To the final round of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship on the full GP loop layout at Brands Hatch. Interesting weather forecast – heatwave, hurricane or storm?
All four of our riders were in attendance and hoping to sign-off the season with some strong performances.
The race schedule included a superbike ‘triple-header’. That meant an extra race on the Saturday, as well as the usual two on Sunday, with the whole event ending with the third superbike race to celebrate the championship winner in style.
Lee Jackson. Pirelli National Superstock 1000, Kawasaki ZX10-RR.
Just one ‘standard’ length race on the Sunday for Lee. FP1 gave him a strong platform – P5 just 0.8 off the fastest time. Lee got down to a one minute 28 seconds dead lap in FP2 only 0.3 off championship leader Farmer’s fastest time.
Lee’s qualifying session was also hampered by a red flag stoppage. He’d taken a bit out of his tyre and though he improved his time marginally with each lap of the restart, he had to settle for P10. At least we know an annoyed Lee is an extra fast Lee!
Because of the tight timetable, the warm-up for Lee’s Sunday race took place on Saturday evening! P8, running strong race pace. Sunday was soaking wet for his race – the only running in the conditions was a five-minute open pitlane period before the race start. Thankfully, Lee doesn’t mind the wet.
A steady start dropped Lee back to P10 – he’d been promoted a place on the grid because of a missing rider. A mixture of skill and crashing riders got Lee up to P5 as he let his tyres come to him. 6.6 seconds behind the leader at one point, Lee built his speed and pulled back over five seconds as he closed in, setting the fastest lap on L9 to close to within a second and join the leading group of four.
More bad luck for the team. The smallest mistake, just off-line going in to the banked Stirling’s Bend, the front slid away, and Lee ended up sitting on the wet grass. Bike hardly damaged and rider embarrassed. (Plus, Mum in tears on the pit wall – worried for the team, not Lee!). It really could have been a win. The racing ‘if’ again.
In total, 14 riders crashed – over one-third of the field. That roll call included our mate Billy McConnell who was trailing Framer by 10.5 points in the championship standings and had to go for the win. Sadly, Billy crashed early on and rather than take a steady ride home, Farmer did the same a few laps later. So, the championship went to him as they had both failed to finish with Collier just unable to close the points gap.
Overall, Lee finished the super competitive Pirelli Superstock 1000 championship in fifth place. Good effort and a strong foundation for things to come.
FS-3 Racing Team.
Not a bad year, all told. Three riders competing high-up in their championship classes and supporting Max’s progress in his two development championships. Highlights – podiums in all classes – and lowlights – a few crashes at the wrong time, but we know racing is all ifs and buts.
Bikes always well turned out as well as any team, a smart and efficient garage and engaging social media are all a testament to the professionalism of the team’s members. We have a laugh too and always come back for more.
One last run for Lee at Mallory Park this Sunday in the Race of the Year– stocker on slicks. Danny will be in Ireland on his practice bike competing in the Sunflower Trophy races.
In the office and the workshop, lots of planning and development work already underway as we get ready for a bit of winter testing. We already know that Danny will be with us again next year and watch this space for more team news next week.
We now must wait until late April, Easter next year, for round one of the 2019 championships. Six months is a long time. Will you get withdrawal symptoms too?
Hope to see you at Motorcycle Live at the NEC in November.