7 May 2013 Oulton marks another stunning Kawasaki weekend

With strong Ninja representation in all the major classes of the BSB race card, Kawasaki riders hoped to show well at the famous Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire on a sunny May bank holiday Monday.
Always a popular meeting, the crowds were queuing for over five miles on the way into the circuit according to a pre-race Tweet by PR Kawasaki rider, Karl Harris, and what a day’s racing they enjoyed!

With Kawasaki riders taking wins in Superbike, Supersport and Superstock 1000 races it was certainly a Green Day in Cheshire. For Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki rider Shane “Shakey” Byrne the highs and lows of the undulating 2.69 mile circuit took their toll in race one.

After a strong qualifying where the Kent born rider was consistently in the top three of the time sheets, a spill at the chicane meant he had to give best to on-form Alex Lowes and regroup for race two. In fact for the opener, the only Ninja ZX-10R in the top ten was “Mr Consistent” Chris Walker who brought his Quattro Kawasaki back in ninth place to score yet more precious points.

Race two witnessed Byrne back on the front row of grid in second spot and ready to make amends for the DNF in race one. With Lowes and Brooks a constant threat, the Sittingbourne rider rode a controlled race to take his fourth win of the season taking his BSB career tally to 45. Slipping slightly in the points standings, Shakey knows that the next round at Knockhill in Fife will be a great chance to regain the series lead and stamp his authority on the world’s leading domestic Superbike Championship.

Shane Byrne: "Getting that win in the second race has definitely put a smile on my face and it was the best way of saying sorry to the team for crashing in race one. The crash was a strange one as I didn't do anything differently on that lap but the front just folded on me without warning and that was that. I was determined to come back stronger and whilst I'd like to say I was controlling it from the front, it was extremely difficult as Josh and Alex kept the pressure on throughout. I was happy with the set-up of the bike and to finish the weekend with a win was just what we needed."

In terms of Championship leads, Gearlink Kawasaki Supersport rider Alastair Seeley rode masterfully at Oulton and in so doing became championship leader for the Kawasaki Motors UK official team. Opening his account with an assured second place in race one held on Saturday, the rider from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland went one better on the Sunday posting a measured win over former British Supersport Champion, Stuart Easton. The win and runner up position were enough to ease the “Wee Wizzard” ahead of Easton by two valuable points with team-mate Ben Wilson still in contention in fourth place in the overall standings.

For the Lincs based stalwart of the Gearlink team, Oulton was a weekend to forget. Unable to start race one, he finished seventh in race two despite starting from the back of the grid.

Crashing during the qualifying session he ground through some of the major electrical wires forcing the mechanics to try and fix the wiring loom before the opening race on Saturday, unfortunately they were unable to get the bike out for the first race which forced Ben to start the second race from last on the grid in 27th place. He got a fantastic start and was up to 11th by lap two, despite working hard and making some more places he was unable to catch the front pack and had to settle for seventh at the end of the 16-lap race.

Alastair Seeley - "It has been a great weekend and a really good feeling to leave here leading the Championship. I learnt in the race yesterday where I could and could not make a move in race two. I tried a few different places but I was not able to bridge a gap so I knew I had to make a move on the last lap. I had to get the drive coming out of Druids and keep the front wheel down which is where I made the mistake previously.

I was able to pull it off in race two and I went in pretty hot into Lodge on the brakes and was able to make the move. Stuart and I had two really good races and I'm just pleased that I was able to secure some really good Championship points this weekend and hope this will continue for the rest of the season. I would like to thank my mechanic Arron and all the Gearlink Kawasaki team for all their work this weekend."

Ben Wilson - "I am so disappointed with what happened. Oulton is one of my favourite tracks and I was really hoping to leave here with a couple of good results under my belt but it just was not the case. I had an off in qualifying and it left the Gearlink Kawasaki boys a lot of work to do to my bike and it just didn't happen. I'm totally gutted and had to start the second race from the back, luckily Oulton is one of the tracks you can make passes at.

I got a great start and I was making some good passes but despite some good lap times the front runners had already made a break and were setting similar times to myself so I had to settle for seventh. I just hope I can get things back on track at Knockhill and try and get my season going again. I am still lying in fourth in the Championship standings and it's a long season."

Team Manager Michael de Bidaph - "It was such a contrasting weekend of highs and lows. Obviously Alastair did an amazing job for the team, he was on the pace all weekend and with it being so close in the sprint race we really wanted to go better in the main race. Stuart was beginning to get a good lead in the Championship and we really wanted to ensure we kept the points close. They were two fantastic races and we're very pleased with the outcome for Alastair and hope it will continue through the season.”

For the official Kawasaki Superstock 1000 team there was also good cause to celebrate on Bank Holiday Monday. Creating a “dream team” in the off-season, highly experienced team Owner and Manager, Ian Lougher has understandably high expectations of riders Cox and Backlund in 2013.

On his first competitive visit to Oulton Park, Scandinavian Superbike star Filip Backlund rode a great race to bring the second Ninja ZX-10R home in fourth and put the disappointment of his Thruxton crash in the previous round well and truly behind him.

Victor Cox meanwhile put in a stellar performance to take victory in the third round of the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship and claim his maiden National Superstock 1000 win.

It was a faultless ride from the Trowbridge man who virtually led the race from start to finish, on a circuit he has performed well at in the past. Alongside his team-mate on the front row of the grid, Victor quickly settled into second at the first corner with Filip also getting a good start to slot into fourth. By Druids, Cox had hit the front with Filip leading a five man Kawasaki chasing pack.

Both riders held station for the duration of the race, Hudson Kennaugh pressed hard throughout but Victor was having none of it punching the air in delight as he crossed the line a worthy race winner.

Cox's superb performance propels him to second in the Championship with Backlund now occupying fifth in the standings.

Commenting on yet another Ninjafest Kawasaki’s Race Coordinator for the UK, Ross Burridge, congratulated riders across the board for their supreme efforts.

“The statistics after Oulton are simply awesome. Kawasaki riders came away with some impressive stats. Four of the top ten finishers in BSB race two were on Ninja ZX-10R machines – including the race winner Shane Byrne. The Ninja ZX-6R propelled riders to podiums in both Supersport races and Seeley to a championship points lead.

In stock 1000, not only did Victor Cox win in imperious style, the first twelve riders home were Kawasaki mounted and in the Championship standings the top nine riders are on a Ninja. Likewise in Stock 600 Kawasaki riders secured two of the three podium slots and Kawasaki also occupies two of the three top spots in the points standings.

For any Kawasaki fan this surely must be a season to rival any. Congratulations to all riders and teams and let’s take the momentum forward to Knockhill… and hopefully the weather too!”

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