The DAO Racing team has celebrated it’s strongest Bennetts British Superbike Championship round to date after rider Dean Harrison banked his first top 10 of the year at Oulton Park.
But it was a tough weekend for team-mate Brayden Elliott, who was forced to withdraw from Bank Holiday Monday’s Pirelli National Superstock race after a big highside during qualifying.
The Cumbria-based squad headed to its local track keen to build on its Round One progress and got off to a flying start when Harrison ended Free Practice seventh, putting him straight into Qualifying Two ahead of Sunday’s opening race.
Starting from 17th on the grid for Sunday’s BikeSocial Sprint race, the roads specialist got caught up with another rider at the start and dropped back several placed but was able to bounce back, fighting his way back up the order to cross the line 17th.
For Monday’s opening race, Harrison started 17th again but had a strong start and quickly made progress through the field, making a number of moves to end the race 10th. A 12th followed in the weekend’s final race as once again, the Bradford rider fought his way through the pack, missing out on another top 10 by just 0.263secs.
Unfortunately, it proved to be a tough weekend for Brayden Elliott, who had suffered a large highside at Lodge corner on Sunday. Although he was able to walk away and the team worked hard to rebuild his Kawasaki ZX-10RR, the Australian was left a bit battered and bruised.
After taking part in warm-up on Monday morning, the team decided it would be unwise to compete and instead decided to withdraw from the round to allow him time to heal before the next round at Donington Park later this month.
Dean Harrison, Bennetts British Superbike rider:
“I think the weekend as a whole has gone really well. Race One didn’t quite go to plan – adverse weather conditions probably didn’t help but everyone was in the same boat.
“All in all I think we have had a pretty consistent weekend and a good result in Race Two really boosted us all. The team has worked well, the bike has worked well, we’ve made good steps forward with the things we needed to and I think we’re in a really good place so yes, I’d say I’m a happy chappy.”
Brayden Elliott, Pirelli National Superstock rider:
“Basically, I had a massive highside at the last corner in the wet. I’m not a huge fan of the rain but I was feeling confident and I just got a bit eager on the throttle and before I knew about it I was upside down.
“There are no serious injuries but I wanted to see how I felt after warm up. I didn’t feel fantastic and I knew I wasn’t riding the way I needed to ride. It was clear it was going to be a big ask as my feet were very sore and we didn’t want to risk another accident so decided to park it for this one and just come back at Round Three and move on.”
Jonny Bagnall, Team Manager:
“On Dean’s side, it’s definitely been our best weekend to date. Finishing seventh in free practice built his confidence and although the first race was bit iffy and qualifying didn’t go how we’d have liked, we finished the weekend well with a 10th and a 12th.
“Dean was up there fighting all the way and he rode very well. I think now, something we need to work on is a team strategy to qualify better – he’s a racer not a qualifier – and has proved he can run up there with the rest of them, we just need to get him starting higher up.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t a great weekend for Brayden, I think he’s still struggling with a lack of time on the bike and after just a small mishap, he’s hit the ground hard and ended up bruised and battered.
“We made the wise choice to sit out and come back stronger next time. It’s a shame for him and his side of the garage as the lads worked very hard to get the bike back together but it was a collective decision not to race and the right one.
“Overall we had a good weekend, Dean’s had a great weekend and it gives us a load of confidence going into the roads, which is the main part of the season for us.”