It was a perfect start to the Dickies British Supersport Championship for our race team at Silverstone this weekend, as Jack Kennedy took a pair of hard-fought wins and Brad Jones fought for the lead in each outing to gain two podiums.
After a strong test and much fettling at our Colin Appleyard Motorcycles workshops, the Öhlins equipped Yamaha YZF-R6 machines displayed good top end power combined with impressive handling to change lines with agility around the short but challenging National circuit layout.
Jack had an ‘unlucky’ Friday as he slipped off in practice and suffered a technical issue, but he bounced back in qualifying to take pole position. The Irishman claimed pole with a time of 55.774s whilst his teammate secured second on the grid, just 0.149s behind.
With the races scheduled for an 18 lap Sprint race on Saturday and a longer 26 lap ‘main event’ on Sunday, set-up and tyre preservation was key, especially with an ambient temperature of 26 and a scorching 38 degree track reading.
In race one, Kennedy took the holeshot and our team duo took off at the front of the field. They were soon joined by great Supersport rival Alastair Seeley and the trio traded places throughout a thrilling encounter. It was a Yamaha triumvirate throughout the race before a decisive move made by Kennedy on the very last lap on the back straight, enabled him to take a deserved victory, with Jones in third.
"That was a wild race, with loads of passing which was great fun. The start of that second race, the pace was quite slow and the times weren’t what we were doing yesterday. I tried to get in front and speed the pace up but kept getting passed back! It was a good race but I think I took a little too much out of my tyre towards the end. All in all I’m really happy with the first weekend of the season to get a couple of podiums, the team feels great and the bike has been solid."
The longer race was another epic battle between the three but with other riders joining the fray. This time Kennedy held a waiting brief for most of the second half of the race, before pouncing for the win at the very last corner, timed to perfection. Brad Jones had a race to remember as he led and battled with a number of experienced riders to take another fine third at the flag.
Jack Kennedy now sits ten points in front to get his title defence underway and Brad Jones is seemingly well placed to fight for his own championship campaign, with the team’s most local race of Oulton Park next on the BSB schedule.
"That was a brilliant weekend! Yesterday was a bit crazy but the pace was a bit slower with the warmer temperatures today, so I settled in behind the lads. I started getting a lot of hassle and was pushed back to fourth place so I knew I needed to get back to the front. I got behind Alastair and towards the end we started dicing with him and leading for a bit. I knew it was going to come down to the last lap and who could do the craziest move – which today was luckily me. I slipstreamed Alastair on the back straight and knew I would have to be the last on the brakes. I’m really happy with the whole team, it’s been a great weekend."
"It’s been the ideal start to the season this weekend and in perfect conditions. Jack has done what we expected of him, he rode maturely and although he was pushed to the limit he had the strategy worked out. I think Brad has really made a step up over the winter, he now has the ability to fight for the front for every race and having lead, this will have done a world of good for his confidence. Two wins and a total of four podiums, we’ll definitely take that as a season starter!"