Podiums & Wins for Gearlink Kawasaki
Brands Indy - Round 1
The MCE British Superbike season kicked off this weekend and it was a strong start to the year for the Gearlink Kawasaki Team running in the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship. This year long term Gearlink Kawasaki rider Ben Wilson is joined by former British Supersport Champion Alastair Seeley racing on the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. Alastair gained a stunning third and first place place and Ben secured fourth and third places in the two Supersport races.
The extremely cold weather conditions on Friday hindered progress and the team missed the first session due to the freezing track temperatures. However it was slightly warmer on Saturday morning for qualifying and Alastair qualified on the front row in fourth and Ben was 0.1 behind in fifth. The first sprint race on Saturday afternoon got off to an exciting start after the initial race was cut short due to a red flag, on the re-start Ben Wilson got an awesome hole-shot and led the race for the first three laps. It was a very close race and Ben and Alastair were soon swapping green paint work and dicing for third position, they swapped positions on several laps and Alastair took third and went down to a photo finish with Billy McConnell for second with the pair being split by only 0.007 over the line.
Their times from race one put Alastair on pole for race two and Ben in second position, as the lights changed green the two Gearlink Kawasaki riders shot out of the gate with Alastair first into turn one and Ben a close second. It was one of the most exciting British Supersport races in years with seven riders battling it out at one point for the overall win. It was the two stunning green Gearlink Kawasaki's that were fighting for the number one place. Ben managed to get through to the front and was holding his own despite a few challenges from Luke Jones and Alastair. Ben was leading the race and swapping positions with his team-mate, Luke and Billy McConnell and was back at the front for the final lap, a mistake out of Graham Hill Bend cost him and Alastair seized the opportunity to take the lead and the eventual race win, with Billy second and Ben in third, with only 0.4 splitting the top three.
Alastair Seeley - "It's been a really mega weekend for myself and the Gearlink Kawasaki Team, it's good for my confidence after having a tough 2012 season to get back on the top step of the podium. We've not had much testing time and so it's a great result for us all and to leave here leading the Championship is a great feeling. The team has worked really hard and we got a good set up early in the weekend, I felt strong from the start and I'm really happy with the results we got here. I'm looking forward to getting to Thruxton it suits my style and it has similarities of the North West for me, I enjoy racing there and hope we will be able to get similar results there."
Ben Wilson - "Well it's been a pretty good start to the year for me, already better than 2012 so hopefully we can work on this and progress and move forward. I felt much better on the bike this weekend and despite losing a bit of time during qualifying after I suffered a small technical problem I was happy to qualify where I did. I got good starts in both races and we made a wrong tyre choice for the restart of race one after it was red flagged and I struggled a little with grip but I was excited about race two and knew I had a good set up on the bike. The second race was certainly tough and this year is going to go down to the wire, I'm angry at myself for the mistake I made on the last lap and handed the win away but I know I raced well and held my own and fought back throughout the race. I can't wait to get to Thruxton and some more time out on the bike."
Pirelli National Superstock 600s
In the Pirelli Superstock 600 class Nicole Mc Aleer was unfortunate not to be allowed to race, she qualified in 41st place but they only allowed 38 to line up on the grid, she drastically decreased her lap times throughout the weekend and will now concentrate on Thruxton next weekend.
However current 125 Motostar British Champion Luke Hedger had a good weekend and secured some good Championship points gaining 13th in 22-lap race. Luke who qualified in 11th place after a very progressive weekend adapting to the 600 machine, he made progress in every session rode a strong race. The youngest from Yate got a shocking start and dropped to 20th position after the opening lap and left himself a lot of work to do. He got into a rhythm and set some very good lap times slowly working his way past through the fierce pack to finish in 13th.
Luke Hedger - "This weekend was a great experience for me, the race was good, but a whole new level for me, there is a lot of elbow bashing. I'm not used to that so it took me a little by surprise and know what to expect for the rest of the season now. I got a bad start and had to work hard to pass people but it was good and I really settled in and worked hard to get into the points. I'd like to thank the Gearlink Kawasaki team for all their help and support this weekend."
Nicole Mc Aleer - "It has been a real learning curve this weekend, sadly I felt like I was a session behind in every session, but each time I went out on the bike my times improved as well as my confidence. I had a great weekend with the Gearlink Kawasaki team and I can't wait for Thruxton."
Team Manager Michael de Bidaph - "We came here to Brands a little bit blind now knowing what to expect as we'd done no testing in the dry conditions. Ben had a small technical problem during qualifying and lost vital track time so we were pleased he qualified in fifth despite his problems. It was great to get a podium in the first race with Alastair and then we went even better on the main race day with a win and third. It's great and we're really pleased with the outcome this weekend, it's a great achievement for the whole team. So much work was put in over the winter and to leave with three podium finishes makes the hard work all worthwhile, we'd like to continue this form and progress throughout the season but we know it won't be easy judging by the quality of both races.
Luke did a great job in the Superstock Championship; his first race on a 600, no issues, no crashes and points is a great start to the season for him. We were really pleased with him qualifying in 11th place and despite a bad start he put some great lap times in during the race and we know this year is a learning curve for him and we will continue to help move him forward throughout the season.
Nicole worked hard all weekend and we are happy with her progress, we have put no pressure on her, she has gelled with the Gearlink Kawasaki well this weekend and improved her lap times every time she went out on track. We hope as the season progresses we will bring her up to the level and speed we know she is capable of."