The 2011 British Superbike Championship came to a close this weekend with an action-packed weekend of racing at Brands Hatch in Kent. Racing fans were not left disappointed as the riders – including various Shark-supported men – battled it out to claim valuable last-minute points towards their respective title bids.
Despite securing a win, a second and a fourth place in the British Supersport Championship races, SHARK’s Ben Wilson just missed out on the title, coming second to rival Alastair Seeley by just one point. Although Seeley lifted the trophy, Wilson was heralded as the people’s champion by BSB fans having provided them with a brilliant display of racing throughout the season. The Cup class championship title was decided at Silverstone last month when SHARK’s John Simpson claimed the top spot, however fellow Shark rider Sam Hornsey secured third place overall after Brands Hatch this weekend.
Red Bull rookie Kyle Ryde was crowned the Sunoco 125GP Champion. Ryde was leading the standings by 11 points ahead of this weekend’s racing and his third-place podium finish was enough to win the title. Ryde showed remarkable maturity for a 14 year-old this weekend, being a second off his race pace, Ryde controlled his race right from the start.
In the British Superbike Championship, SHARK’s Michael Laverty fought to keep himself as a title contender. In the opening race on Saturday Laverty took the lead on the first lap and managed to hold his position until the chequered flag, moving him up to third in the overall standings.
Day two and the second race saw the tables turn for Laverty, who was caught out by the drying track conditions and crashed out on lap two. In the season finale Laverty was embroiled in a fight for the final podium positions. He finished the race in fifth to end the season in fourth place overall for the Swan Yamaha team. Laverty’s team mate Tommy Hill won the championship.
Further down the ranks, James Westmoreland finished 14th, 8th and 10th and finished overall in 15th place. After an exciting season competing in BSB and also experiencing a ride in the World Superbike Championship with Castrol Honda, Alex Lowes finished his debut campaign in 20th place. Ian Lowry finished overall in 22nd place.
The Superstock 1000 Championship race was red flagged and subsequently cancelled following an incident involving two riders. Championship points were taken from the previous round at Silverstone, which saw Richard Cooper crowned champion. SHARK’s Danny Buchan was close behind in second place. Buchan’s team mate and fellow SHARK rider Howie Mainwaring was unable to compete at Brands Hacth after sustaining injuries in a motocross accident the previous weekend.
SHARK’s John Crockford was one of the riders involved in the Superstock 1000 incident, an update from the BSB website this morning said: John Crockford remains in a serious but stable condition in the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel following an accident yesterday (Sunday) during the National Superstock 1000 race at Brands Hatch. John is sedated and had an operation last night on injuries to his diaphragm, he has other, multiple injuries including a fractured pelvis.
All of our thoughts and best wishes go to John, his family and friends. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.
SHARK end the 2011 British Superbike Championship with four crowned champions over the eight series titles, with two runners-up.
The World Superbike Championship comes to a close this weekend at Portimão. While, MotoGP is in its final stages with racing from Phillip Island.
Ben Wilson: To say I am disappointed is an understatement. I am devastated as I had my heart set on winning the title this year. I managed to get the lead in the last race but made a couple of mistakes and that allowed Seeley to get ahead. Once he got the gap on me it was all over. To be fair the gap didn’t increase but fair play to him, he rode a good race and in the end took the title from under my nose.
I want to say a big thank you to everyone at Gearlink Kawasaki, all my sponsors, supporters and also my family who have been behind me all season. I am just sorry we couldn’t have brought the title back for them.
Michael Laverty: Today has been a great result for the Swan Yamaha team and congratulations have to go to Tommy for winning the title. I rode my hardest to try and protect him and the rest of the hard work he did himself. There is a lot of satisfaction for the team tonight but at the same time I am disappointed that we were not able to come away as the champion. We have been fast all season long and we showed again yesterday with the win that we have the pace. It has been a great year and I need to thank the Swan Yamaha team for all their support.
Danny Buchan: That’s not the way I would have liked to finish the championship, I’d much rather have battled Luke for second but I’ll still take it. Having finished the season, 2011 has been amazing. Second place in the championship is a great result and I’d like to say a big thank you to MSS Colchester Kawasaki, who have been superb and a fantastic team to work with. On a personal note I’d like to say thank you to mum and dad and all of the Buchan family, friends and personal sponsors for all their support. I couldn’t have done it without you guys – thank you.