It was fifth place all round for Hydrex Honda at Silverstone on Sunday when all three members of the team finished inside the top five in their respective races. Stuart Easton again led the way with a brace of fourths in the two Superbike races although new recruit Tommy Hill wasn’t too far behind with a pair of fifths and the results meant that for the first time ever, the team had both their riders finish in the top five in both BSB races. Meanwhile, Tom Grant added to the solid haul of results with an excellent fifth in the British Supersport 600cc Championship race.
Having taken his first win of the year at the previous round, Easton was hoping for more of the same to continue to eat into James Ellison’s advantage in the race for second overall but a problem with the front tyre in the first race meant he was unable to challenge and had to settle for fourth. The team made a number of adjustments for the second race and they certainly helped as Stuart was able to run a lot closer to the front despite coming under extreme pressure throughout the race.
In the final third of the race, new Champion Leon Camier found his way through although third place and another podium looked on the cards for Stuart, It wasn’t to be though as fellow Honda rider Josh Brookes made a determined move on the last corner on the last lap and it was enough to push Stuart back for his second fourth place of the day, the first time since Mallory Park in July that he hadn’t finished on the podium in at least one of the races.
If Easton was disappointed with his results, Tommy Hill made significant progress in just his second outing with the team and was justifiably rewarded with two fifth place finishes, just behind his new team-mate in each race. Still learning both the machine and his new team, Hill overcame a number of set-up issues in practice and qualifying to put in two fine riders. Continuing to work hard in a bid to edge closer to the front, the Surrey rider did just that and is sure to be challenging even stronger at the final round in two weeks time.
Meanwhile, the team’s British Supersport 600cc Championship rider Tom Grant took his first top six finish since joining the squad in August. A solid qualifying performance saw the Shiptonthorpe rider line up in eighth place and on the second row of the grid but he made considerable advances forward in the 18-lap race, overtaking a number of riders, and he was rewarded with an excellent fifth place.
Speaking afterwards, it was a frustrated team manager Shaun Muir said: “It’s a measure of how far we’ve come as a team this season that I’m slightly disappointed and frustrated with the results today. For whatever reason, Stuart just didn’t have the pace to challenge this weekend and whilst he could do flat 1’26s all the time he couldn’t dip below them, which was what he needed to do to push the Airwaves riders. After the highs of Croft it would have been nice to have kept at that level, or at least take some more podiums, but he got mugged on the last lap of the last race by Brookes so I’m sure he’s been kicking himself ever since it happened. I can’t be too hard though after his performances all year long and the triple header at Oulton will give him plenty of opportunities to put that right.”
“Tommy worked really hard all weekend and I can’t express enough how happy we all are with him. He was chasing a good setting all weekend and never did quite get the bike how he wanted so to come away with two fifth’s is a fine effort. He’s doing an excellent job for us and proving what a quality racer he is. If he’d had the same amount of track time as what the rest of the field have had, he’d be a definite podium contender and it would be nice if he could get on the box at Oulton. He’s doing everything we expected of him and he’s certainly putting himself in the shop window for 2010.”
“Tom Grant rode really well all weekend in the Supersport class and after what happened at Croft, he pulled himself together and did a very professional job for us this weekend. He qualified well and then made no mistakes at all in what was a hard fought race so fifth place was just rewards for all the effort he put in. I’m really pleased with his performance here at Silverstone and we’ll all be looking for more of the same from him at the final round at Oulton.”
The final round of the 2009 British Superbike Championship is another triple header and takes place at Oulton Park, Cheshire on October 9-11.