crescent Suzuki team this weekend, as the team leave Mallory Park with a scorecard that reads DNF-8, despite excellent practice and qualifying performances that saw the team either fastest or second fastest.
The fuller picture is a positive one, though, as new rider Tommy Hill was able to demonstrate exactly how potent the GSX-R1000 K9 is. Fastest in warm up, Hill rode top-three in the first race and was up to second, ready to challenge for the lead when, together with six other riders, he was skittled by an out of control Josh Brookes. The race was red flagged and in accordance with race rules the result was called as at a lap previous, minus those riders who were deemed 'not racing' at the red flag. Hill, and the other victims of the accident were therefore non-finishers.
The second race was run in wet conditions before also being red flagged, this time due to standing water on the track. With less than two-thirds race distance run the finishers were awarded half points. Hill was riding in eighth position at the time of the red flag.
Tommy Hill: This weekend has been fantastic. From the word go we've been right at the front. And yet even when we've been topping the lap charts the team have been trying to improve things. It's a fantastic experience to be with a team that's like this.
I'm devastated about the race one result. I feel we've been robbed. We've put so much effort in all weekend only for things to turn around like they did and the result to be taken away from us through no fault of mine, or the team, or any other rider out there except one it's a lot to accept.
That second race, it wasn't the worst result, it wasn't the best. Really, we needed a full session to get a set-up because with the bike being so new we simply don't yet have the data. Even during that race we learnt so much and we had revised settings ready to go for the restart, but it didn't happen.
Jack Valentine, team manager: Tommy has really impressed us this weekend. He's been so rapid yet ridden with remarkable maturity, especially for a young lad on a bike new to him.
In that first race he got a good start from the front row and he hung in there despite the conditions being touch and go. He'd closed up on Simon Andrews for the lead and knew where he could make a pass. Only, of course, Mr Brookes came into play again, making a massive error that wiped out the race. Naturally we are extremely disappointed. Tommy had a good chance of winning that race and at the very least he was comfortable for a podium finish.
In the second race, with no experience on the bike in the wet, in fact riding his first wet race since 2007, he was again so impressive, using his head, riding within the limits of the bike's settings and improving his lap times all the way to the end.
"Tommy has been dazzling, a real revelation. This weekend has certainly put the smiles back on the faces of the Worx Crescent Suzuki team. Now we can't wait to get to Brands Hatch and fight again for the podium finishes we deserve.
ViSK British Superbike Championship in association with Pirelli
Round Seven, Mallory Park,
Race one result:
1. James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha)
2. Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha) +4.345s
3. Graeme Gowland (Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha) +7.401s
4. Michael Rutter (SMT Honda) +9.701s
5. Julien Da Costa (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +12.870s
6. Gary Mason (Quay Garage Honda) +13.405s
7. Steve Brogan (HM Plant Honda) +15.617s
8. Ian Lowry (Relentless Suzuki by TAS) +17.531s
9. David Johnson (Team Maxxis Yamaha) +18.568s
10. Tristan Palmer (Buildbase Kawasaki) +20.443s
Race two result:
1. Leon Camier (Airwaves Yamaha) Lap 15
2. James Ellison (Airwaves Yamaha) +2.032s
3. Chris Walker (Motorpoint/Henderson Yamaha) +3.738s
4. John Laverty (Buildbase Kawasaki) +4.385s
5. Richard Cooper (Team Co-Ordit Yamaha) +5.134s
6. Michael Rutter (SMT Honda) +6.604s
7. Karl Harris (Hydrex Honda) +8.580s
8. Tommy Hill (Worx Crescent Suzuki) +18.674s
9. Steve Brogan (HM Plant Honda) +27.661s
10. Julien Da Costa (MSS Colchester Kawasaki) +27.904s