Luke Mossey and the Quattro Plant Kawasaki team kept their Showdown hopes very much alive at round eight of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park on Monday with the Cambridge rider now just seven points off a top six position.
The 23-year old was strong at the Lincolnshire venue right from the outset and placed second, third and fourth in the three free practice sessions prior to Sunday afternoon’s qualifying session. However, a time of 1m26.382s placed him sixth overall after qualifying which put him on the second row for the first 18-lap race.
A slightly sluggish start put him back in tenth place at the end of the opening lap but by half race distance he was up into seventh and very much in contention for a top six finish at least. However, with less than three laps to go, he dropped down the order down to twelfth after a near crash and with no time left to recover and regain any places, he had to settle for just four Championship points.
Lining up in tenth place and at the head of the fourth row for the second 18-lap encounter, the race was only a few hundred yards old when team-mate Filip Backlund and Howie Mainwaring Smart crashed at the first corner bringing out the safety car for a period of three laps. On lap four, Luke was shuffled back to twelfth place and it took him until half race distance to gain a place but he kept pushing until the end ultimately being rewarded with ninth place and what could prove to be seven valuable Championship points.
It moves him on to a total of 133 and places him joint seventh in the Championship table, just seven points adrift of James Ellison who currently holds the sixth and final Showdown place. Three races take place at the next round at Oulton and this will ultimately decide which six riders dispute the Championship.
Backlund was making his return to racing after suffering a crash at Brands Hatch at the previous round and although he qualified back in 24th place, a strong opening race saw him lap over half a second quicker than what he had done in qualifying to claim a solid 18th place. However, all hopes were dashed in the second race crash although the Swede was thankfully relatively unharmed.
There was also disappointment for Dickies British Supersport Championship contender Andrew Reid as he failed to score a point in either of the two races. Fifth in qualifying, a crash on the first lap in Sunday’s ‘Sprint’ race put him on the back foot and on the fourth row for Monday’s feature race and with plenty of work to do. The race started well as he soon moved into the top four but he ran wide at the first corner and had to retire from the race on the tenth lap. It now means he lies 45 points adrift of Championship leader James Westmoreland.
Luke Mossey: “It’s been an up and down weekend to be honest. I had a really good start in practice and I was never outside the top four and whilst I ended up sixth after qualifying, I was confident of having two strong results. As it turned out though I struggled in both races. It was just one of those days but we’re still close to the Showdown positions and I really like Oulton Park, venue for the next round, so I’ll be looking to get back onto top form there.”
Filip Backlund: “I came into the weekend hopeful of two points scoring finishes and although I only finished 18th in race one, I was pleased with my ride as I lapped quicker than I had done all weekend and found a good rhythm which I was sure would put me in good stead for race two. I made a really good start and saw Howie take the outside line so thought I’d follow him round. Unfortunately, he had to shut off mid-corner and I had nowhere to go, ploughing into the back of him. I’m a bit bruised and my hip’s sore but I’m otherwise ok so will come back strong at Oulton.”
Pete Extance, Team Owner: “The weekend seemed full of promise after free practice and qualifying and with Luke in sixth we were confident for two good results. Unfortunately, in the first race he suffered a major highside near the end and whilst he stayed on, it dropped him from seventh to 12th and only four points. He improved to ninth in the second race and although he didn’t score hugely this weekend, a number of other riders experienced similar fortunes so the Showdown is stll very much all to play for.”
“Filip had a rough weekend scoring no points and suffering a huge crash in the second race when he went down with Howie Mainwaring Smart at the first corner fortunately without injury. Andrew too had a tough time of things scoring no points either so we’ll need to regroup on all fronts for the next round at Oulton and do everything we can to get Luke in the Showdown.”
The next round takes place at Oulton Park on September 9-11.
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko