In sweltering conditions, the former airfield circuit created a crowded spectacle and Kawasaki riders were at the forefront of the majority of races with podiums in Superbike, Supersport and Stock 1000 while in stock 600, Kawasaki riders were also in the hunt.
For the title races much was expected of current Champion Shane “Shakey” Byrne who ended qualifying in a comfortable second place and ready for race one in the Norfolk heat. Choosing a tyre that did not gel with conditions, Bryne had to nurse his machine across 16 laps of a hard fought race riding defensively to preserve a well-earned third place and podium credit rather than in his characteristic “all-guns-blazing” style.
For Chris Walker, the race started and progressed well with the popular Kawasaki star running in sixth place and dicing with former champion, Ryuichi Kiyonari. Towards the end of the race though, Stalkers battery failed and he coasted to a halt, hot and disappointed.
Race two improved for both riders with Byrne going back to the softer option Pirelli slick and some minor changes that transformed the front-end feel of his Rapid Solicitors MinxFlix Kawasaki while Walker – new battery firmly in place – continued his points tally with a solid sixth place. Once more at the top of the podium, Byrne put the relative disappointment of race one behind him with a confident win and pushed past the 200 points barrier for a comfortable series lead.
No less pleasing for Kawasaki fans were the two Supersport races with the Gearlink Kawasaki riders making good use of their Ninja ZX-6R machines and dicing for wins in each race. Northern Ireland’s Alastair Seeley rose to the top on both occasions and took a double win to cement his place at the head of the Supersport Championship.
Lincolnshire rider, Ben Wilson, improved on his fifth place qualification to take third and a precious podium in race one, then move one better with a fine runner up spot in the second outing. Now first and third in the Championship, the Gearlink Kawasaki riders present a formidable force among a field dominated by machines from other manufacturers.
No such worries in the Stock classes were race machines based very closely on the motorcycles in Kawasaki showrooms are in abundance.
Qualifying first, fifth and sixth in the Stock 1000 race, the chances of a Kawasaki rider making it to the podium were high. SMT pilot, Adam Jenkinson, stood perhaps the strongest chance having pushed to pole in qualifying but, on race day, he had to give best to former South African Superbike Champion, Hudson Kennaugh, who brought his Ninja ZX-10R home in first place with Jenkinson second and ILR Kawasaki rider Filip Backlund fifth. In fact, so dominant is the litre class Ninja in the stock 1000 paddock that Kawasaki machines filled every place from fifth to twenty fifth which is a ringing endorsement of the race ready quality of the popular machine.
With five ZX-6R machines in the top ten at the end of the Stock 600 race, Kawasaki riders were also well represented. On this occasion, the main talking point was class rookie Mason Law who ended one place away from the podium in fourth. In only his first full season after dominating the Ninja 250 Cup, the Essex rider has progressed apace and now, in only the fifth round of the Championship, managed to qualify in fifth place and improve upon that by one further place in the race itself.
Speaking about Kawasaki performances over the weekend, Ross Burridge, Racing Coordinator for Kawasaki Motors UK, praised riders in all classes.“What a mature performance by Shakey in Superbikes and let’s not forget Chris Walker plugging away and keeping himself in contention. In Supersport, the Gearlink team have progressed leaps and bounds and provide their riders with an exceptional platform on which to perform. Congratulations to Alastair on his double and well done to Ben for such determined rides.
In Stock 1000 Hudson proved he still has what it takes to push for a win and new boy, Tommy Aquino, impressed with a strong eighth place among a sea of other Ninjas. Of course, highlight of the Stock 600 race must be the emergence of Mason Law as a real force. It’s hard to believe this is his first season and he has gelled with the Ninja ZX-6R so well. We congratulate all the Kawasaki riders and hope that this weekend’s successes are repeated at the next round at Brands Hatch later in July.”
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