Team Suzuki Press Office – September 10.
Bradley Ray – BSB – DNF-14-7
Richard Cooper – BSB – DNF-10-8
Billy McConnell – SST – 9-4-4
• Pole position in qualifying for Ray
• Ray also confirmed in Showdown
• Cooper recovers from take-out in race one for two solid results
• Billy McConnell maintains Superstock 1000 championship lead
Buildbase Suzuki’s Bradley Ray secured his spot in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship’s Showdown, despite also suffering misfortune at Silverstone and round nine of the season at the weekend.
The weekend started strongly, with Ray fast in practice before setting pole position in qualifying on his GSX-R1000. From the head of the grid for race one he led the way, but was disappointed to crash out of the lead. His teammate, Richard Cooper, also crashed out of the top-10 when he was unfortunately taken out by another rider.
Ray, keen to make amends for his spill and secure his Showdown spot, was embroiled in a battle for the win in race two before he too was the victim of another rider’s attempted overtake. Lucky to stay upright, he was forced off track, costing him several positions. He recovered ground but dropped down the order in the closing laps with a problem with his gear selector. However, he finished 14th, the two points enough to seal his place in the top six. Cooper finished 10th.
In the third and final Superbike race of the weekend Ray and Cooper crossed the line in seventh and eighth place to cap off an up-and-down weekend with a solid pair of results.
“Ultimately, it’s job done; the aim was to come here this weekend and secure a place in the Showdown, and we’ve done that. I’m disappointed we didn’t do it on Saturday and disappointed I crashed out of the lead; I think I probably put a bit of pressure on myself with the Showdown on my mind, but we got the points we needed in the end. I felt like we could maybe have been on the podium in race two. There wasn’t really room for a move there and it cost us a lot of time and dropped us back, and in the final race the pace just wasn’t quite there. While there aren’t any points for it, it was good to set another pole position and we know we can be fast. I’m confident going into the Showdown and honestly, really pleased to be in there; it’s only my second year in BSB, it’s only the team’s second year with the new GSX-R, so we’ve got to be happy.”
“It’s been a pretty solid weekend. We had a better qualifying than we’ve had in the past and that’s been an area of weakness a bit this year, so it was good to go through to Q3 and start from the third row, especially when passing is quite difficult around here. I was having a good race Saturday before being knocked off. It’s annoying, but we’re out there racing motorbikes and it happens. There wasn’t any ill-intent. Today, results were good. The racing was really close as it always is in BSB, and it’s so hard to get across the gap, but we’re pretty consistent. Hopefully we can get amongst it in the Showdown and make a nuisance of ourselves.”
Billy McConnell maintained his National Superstock 1000 Championship lead. The Australian finished ninth and fourth in the two-part race one, before finishing race two in fourth.
“It was a pretty tricky weekend. The conditions were a bit up and down. But the aim is always the podium, ideally wins and we didn’t quite have the pace to achieve that this weekend. But it’s still been a pretty decent weekend and we’ve got some good points on the board, and still lead the championship which is the important thing.”