Gearlink Kawasaki – Donington Park – Rd 1

Double Podium for Gearlink Kawasaki
Dickies British Supersport
It was an extremely successful weekend for the Gearlink Kawasaki team in the Dickies British Supersport Championship. Race one on Saturday was cancelled and qualifying positions were rolled over into race two on Sunday. Ulsterman Andrew Irwin secured second and Australian Ben Currie was third in the 15-lap race; a brilliant double podium for the team at the opening round of the series at Donington Park.
It was a great day on Friday for free practice and both Andrew and Ben were setting strong lap times in both sessions. The weather took a turn for the worse on Saturday and qualifying was wet and very cold. The pair still knuckled down despite not having much wet set-up time, Andrew finished qualifying on the front row in third, with Ben on the row behind in 5th.
Due to an unfortunate incident on Saturday the opening Sprint race was cancelled and the qualifying positions were held for the main race on Sunday. Irwin gained an incredible start and was leading by turn one with Ben tucked in behind in second place.
Once again the Dickies British Supersport race did not fail to provide some epic racing and some of the closest racing of the day. At certain points over the 15-lap race, one of six riders could have taken the win. Currie took the lead on lap two and he swapped positions with his team-mate on several occasions for the opening eight laps.
Current British Supersport Champion Tarran Mackenzie was in the mix; along with Alistair Seeley on the Spirit Moto2 machine (the M2 bike is not eligible to score points in the Championship). On the penultimate lap, Mackenzie took the lead from Andy Irwin and he was able to give himself a little clear track time to take the win. Irwin was second, Seeley third and Currie fourth. With Seeley excluded from the overall result this promoted Ben to a great third place.
The scheduled race from Saturday will be re-run at another round later in the season, to be confirmed.
Andrew Irwin – “The weekend was really positive, we weren’t out of the top four in the wet or the dry conditions. I believe there is still more to come in the season ahead, the Gearlink Kawasaki team have done a fantastic job over the winter with the new bike and improved it a lot from last year to suit me better.
I can’t thank Michael and Norma enough for that and also my mechanic Andy, crew chief Arron and Ben Wilson coming on board has been a huge help to me. The race was good I felt confident, I made a mistake and I got a little frustrated and I lost some time with two laps to go. However, my first Supersport podium at the first round is a great starting point for the year and something really positive to build on, I can’t wait to get to Brands Hatch now.
I would like to say a huge thank you to all my personal sponsors and the whole Gearlink Kawasaki team. I’d just like to dedicate todays podium to Mick Whalley who sadly passed away yesterday in the Ducati race.”
Ben Currie – “It has been a solid start to the season for me with a podium finish. I am really happy with how the Gearlink Kawasaki team worked all weekend to make me feel comfortable for the race.
We come away with a good wet set-up and a good dry race set-up. I did suffer a little bit with arm pump in the closing stages of the race but next time I hope it is a different story. I would like to say a special thanks to Ben Wilson this weekend for his guidance and I can’t wait to get to Brands Hatch in a couple of weeks.”
MCE British Superbike
James Westmoreland only secured a deal with the Gearlink Kawasaki team in the last month and therefore they have not been able to do much dry testing on the bike to find a set-up that suits him. Westy used as much time as he could to do as many laps as possible. In the wet session on Saturday he finished ninth fastest. With qualifying cancelled the organisers went from the combined fastest times from the free practice sessions and Westy was set to start from 16th place. A technical issue before the start of the race ruled him out of race one and therefore dropped to the back of the grid in 24th for the second race. He managed to finish the race just outside the points in 16th place.
James Westmoreland – “It wasn’t the start to the season I was hoping for this weekend at Donington. We’ve hardly had any track time on the bike so I really wanted to get out as much as possible to find a good set-up on the Gearlink Kawasaki.
Due to various reasons over the weekend we lost quite a bit of vital track time so I’ve really had to use this first round as a test session. I am not fully disappointed with the results as we know what areas we need to work on at the next round and I am confident that we can continue to keep improving at Brands. With it being the Indy circuit it is actually possible to get a lot of track time and that is what we need at the minute just to get things moving in the right direction. Everyone in the team worked really hard over the weekend and I’m sure together we can get it all good soon.”
Team Manager Michael de Bidaph – “I’m really pleased with how the Supersport race went today, Andrew and Ben both performed well every time they went out on track. It was a difficult qualifying session with the changing weather conditions but both riders upped their game and we were placed on the front two rows.
It was great to see both of the Gearlink Kawasaki’s battling up at the front during the race and it feels like it has been a long time coming. They both really did work hard for the entire race and neither would give up in fighting for a win. Andrew and Ben have a great attitude and I know this is the start of a good season with them.
I believe we can only keep pushing forwards and challenge for podiums at every round this season. It was great to work with them both and I am looking forward to the rest of the year.
With James (Westmoreland) in the Superbike class, we did make some strong progress this weekend at Donington. Due to a couple of circumstances we did not get the track time we were hoping for and really had to use this weekend as a test to get the bike sorted and right for Westy.
We will go to Brands now and keep chipping away to help him and develop the bike to suit what he needs. I am confident we can start to get some point scoring races with him in the near future.
As a team we would like to express our condolences to the friends and family of Mick Whalley.”
2017 BSB Calendar
15th – 17th April
Brand Hatch Indy
29th April – 1st May
Oulton Park
16th – 18th – June
30th June – 2nd July
Snetterton 300
21st – 23rd – July
Brands Hatch GP
4th – 6th – August
18th – 20th – August
Cadwell Park
8th – 10th – September
Silverstone GP
15th – 17th – September
Oulton Park
29th Sept – 1st October
Assen TT Circuit
13th – 15th – October
Brands Hatch GP
Twitter – Gearlink Kawasaki
Pictures by Jon Jessop Photography

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Twitter – CR_PR_18




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