Highs and Lows for Gearlink Kawasaki
Runner-Up Spot for Seeley
Championship Crown for Hedger
Brands Hatch Final Round
It was a hugely emotional weekend for the Gearlink Kawasaki team at the final round of the Motorsport British Supersport Championship at Brands Hatch. Alastair Seeley rode his heart out despite coming to Brands Hatch with a 19 point deficit. He rode a stunning first race and finished second and went into the main race on Sunday four points behind Easton. In a dramatic final race of the season once again the Gearlink Kawasaki team were forced to take the runner-up spot in the overall Championship after the race was cut short and Alastair was awarded third place.
It was a mixed weekend for the Gearlink Kawasaki team as fellow Supersport rider Ben Wilson had a huge crash on Saturday morning during the qualifying session. This fractured his lower leg/upper ankle and he was declared unfit to ride in either British Supersport race.
Alastair knew he had his work cut out but he was eager to try and salvage something from Brands Hatch. The rain fell heavily on Saturday for qualifying and he ended up in sixth place on the grid, he got a great start and worked his way through the pack to take a solid second place. Setting the fastest lap in the race he was sat in pole position for race two on Sunday, after the opening lap the rain came down and the race was red flagged. The race was then declared wet and shortened; Alastair got another good start but was pushed wide on the back section of the track forcing him back to fourth at the end of the opening lap. He managed to re-group and get his head down making his way back through to the front. Meanwhile Easton was making a charge through the pack and it was not long before the pair were fighting for the lead as they have all season. Easton made a pass to the front and Alastair dropped to third, the race was red flagged due to a big crash into Paddock Hill and the Championship was decided.
Alastair Seeley - "Well to say I'm gutted is an understatement. It's been such a rollercoaster year and the crash and injuries I sustained at Cadwell were what put a huge hindrance on my season and I've ended up second. I couldn't have finished second to a better and worthy Champion, we've had some fantastic battles over the season and it's been an enjoyable year just with the end result not what I was hoping. I finished this race smiling knowing that I had tried my best, my laps this year at every track were always consistently fast and that's a testament to the Gearlink Kawasaki team. They have worked so hard all year and with it being a new team for me to do what we have is a great achievement, I fitted in well from the start and everyone has worked so hard all season to help me win. It was difficult this weekend with the changing weather conditions as I wanted to push hard but not beyond the limit where I wouldn't finish, the track was really greasy and the conditions made things much worse. I tried hard this weekend and did everything I could to try and win the Championship and fair play and congratulations to Stuart Easton for winning it. Thank you to everyone who have supported me this season, my sponsors, my family, mechanics, girlfriend and the entire Gearlink Team, it's been great just unfortunate not to take the Championship win."
Ben Wilson - "I'm totally devastated to have to end the season in the medical centre, I was keen to end the season on a high note but it just wasn't to be. I was just caught out on a wet part of the track and that was me down but I went into the barrier at a quick part of the circuit. It hurt as soon as I got up and the medics x-rayed me in the medical centre and that was my season over. I'm sorry to everyone this isn't the way I wanted the season to end and thank you to everyone who has stood by me over this season and hopefully I'll be back fully fit to race again next year."
Pirelli National Superstock 600s
It was a totally different story in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 class as Luke Hedger became the 2013 Superstock 600 Champion in his first season in the Championship after becoming 2012 British Motostar Champion. Luke was fired up for the weekend and the super talented youngster proved his worth and rode an extremely mature race not getting involved in any situations and bringing the Gearlink Kawasaki home in eighth place but taking the Championship win by 16 points. His team-mate Mark Wilkinson struggled in the wet conditions and finished in 21st place.
Luke Hedger - "I'm absolutely over the moon with the Championship win, to move up to the Superstock 600 class this year from the Motostar class was a big jump and it took me a while to adjust to the new riding style to suit the 600. I couldn't have done this without the help and support this year from Michael and Norma and all the Gearlink Kawasaki team they have been unbelievable and I couldn't ask more from a team. All season I have just settled in more and more and the wins started to come and I started creeping up the Championship table and that's when I started to think that it might just be possible if I could remain consistent to win the series. I've worked hard all year and really wanted to do well; to win the Championship is just brilliant I'm so pleased for everyone involved. Thank you so much to everyone who has helped me this season, all my personal sponsors, my team, 1st Choice Flooring and especially my Mum and Dad."
Mark Wilkinson - "That was my first race on the Kawasaki in the wet and I got a good start but made a few mistakes on the first lap and lost a lot of places. I was stuck in a group and with the conditions being so bad it was hard to make any moves. I've managed to score points in every round this year and would have been nice to finish the season in the points but it just wasn't to be. I would like to say a huge thank you to all the Gearlink Kawasaki team for making me feel at home and welcoming me into their team like they did. Also to everyone back home in Australia for their support it's much appreciated. Roll on 2014."
Team Manager Michael de Bidaph - "What can I say? I'm massively disappointed not to have won the Supersport Championship again. Alastair could not have done any more this weekend and it was taken away from us with a red flag situation. However, this year has been a fantastic year, we as a team, have constantly been at the front at all the races this year and Ben and Alastair are a credit to this team and we have taken so much from it. We will back again next year to try again and one day we will win that Supersport Championship. The Gearlink Kawasaki team would like to wish Ben a speedy recovery.
Luke was superb; he did everything he had to do today to win the Superstock 600 Championship. He rode a very mature race and did not do anything stupid, we're all really pleased with his Championship title and he took away some of the disappointment from the Supersport result.
Mark made a few mistakes in the opening laps but he has never ridden the bike in a wet race before and up to now he has been in the points at every race. He's been an absolute delight to have him in our team; he fitted in really well and rode very hard and always willing to learn.
I must say a huge thank you to all our very loyal sponsors, especially Kawasaki Motors UK, all our product sponsors and we are just sorry we were unable to repay you with the Supersport Championship but we will keep trying."