Paul Bird’s VisionTrack Ducati team were back in Bennetts British Superbike Championship race action this afternoon with the scenic Cadwell Park the venue for round six of the series whereby both Christian Iddon and Josh Brookes once again scored solid points.
Both riders enjoyed a productive first day at the Lincolnshire venue which enabled them to progress direct to the second BSB Superpicks Qualifying session earlier today, Brookes, in particular, having a welcome return to form on the factory-supported VisionTrack Ducati Panigale V4 RR.
The dry conditions of yesterday were replaced by damp weather initially this morning, but it had dried in time for qualifying although neither rider was able to replicate their form in a session interrupted by a red flag due to a crash involving Friday’s pace setter Ryan Vickers.
As a result, Christian and Josh lined up in ninth and 13th on the grid respectively for the afternoon’s 14-lap BikeSocial sprint which gave them plenty of work to do around the tight and twisty 2.20-mile circuit.
The race got underway in dry conditions but early on, overtaking was hard for both riders but they both continually advanced forward during the race, Tyneside-based Iddon, in particular, making a good charge forward. He latched onto the back of a five-rider battle for the final podium position and although he couldn’t make it into the top three, he nevertheless took a strong fifth place.
Reigning champion Brookes, meanwhile, also climbed the leaderboard as the race progressed and the Australian ace gained three places from his grid position to take an eventual tenth.
Christian Iddon: “I’m quite content with today’s result and after qualifying about where our pace suggested we should be, I had a much better race. I didn’t make the greatest of starts so it was hard work, but we made good strides forward and with about three to four laps to go, I thought we may be able to make it onto the podium. It wasn’t to be sadly, but it was a hard fought fifth place and if we can improve the performance in a couple of sectors, we’ll be in a better position tomorrow. Being on the front row for the first race is definitely a much better starting point and we’ll be giving it 100% once more.”
Josh Brookes: “It’s been a similar meeting so far as per previous rounds sadly and that’s just where we are at themoment. I obviously gave it 100% again and gave the race my best efforts and with a couple of riders coming off and by overtaking a couple of riders, I got myself up to tenth. It’s frustrating and I can use all the words you can imagine to describe finishing tenth as it’s not at all pleasing but we are where are. The mixed conditions and rain look like they’re going to give me my best chance of a podium this season as that’s when I’m competitive so let’s see what tomorrow brings.”
Johnny Mowatt, Team Co-ordinator: “Conditions in FP3 this morning hampered Christian as he wasn’t able to try the changes we’d made to the bike and had to go into qualifying on an un-tried bike, so it wasn’t easy. P9 on the grid didn’t help as it’s pretty much follow my leader around Cadwell but he came through well for fifth and P3 for tomorrow’s first race is a big plus. We’re missing two or three tenths to the leaders, but we’ll make some more changes for tomorrow to try and help him in the areas where he’s losing out. As Josh said, it’s been a similar story to previous rounds and although he was quick out of the blocks on Friday, he’s stayed at a similar pace whilst others have got quicker. Grip’s still causing him issues, but he was a bit higher than recent races which is a plus and we’ll look to see what we can do to make the bike better for him. The weather could well be a factor tomorrow as the forecast isn’t the most promising but let’s see.”
Bennetts British Superbike Championship race one (14 laps)
1 Peter Hickman (BMW)
2 Jason O’Halloran (Yamaha)
3 Tommy Bridewell (Ducati)
4 Glenn Irwin (Honda)
5 Christian Iddon (VisionTrack Ducati)
6 Lee Jackson (Kawasaki)
10 Josh Brookes (VisionTrack Ducati)
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings
1 O’Halloran 297pts
2 Mackenzie 223
3 Iddon 214
4 Bridewell 173
5 Buchan 165
6 Hickman 155
12 Brookes 83
Images courtesy of Double Red: Josh Brookes (1) and Christian Iddon (21)