Podium For Dixon And Points For McConnell At Knockhill

MCE British Superbike Championship At Knockhill

The Smiths Racing Team endured reasonable fortunes at Knockhill in Scotland over the weekend with Billy McConnell claiming valuable points in the MCE British Superbike Championship and Jake Dixon salvaging an important podium in the Motorpoint Supersport Championship.

Aboard the Smiths BMW, Aussie McConnell found himself up against it all weekend as a bout of chicken pox left him severely under the weather and left his participation in doubt. However, the Adelaide rider fought bravely on race day and, after taking 18th in qualifying, he was rewarded with 12th place in the opening race for the double British Supersport Championship-winning Gloucester-based team.

Starting from 11th on the grid for race two, the 28-year-old reigning British Supersport Champion was lying in 13th place when it was stopped due to rain just after half race distance. Restarted over just 11 laps, he was lying in a similar position and on for more hard-earned points but a mistake at the hairpin saw him run off track, eventually finishing in 21st position.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s Motorpoint British Supersport ‘Sprint’ race saw Dover resident Dixon, aboard the factory-backed Triumph Daytona 675R, start from the front row of the grid and he immediately grabbed the lead. By the fifth lap he’d been pushed back down to fourth but as the race went into the closing stages he was back into the podium positions, aided by setting a new lap record. However, with just four laps to go he crashed out, fortunately without serious injury.

Starting from pole position for today’s 26-lap ‘Feature’ race, Jake slotted into second place behind Glenn Irwin in the early stages although by lap five he’d been pushed back to fourth as a safety car period allowed the front group to bunch back up. As soon as the race was back underway. the 19-year-old set another new lap record to reclaim fourth place and when Luke Stapleford made a mistake, he gratefully grabbed third, which became second at the chequered flag following an excellent final corner move which saw him get the better of Irwin.

Billy McConnell: “It’s been another tough weekend but for vastly different reasons and getting chicken pox certainly wasn’t in the script! I looked like something out of a horror movie with all the spots and getting my helmet on was extremely painful although when I was riding it wasn’t too bad. I did feel more fatigued than normal though and Knockhill’s a demanding circuit at the best of times. I gave it my all in both races and picked up a few more points so am looking forward to testing at Mallory next week and then bouncing back at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time.”

Jake Dixon: “It’s been a tough couple of rounds and although I’ve been fast and consistent this weekend, crashing out of the first race was a massive disappointment. With increased lean angle and a bit more gas, I got fired off and it wasn’t the best way to start. The second race was a lot better but, to be fair, I should have won it. I was caught napping when the pace car pulled in and although my pace was good when I got going, I’d left it too late. Second place gets me back on track so massive thanks to the team for all their hard work in repairing the bike.”

Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: “It’s been a challenging weekend in more ways than one and it was nice to see Billy get two finishes given his condition. There was no pressure from us and it was his decision to ride but it was hard going for him without doubt. A heavy crash on Friday didn’t help but he scored good points in the first race and was on track to do the same in the second until he ran on at the hairpin. Jake made a mistake in the first race which cost him a lot of points in the championship and the boys worked late into the night repairing the bike so big thanks to them. He put in a good ride today to finish second and we’re all looking forward to the next round at Brands Hatch.”

MCE British Superbike Championship Race One (30 laps)
1 Shane Byrne (Kawasaki)
2 Stuart Easton (Kawasaki)
3 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
4 Michael Laverty (BMW)
5 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
6 Danny Buchan (Kawasaki)
12 Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing BMW)

MCE British Superbike Championship Race Two (11 laps)
1 Shane Byrne (Kawasaki)
2 Stuart Easton (Kawasaki)
3 Josh Brookes (Yamaha)
4 Ryuichi Kiyonari (BMW)
5 Jason O’Halloran (Honda)
6 Michael Laverty (BMW)
21 Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing BMW)

Championship points (after five rounds)
1 Byrne 201pts
2 Brookes 166
3 Easton 139
4 Ellison 118
5 O’Halloran 96
6 Bridewell 86
15 McConnell 37

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race One (18 laps)
1 Glenn Irwin (Kawasaki)
2 Luke Stapleford (Triumph)
3 Kyle Ryde (Yamaha)
4 Sam Hornsey (Triumph)
5 James Rispoli (Yamaha)
6 Luke Hedger (Kawasaki)
DNF Jake Dixon (Smiths Racing Triumph)

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race Two (26 laps)
1 Kyle Ryde (Yamaha)
2 Jake Dixon (Smiths Racing Triumph)
3 Glenn Irwin (Kawasaki)
4 Luke Stapleford (Triumph)
5 Sam Hornsey (Triumph)
6 James Rispoli (Yamaha)

Championship points (after five rounds)
1 Irwin 172pts
2 Ryde 171
3 Stapleford 169
4 Dixon 130
5 Collier 83
6 Webb 74

The sixth round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship takes place at Brands Hatch over the weekend of 17/19 July. For more information, please visit www.britishsuperbike.com and www.smithsracing.co.uk.

Pictures attached (courtesy of Jon Jessop Photography) Jake Dixon (7) and Billy McConnell (3) in action at Knockhill this weekend.