Keith Farmer gets Cumbrian team off to great start in British Superbike Championship
Last updated at 14:44, Friday, 13 April 2012
Paul Bird Motorsport was a busy team to be part of last weekend, when its two main championships, the British Superbike Championship and MotoGP, both kicked off with varying degrees of success.
The Penrith-based team fielded Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne and Stuart Easton for the opening round of the British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch but atrocious weather conditions saw the event cut short with only one race running.
Byrne, a former double champion, qualified the PBM Kawasaki ZX-10R on the front row of the grid but dropped back to seventh position after being hampered by the wet weather.
Easton retired with set-up problems but Bird’s other rider, Northern Ireland's Keith Farmer, fought his way through the pack to take a fantastic victory in the opening National Superstock counter.
“I’m absolutely speechless with Keith’s performance,” said Bird at the finish.
“To come through from way down the field to lead in the opening few laps is just unbelievable and is a fantastic start to the season for us. I’d forgotten what it was like to win and this is just the tonic we need for the team for the rest of the season.
“It’s been a bit of a difficult day for both Shakey and Stuart and we went a little bit in the wrong direction with their settings as like most teams we’ve had very little in the way of wet testing. I’m pleased for Stuart who has done remarkably well this weekend and we know Shakey will bounce back next weekend at Thruxton.”
Meanwhile, Bird’s outfit, the only all-British team in MotoGP, was also in action with Cumbrian rider James Ellison at the opening race of the season in Qatar. The 31-year-old from Kendal got off to a solid start but believes there’s more to come as he races against the world’s top motorcycle riders. He finished 18th against legends such as Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner.
“All things considered it's been a positive weekend,” said Ellison. “I understand how the bike, tyres and brakes need to be ridden now but it is seriously like riding on a knife edge so finding the limit without crashing is tough. You need to brake super-hard to generate the heat in the discs and also at the same time deform the tyre enough to generate the heat in it for the corner entry. We're talking fractions of a second difference in timing so, as you can imagine, getting it right every corner of every lap will take time.”
Competing on a different type of circuit last weekend was Carlisle tyre manufacturer DMACK. On the Circuit of Ireland, one of Ireland’s most famous and challenging events, DMACK’s new slick motorsport tyre performed well after home driver Robert Barrable finished sixth in his Skoda Ireland Fabio S2000. It’s only the second ever rally for the new tyre and Barrable used all three of its compounds in a performance which raised the eyebrows of DMACK’s Carlisle boss Dick Cormack.
“It has been an encouraging weekend,” commented Cormack. “We wanted to run our tyres against the top brands in what is probably the most competitive asphalt series in rallying at the moment. Robert and his team did a great job and his times were extremely impressive. Conditions in Ireland are always a challenge and it's extremely positive to see we had a compound which worked well in all the conditions thrown up over the weekend.”
This weekend sees a few local competitors heading up to Aberdeen for the Granite City Rally – third round of the Scottish Rally Championship. Heading the charge is Mike Faulkner from Aspatria and co-driver Peter Foy – both members of West Cumbria Motorsport Club. Seeded at number two in their Mitsubishi Evo6, and having previously won the event in 2009, Faulkner will be looking for a win against series leader David Bogie after a solid start to his season.
“Two events down and two seconds is a great start for us,” said Faulkner. “David Bogie has been immense on both events but we haven’t given up and will focus on trying to beat him on the Granite before he runs away with the series. Being able to go head to head with a British and three-time Scottish champion is fantastic for the championship and is what keeps us motivated. As ever, we'll be giving it 100 percent and can't wait for battle to commence. There are a number of crews capable of an upset, so it should be another great spectacle.”
Also making the long trek is Spadeadam Motor Club’s Phil Jobson and Neil Thomlinson who are taking part in the two-wheel-drive category in a Ford Escort Mk2.
Meanwhile, organisers of Carlisle’s Pirelli Rally have announced details of a Rally Village at the event’s Carlisle Racecourse headquarters during rally weekend in a fortnight’s time.
With free admission, spectators will see iconic rally cars, unique replicas and have the chance to drive a virtual rally stage in the Pirelli Rally Simulator. The event will start at 7pm on Friday April 27 from Carlisle City Centre and will see crews tackle two forest stages near Newcastleton before a full day of action on Saturday throughout Kielder Forest.
First published at 14:11, Friday, 13 April 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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