The Smiths (Gloucester) Racing team enjoyed their best weekend to date in the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship protected by Datatag with a fantastic double victory at Thruxton this weekend.
Both Glen Richards and Billy McConnell took a race win each whilst Richards also took a third in Sunday’s second race giving the team even more reason to celebrate at their local track. Luke Mossey also finished in the top five in both races to crown a brilliant weekend for Alan Smith’s team.
2009 British Supersport Champion Richards qualified on pole position for Saturday’s sprint race and he was never out of the top two places. Second in the early stages, Glen was part of a five-rider battle for the lead, and eventually took control of the race on lap 10. Hitting the front, the Australian never looked back and pulled away to take his and the team’s first victory of the season.
Whilst he was celebrating, team-mate McConnell was cursing his bad luck as he was part of the same five-rider group and led on lap five but no sooner was he at the front then he was in the pits with a broken rectifier. Mossey, meanwhile, worked his way through the pack from a fourth row qualifying position to claim a well earned fifth place.
Sunday’s longer 18-lap feature race was better still with a scintillating six-way battle for the win with all three Smiths riders in the mix. The lead changed hands on numerous occasions but it was McConnell who prevailed, the Australian winning by a narrow margin from Irishman Jack Kennedy, to put Saturday’s disappointment firmly behind him. Fellow countryman Richards, who also led the race, was only two tenths of a second further back in third with Mossey in an excellent fourth.
Metzeler National Superstock 600cc rider Johnny Blackshaw also gave the team plenty to cheer about as he finished in fourth place despite the handicap of riding the entire race with no clutch. He narrowly missed out on a podium but it was a superb effort and has moved him up the championship table.
Glen Richards: “Getting the first win of the season has got our championship up and running and after a disappointing Brands Hatch meeting, first and third is the perfect way to bounce back. Tyres are always an issue here but everything went well in the first race and I was in the right place at the right time, taking full advantage and edging away from the pack just when I needed to. The second race was just great to be part of and really enjoyable and fair play to Billy, he rode really well. We came here to get some strong points and that’s what we did so full credit must go to the team. They’ve given me a fantastic bike and it’s a great package which is working really well.”
Billy McConnell: “I’m back to where I want to be and everyone’s been working so hard and to get the win is a tremendous feeling. We were unlucky in the first race with a broken rectifier but everything was flawless in the second race. After the ups and downs of 2011, the team have given me a great opportunity and everything I possibly need so a big thank you must go to them. We’re back on track now and I can’t wait until the next round.”
Luke Mossey: “I’m really pleased with my results this weekend and although I struggled a bit in the wet and didn’t qualify as high as I would have liked, my race pace was really good. I was able to run with the leading group in both races and we were all running a similar pace which was great fun to be part but also made it difficult to overtake. We’ve proved this weekend we have the pace to run at the front though so with some solid points on the board, I’m really looking forward to Oulton in a few weeks time.”
Johnny Blackshaw: “I’m pleased to get fourth but it’s also a bit disappointing as I burnt the clutch off the line and from that moment on it was difficult to get the drive out of the corners. The bike’s set up so well though that I could just ride the wheels off the bike and run at the front. I didn’t do anything daft and kept picking off the riders in front of me and although I felt we had the pace to win this weekend, it’s good solid points on the board. The team are doing a great job and the bike’s a missile so it’s great to be back at the sharp end and it bodes well for the rounds ahead.”
Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: “It’s simply been a great weekend for us. When my dad started the team in 2010, the goal was to firstly win a race and then the championship and we’re standing here now with two wins under our belt so that’s the first part done. With some good weather, we were confident of having two good races and apart from the technical problem with Billy’s bike in race one, it’s all gone to plan.
“The wins for Glen and Billy were superb and we’re over the moon with them but equally pleased for Luke and Johnny too. They both rode brilliantly and their confidence is high now so they can both go to the next round knowing they have nothing to fear. We’ve proved this weekend we have the pace to win races and we’re confident in everything we’re doing so the next round can’t come soon enough.”
1 Glen Richards (Smiths Gloucester Racing Triumph)
2 Sam Warren (Yamaha)
3 Ben Wilson (Kawasaki)
4 Jack Kennedy (Yamaha)
5 Luke Mossey (Smiths Gloucester Racing Triumph)
6 Christian Iddon (Triumph)
DNF Billy McConnell (Smiths Gloucester Racing Triumph)
1 Billy McConnell (Smiths Gloucester Racing Triumph)
2 Jack Kennedy (Yamaha)
3 Glen Richards (Smiths Gloucester Racing Triumph)
4 Luke Mossey (Smiths Gloucester Racing Triumph)
5 Ben Wilson (Kawasaki)
6 Luke Jones (Triumph)
1 Kennedy 55.5pts
2 Warren 55pts
3 Wilson 47
4 Richards 45
5 McConnell 40
6 Iddon 35.5
10 Mossey 24
1 Tim Hastings (Kawasaki)
2 James Rose (Yamaha)
3 Jake Dixon (Yamaha)
4 Johnny Blackshaw (Smiths Gloucester Racing Triumph)
5 Ben Burke (Yamaha)
6 Josh Wainwright (Kawasaki)
1 Dixon 41pts
2 Rose 40
3 Hastings 31
4 Wainwright 23
5 Lodge 21
6 Whitaker 18
8 Blackshaw 17
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