Hydrex Honda enjoyed a strong weekend at Brands Hatch with some fine results in the first ever ‘triple-header’ British Superbike Championship meeting. Stuart Easton led the way with a brace of thirds whilst Karl Harris fought illness to score some valuable points and ensure the team left the Kent venue with third and fourth positions in the Championship table.
The duo were strong throughout the slightly shorter practice sessions and in qualifying Harris took fourth for a front row position and it was only a mechanical problem in the final part of qualifying that stopped Easton joining him. He had to settle for tenth and a third row start.
In the first race, the first ever BSB race to be held on a Saturday, Easton made a brilliant start to move up to 6th and by lap 5 he’d moved up to third. There was little to choose between the leading 3 riders of Leon Camier, Broc Parkes and Easton but as the race wore on the championship leader and World Superbike rider edged away and Stuart settled for a strong third. Teammate Harris suffered the opposite kind of start and dropped back outside of the top ten but he fought hard and was rewarded with eighth at the chequered flag.
Sunday’s opening race saw another brilliant start from Easton and he was already up to third at the end of the first lap whilst Harris made a clean getaway this time and slotted in behind him. The riders maintained station right up until the 17th of 20 laps when Tommy Hill found a way past Karl at Hawthorn Bend. Stuart was comfortable in third for the second successive race and clawed more points back on Championship runner up James Ellison who relegated Karl to sixth two laps from the end.
In the final race, Camier and Parkes again set a ferocious pace and Stuart found himself battling with Ellison for much of the race until the Yamaha rider pulled away in the closing stages. Easton had to settle for fourth on this occasion although the three results meant he took 8 points off Ellison in the race for second in the Championship. Meanwhile, Harris, who had been suffering from a viral infection all weekend, saw his energy reserves completely eaten up and he slipped back from an initial seventh to 14th at the chequered flag.
Talking later, team boss Shaun Muir said: “With two 3rd’s and a 4th, I’ve got to be happy with Stuart’s results – Leon and Broc were clearly quicker than anyone else this weekend so to finish behind them is no disgrace and I think he proved he was the best of the rest. He’s struggling slightly with grip off the corners and we made a slight chassis change for the third race to try and give us that last little bit, which, sadly, didn’t quite work as he would have liked and with James getting quicker all weekend, fourth was the end result. Nevertheless, Stuart took 8 points off James over the three races so we’re still fighting hard for second place overall.”
“For Karl, there was a lot of hard work for little reward. He’d been pretty ill all weekend yet dug deep and we saw a bit of the old Karl in qualifying when he took fourth for a front row start. In the races though, the viral infection he’s been suffering with really hurt him and he just ran out of strength and energy in each race. He hung in there as best he could but the strong heat here this weekend didn’t help his cause and he slipped back. However, he took three points-scoring finishes and those results have allowed us to take 3rd and 4th overall in the Championship, which is very pleasing.”
“It’s been the first BSB weekend with three races and I think it’s been a very successful weekend. It’s been challenging for the team but they worked hard throughout and we’ll take the results forward with us to Cadwell and hope to maintain the momentum.”
The next round of the British Superbike Championship takes place at Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire with the meeting taking place on the weekend of August 29-31.