We arrived at Snetterton for round eight of this year’s British Superbike Championship under clouds. The weather was against us and the news of Her Majesty’s passing cast a shadow over the paddock.
The organisers followed to the letter the mourning guidance issued by Buckingham Palace. Whilst the event went ahead, commercial activities were curtailed, and acts of remembrance were included in the programme. Before Saturday’s race and the first race on Sunday, the riders assembled at the front of the grid, in front of the Union Flag, wearing black arm bands, to stand for two minutes of silent reflection. The race crews on the grid stood alongside their bikes for the silence after which the National Anthem was played. God Save the King.
In our pit garage, we replaced the team name with a large Union Flag and both bikes carried smaller flags on either side of the nose cones.
Despite the sombre mood, we were pleased that the BSB family was together to demonstrate our collective respect for the Queen’s passing and welcome King Charles the Third.
The racing certainly played second fiddle to wider events. Limited practice running due to the weather and very wet qualifying set the scene. Rory and Lee both suffered crashes in the difficult conditions. Rory took a big knock and hurt his neck causing his withdrawal from the sprint race on Saturday afternoon. After the first race on Sunday, he reported feeling under the weather, so we took took the decision to sit out the final race of the weekend. Rory had already qualified for the end of season Showdown and there was little prospect of a podium finish to score credit points, so there was nothing to be gained by forcing the issue and risk aggravating the injury.
Lee was coming back from a difficult weekend at Cadwell Park. He was just outside of the confirmed Showdown places, but within touching distance. A good race one would see him through and that’s what happened, taking the pressure off for Sunday’s races. Safely through to the Showdown, Lee’s Sunday races were uneventful as others around him were pushing to the limit, and beyond, to score points towards the final Showdown places or demonstrate their skills with thoughts turning to 2023 rides.
After eight rounds Lee is P3 in the standings and Rory P5, but that all changes with the Showdown format for the final three rounds and nine races. The eight qualifying riders are each awarded 1000 points, plus their credit points scored for podium finishes in the earlier rounds: five for a win, three for runner up and one for third places. On that basis, Lee is P5 on 1014 and Rory P7 on 1009. Brad Ray is leading the charge with 61 credits so he’s on 1061.
The first Showdown round is at Oulton Park in two weeks’ time, scene of Lee’s first win earlier in the year, closely followed by Donington Park a week later before the grand final at Brands Hatch on 15/16 October.
While the mood over the weekend was low key, getting both riders into the Showdown marks a real achievement for our team. Lee and Rory are in the spotlight, but they are only able to do what they do thanks to the considerable efforts of a team of 16 people behind the scenes.
We all move on.
Regards, Nigel. Team Principal.