Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray and Luke Stapleford grabbed a brace of point-scoring finishes apiece at Thruxton for round seven of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, while Richard Cooper left the Hampshire circuit still leading the National Superstock 1000 series.
Ray, on his GSX-R1000R superbike, finished 12th at the end of a tight race one, but with a best lap time comparable with the rest of the field in front of him, showing both the improvements made but also the strength of a competitive BSB field. Race two was red-flagged first for rain, before being stopped again following a crash for Glenn Irwin and track contamination. A frantic, eight-lap dash saw intense action throughout the field, and Ray took the flag in 13th.
Stapleford, who had suffered a DNF at each of the previous two rounds, was going into the weekend with the clear aim of coming away with two solid results. He finished 14th in race one, improving to 12th in race two after pushing on to try and break the top-10.
In the National Superstock 1000 Championship race Richard Cooper led for the bulk of the laps but suffered from a drop in grip in the final laps, which cost him positions and saw him cross the line in fourth place. It was the first time the Buildbase Suzuki rider had finished off the podium this season.
Bradley Ray, “We were hoping for a solid weekend here, just to steady things up a bit after a tough start to the year. The results aren’t going to set the world alight but the lap times were better, and at a track where there are some big, high entry speed corners which is an area we have struggled with with the bike and the front end. We’d have liked to have been a few more spots further up, but it feels like a solid weekend.”
Luke Stapleford, “It was close out there, certainly in the shortened race two. I was pushing on to try and get up to the top-10 but we had the two red flags and I lost ground on each restart, and with eight laps in the end it was hard to recover. But we found about three quarters of a second in lap time from race one to two, and our times were similar to the guys in front, so we can take some positives away for sure.”
Richard Cooper, “I felt comfortable at the front and like I was controlling the pace, but when I was passed I just didn’t have an answer. I felt like the tyre dropped in the final few laps and the bike was wheel-spinning a bit more but that’s not really an excuse. It’s the first time we’ve finished off the podium this year, so to be honest we’re going home disappointed, and will be going to Cadwell with added motivation to get back to winning ways.”
Superbike race one result: 1. Andrew Irwin, 2. Scott Redding, 3. Josh Brookes, 12. Bradley Ray, 14. Luke Stapleford
Superbike race two result: 1. Josh Brookes, 2. Andrew Irwin, 3. Peter Hickman, 12. Luke Stapleford, 13. Bradley Ray
Superstock race result: 1. Taylor Mackenzie, 2. Lee Jackson, 3. Billy McConnell, 4. Richard Cooper