Round 11 of the Dickies British Supersport Championship at Assen
Round 11 of the Dickies British Supersport made to quick trip across the North Sea to the Netherlands, to Assen circuit, the cathedral of speed. The team, as always, arrived at the circuit Thursday and pushed through the final setup items ahead of Fridays FP1 session.
Friday’s practice session went to plan with both Jack Kennedy and Brad Jones inside the top ten with Kennedy ending the day in P1 and Jones in P9. The team worked hard overnight to improve the bikes and be ready for an early morning qualifying session on Saturday. Saturday mornings qualifying session was certainly an exciting one. A good pit stop strategy gave Kennedy the power to put in a fantastic 1.38.7 lap time (under the lap record) just 3 minutes from the end of the session allowing him to take the pole positions by 0.494 from championship rival Currie.
Brad Jones managed to put himself on 10th spot for Saturday's sprint race - a strong performance from the Supersport rookie who had a lot of work to learn the circuit on a Supersport machine. Saturday afternoon’s sprint race was another bar banging affair, with the lead changing every lap. A hard battle at the front meant Kennedy would bring his Integro Yamaha home in 2nd place just behind Seeley. However, a mistake from Currie a few laps earlier cost him and he was given a 2.3-second penalty for cutting the track at the final corner.
Jones had a tight race but still managed to bring his R6 Yamaha home in 11th place. Another strong finish, again proving his potential in the Supersport category.
The big show on Sunday was set to be a cracker. An extra four laps meant the riders would have to be smart to save the tires while still maintaining the pace at the front. Both Jones and Kennedy brought their Integro Yamaha’s home in the same positions as Saturday’s race, with Kennedy in 2nd and Jones in 11th. However, it was quite a different race. The battle at the front was extremely tight with Kennedy, Seeley, and Currie breaking away ahead of the pack.
Kennedy lead going into the final lap, but a late move by Seeley meant his only option was to try a famous Assen move at the last corner. Kennedy played it perfectly, and although he wasn’t leading going into the turn, he managed to get the drive to pull alongside Seeley for the run to the line. Seeley squeezed Kennedy leaving him to roll the gas and ultimately settle for 2nd position.
"Another successful weekend on the Appleyard Macadam R6 with a pole, two 2nd places finishes and more points into our championship challenge. I was really pleased with our pace in qualifying going 0.5s under the lap record but the sprint race was a bit messy as I never really got an opportunity to put some fast laps together without being lunged on or run wide. Race two was better as I hit the front early and held the advantage for the first part of the race, setting a hotter pace to stretch the pack. From the mid way stage it turned into a good battle with myself and Seeley trading places every lap, and I knew it would come down to the last lap or last corner. Seeley was riding super defensively on the last lap so I had to use my head and not get sucked into making a lunge, as if he let off the brakes there would definitely have been contact and we might both have gone down - so settled for second this time. Big credit to my team for a top job as always. Full gas for Brands Hatch now!"
"Overall it was a challenging weekend with learning the track and adjusting myself to it. We made great progress with making time improvements over each session, but we had to really work hard to get the bike set up as every session I was pushing the bike to higher limits due to lack of track knowledge. Race 1 was tough, race 2 was a big improvement having a great battle for 4th. Arm pump hindered me at the end so on paper the result doesn’t look amazing, but we made solid progress across the weekend and now head to Brands Hatch to end the season on a high!"
"The team are now making the relevant preparation for the final time in 2018. A huge weekend lies ahead and the team are doing everything possible to ensure it goes smoothly. We have come a long way as a team to be fighting for back to back British championships. Its hasn’t come easy and I feel extremely proud of all the team for their hard work in getting us to this point. Of course it goes without saying, that it wouldn’t be possible to get to this stage without our amazing sponsors and partners that support us and we are very pleased to be taking them all along on this journey."
Next and last stop: Brands Hatch!