SA Kawasaki BCperformance SMP race report

2015-07-01_23-51-32ASCRound three of the Swann Insurance Australasian Superbike Championship, held at Sydney Motorsport Park in New South Wales, has kicked off in a rather exciting fashion with plenty of success and fast lap times for every rider in the team. Despite numerous reports of threatening weather and storms for Friday’s practice sessions and scattered showers for the weekend, both Friday and Saturday have been gloriously sunny, providing beautiful riding conditions. However, the colder mornings and afternoons have played some havoc with each field due to changes in the levels of grip available throughout the day.

The SA Kawasaki BCperformance team’s superbike riders, Ben Burke and Evan Byles both put in good performances through Friday’s practice sessions, enabling them both to qualify with some great times. Ben eventually qualified in 9th with a time of 1:32.161 and Evan slotted in 12th position with a 1:36.946. Both riders continued improving their times throughout the day by working hard with the team to get their bikes set up in the best way possible. The hard work carried on through to Saturday’s racing with Ben improving his times even further, dropping almost four tenths with a 1:31.797 during race one. Ben finished race one in eighth position, behind Queensland’s Mike Jones. Race two saw Ben improve further by picking up 6th place. Evan built upon his work in qualifying to register twelfth position in both races, including his fastest time so far of 1:36.873 during race one.

The team’s supersport riders, Kyle Buckley and Paul Young, both produced strong results during Friday’s qualifying session with Kyle picking up seventh spot on the grid while Paul was set a little further back in ninth. Kyle’s time of 1:35.277 was just two tenths faster than Paul’s 1:35.450, with the top ten riders all posting times with 1.7 seconds of each other. Race one brought promising results with Kyle and Paul finishing eighth and ninth respectively, remaining within a couple of tenths of their qualifying times. In race two, Kyle finished in eight again but did manage to improve his fastest lap time, dropping another tenth, while Paul ended up in 14th place. Unfortunately, Kyle crashed on the first lap in race three, while Paul managed twelfth position in a more satisfying performance.

Paul Young has continued his role as the SA Kawasaki BCperformance team’s Ninja 300 Cup rider, putting in a brilliant performance in qualifying to land pole position with a time of 1:47.268. Unfortunately, Paul crashed out of the opening lap in race one but the team put in a wonderful effort to get the bike repaired and ready for race two, in which Paul rode to third place behind Samuel Davidson and Ben White. Paul’s terrible luck then resumed with a crash on the second lap of the third race.

Despite the setbacks, the SA Kawasaki BCperformance team was primed for a big race day on Sunday with the whole team hoping for more sensational performances from the four riders. Everyone put in the maximum effort to ensure the bikes and riders were in their best possible shape to score more great results during Sunday’s racing.

With two superbike races and three races a piece for the Ninja 300 Cup and Supersport riders, the team certainly had their work cut out for them. Superbike riders Ben Burke and Evan Byles were in top form during the morning warm up, giving them one last chance to iron out any niggles before the first race. Race one saw Ben finish in ninth position with a fastest lap time of 1:32.247, while Evan finished 11th with a time of 1:36.508. In race two, both riders really took things up a notch, picking up two places to finish in 7th and 10th respectively. Ben’s times also showed huge improvements, posting a fastest lap of 1:31.520. Ben commented that “I had a relatively positive weekend, my pace was closer to the leaders and now I am close enough to the pack to see our weaknesses more clearly. This is ideal heading into the next round, we know what we need to do to pick up the tenth of a second we need each lap. I had a small crash in practice but that didn’t dent my confidence. Thanks again for the support of all our sponsors and I look forward to doing an even better job next round.” Evan was very pleased with his weekend, saying “I had a very solid weekend on Ninja Cath, no big changes to the bike and I enjoyed every ride. I concentrated on shorter braking distances and standing the bike up more on corner exits. My lap times have plateaued but consistency is good. I enjoyed the competition and look forward to adding some speed to what is now a very solid base. I need to thank the team for the good times and my mechanic, Kirsty for all her faultless hard work across the three days.

The team’s Supersport riders, Kyle Buckley and Paul Young both had highs and lows throughout their three races. In race one, Paul finished in 7th, with a fastest lap of 1:35.206, while Kyle finished slightly lower down the order in 11th with a 1:36.131. Fortunately, race two was a little more kind to Kyle, where he finished in 9th with a fastest lap of, strangely enough, 1:36.131. However, Paul crashed out of race two with one lap remaining. Both riders’ luck changed yet again in race three with Paul finishing in 8th (1:36.607) while Kyle crashed out with two laps remaining. Kyle was a little circumspect after the weekend, mentioning that “after a weekend full of bad luck, it’s safe to say we have had better weekends. On a lighter note, we did pick up some vital information for the Queensland round. Onwards and upwards for Queensland Raceway!”.

Paul Young’s campaign in the Ninja 300 Cup also had plenty of ups and downs after his stupendous performance in round two at Mallala. In race one, Paul managed a 4th place (1:48.268) behind Jack Dawes but in race two, Paul managed an epic win, holding a significantly faster race pace and fastest lap of 1:47.531. Backing up in race three, Paul managed his second win of the day, ahead of Hunter Ford and Jack Dawes, this time with a fasted lap of 1:47.808. Paul was quite happy with his weekend, despite the ups and downs; “after what was a tough weekend all round for the team, it was good to be able to take a couple of wins on the 300 to repay everyone’s hard work, and there are a lot of lessons we can take from this round and improve on for the next race”.

Congratulations must go to the riders and team for their efforts in putting their best foot forward in what was a difficult weekend. The difficulties allow the team to find the limits of both the bikes and riders as we push forward in the championship. We’re now rebuilding and preparing the bikes for the Queensland round. We hope to see as many of you there!

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