Having placed 8th and 10th respectively in qualifying on Saturday, both Karl Harris and Stuart Easton were confident that they had the race pace to run at the front of the pack and that’s exactly what happened in the first 30-lap race. The duo were occupying fourth and fifth just after one thirds race distance but Easton’s strong run of results came to an end when, on an unlucky 13th lap, a technical problem forced him to retire.
That left Harris to fly the flag and that’s just what he did as he closed in on the leading four riders. He was right with them on the 23rd lap and looking good for a podium when fourth placed Josh Brookes crashed out at the hairpin taking out race leader Simon Andrews in the process and in the ensuing melee five more riders, including Harris, crashed on the debris. The race was red flagged and the race result taken from the previous lap but with the rules stating that a rider must still be running in the race at the time of the red flag, Karl wasn’t classified in the results.
In the second race later in the day, the riders were met with a wet track but Stuart’s race was over before it had really begun when the hard compound rear tyre he had chosen proved to be unsuitable for the worsening conditions. Karl was again running inside the top six though until his visor started leaking and with his vision impaired he had to ease off dropping back to 7th. However, the rain got heavier as the race wore on and it was eventually stopped after 15 laps had been completed due to flooding on the track so he held on to seventh place with half points being awarded.
Talking on Sunday evening, team boss Shaun Muir said: “It’s been a bad day at the office for us here at Mallory and it’s been disappointing, to say the least - things just haven’t gone our way today. The meeting’s been pretty much a write-off for Stuart and with the Airwaves team finishing first and second in both races, he’s lost ground on second place in the Championship.”
“I felt for Karl today and a 7th and a DNF certainly isn’t a fair reflection on how well he rode. In the first race he was looking strong in fifth and, with 8 laps to go, the rear tyre was coming in and he’d closed right in on the front four riders. He felt comfortable and really needed a podium but the crash was completely out of his control and rules are rules. They can’t be changed just for one race so we had to accept the decision. In the second race his visor was leaking really badly and could barely see where he was going so 7th was the best he could do in difficult conditions.”
“On the plus side, both of the riders are injury free, when it could quite easily have been a different story given what happened in the races and they’ve retained their positions in the Championship table. Yes, we’re disappointed today but we’ll knuckle down between now and Brands and bounce back as strong as we possibly can.”
Round 8 of the British Superbike Championship takes place at Brands Hatch on the weekend of August 7-9 with three races being held at the Kent venue.