25 - June - 2012


ben_burke_podium_knockhill_2012r.jpgSeton Tuning Yamaha's Ben Burke recorded his third straight Metzeler National Superstock 600 victory to extend his championship lead to 12 points, as the MCE British Superbike Championship headed north of the border to Knockhill (22-24 June).

The 23-year old Australian from Orange, NSW dominated all weekend, topping the timing sheets in all but one session, scooping pole position ahead of the race. Teammates Bjorn Estment and Mark Wilkinson also posted strong qualifying results to line up in ninth and twelfth respectively.

With a new three rider per row grid formation at the narrow 1.27 mile Fife circuit, Ben stole the advantage from the lights, powering into the first turn to lead the 29-strong field. Despite constant pressure from local wildcard rider, Michael Robertson, Ben held onto the lead throughout the first third of the race leaving British Eurosport commentator Jack Burnicle to pay testament to the outright speed of the Seton Tuning Yamaha R6.

Bjorn, now in sixth and chasing a possible podium slot looked to be settling into a solid rhythm, as did Mark who had moved up a couple of slots into tenth. Unfortunately, the rain that often blights Knockhill began to show it’s ugly head at the Real Radio Hairpin and race direction red flagged proceedings.

A quick restart and shortened race distance of just ten laps was called, with the riders forming the grid as they finished lap seven. Ben once again powered into the lead from pole position with Robertson hot on his heels as the front pair made a break from the chasing pack. Bjorn and Mark both made strong starts again and it looked as though Knockhill would provide a high tally of points for the trio.

However, the tight technical Scottish tarmac was set to claim another victim as Bjorn high-sided out of the Chicane causing the red flag to be waved for the second time after just six completed laps. With mixed emotions, Ben took first place and 25 points, with Mark elevated to tenth and a season’s best courtesy of Bjorn’s non-finish. With James Rose down in fourth, pre-season title favourite Ben now enjoys a healthy 12-point lead in the championship as the series moves on to Oulton Park in early July.

mark_wilkinson_knockhill_2012r.jpg           bjorn_estment_knockhill_2012r.jpg

Sam Warren looked to Knockhill to re-ignite his challenge on the title race, the lead held by fellow Yamaha rider Kennedy. With his debut Supersport victory claimed on Scottish tarmac 12 months ago in the Sprint, Sam knew both he and the Seton Tuning Yamaha had the ability to secure at least a podium finish this time round.

Taking up his slot on the outside of the front row, Sam held his spot as Richards and McConnell maintained their grid positions just ahead. Pulling a half second gap to Kennedy in fourth, Sam made the move past the second of the Triumphs to begin his hunt for Richards’ lead. Unfortunately, the Safety Car deployment on lap 5 disrupted the battle, with Richards cleverly slowing the pack down ahead of the restart for lap 9. Richards made the break, and Sam held on to second until lap 15, when Kennedy finally made his pass into the hairpin stick.

With just a handful of laps remaining, Sam used all of his ability to maintain his position and a well-deserved 16-points with his fourth podium of the season at the chequered flag.

sam_warren_knockhill_2012r.jpgWith a few minor tweaks made to the Seton Tuning Yamaha R6 over night, Sam looked set for another strong result in Sunday’s 25 lap Main Event for the Motorpoint British Supersport riders. From the lights, Iddon stole the holeshot making it a quartet of three-cylinder Triumphs at the sharp end as the field completed the opening lap. Quickly gaining a few places on the second circulation, Sam looked strong in fourth as he bridged the gap to McConnell.

Once again, the Safety Car would come into play, this time on lap 3, and as the lights went out for the restart as the riders crested the hill, Sam would post the first of the fastest laps of the race with a 50.314s, ducking under Wilson’s existing lap record as he strengthened his challenge at the sharp end.

Looking set to record another podium and to break the monopoly of the Triumphs, Sam’s race would come to a prematurely abrupt and spectacular end with one of the biggest high-sides in recent history as the field flowed down the hill and through Butchers on lap 8.

Sam will now look to the second visit of the championship to his home circuit of Oulton Park to add more points to his season’s tally (6-8 July).
Ben Burke: “It was another fantastic weekend and I was on the pace straight away. I was easily quickest in Friday practice, however I did have my first crash of the season at the end of the session. Luckily the bike and myself weren't too damaged and the team had the bike repaired with plenty of time for first qualifying. I again led the field posting a time .4 of a second faster than second place. On Saturday it was raining for the second qualifying session so my first pole position was secured. The result in this session was a huge relief for me as I previously had not been fast in the wet. I was leading for most of the session but got knocked back to second in the final stages. For me this was a huge personal victory.

In the race I felt comfortable throughout and was really happy with my third win of the season. I would like to congratulate Mark for his first top 10 and wish both Bjorn and Sam a speedy recovery. A big mention goes out to all of our sponsors especially Linxcel who I forgot to mention on the podium! Thanks to all involved for a great weekend.”

Sam Warren: “Knockhill has bitten me again! Having had a reasonable qualifying and good first race where we managed to get on the podium again, we were looking to improve the bike. In warm-up we tried something that didn't work so went back in the other direction for the feature race. I got an unusual good start and the bike seemed to be working better. Then, after the safety car I must have run slightly wide at turn 3 and had the crash. I'm pretty devastated to be honest. Apologies to the team and my supporters and a big thank you to the team for working so hard this weekend.” 

Mark Wilkinson: "Brilliant weekend for me at Knockhill. The Seton Tuning Yamaha Team worked hard all weekend to give me a good result. We started off the weekend well taking my best qualifying position of the year with 12th. The race was a little more difficult as the weather closed in bringing out the red flag on lap 8 making it a two-part race. I then had to refocus for the 10-lap restart. I made a good start but unfortunately my teammate Bjorn had a nasty crash which saw another red flag and the end of the race. I'm really pleased to eventually take 10th position. It’s my first top 10 finish of the year and puts me in good form as we head back to Oulton Park for the next round. Thanks to the entire Seton Tuning Yamaha Team for a fantastic weekend and also to my sponsors back home; Plaza Auto Sales, RompDesign, The Oil Warehouse, Cumagutsa, GSAutomotive and DHEngineering.”

Bjorn Estment: “What a weekend. I came in not really knowing what to expect, but had a funny feeling of a strange but measured confidence in my gut! The weekend progressed and after 12 mins of free practice whilst lying P3 my rear tyre had enough of constantly being tested faster and faster and let go sending me into the first of two rather quick high-sides, however I avoided any serious injury but the bike had jumped the fence and was looking very sorry for itself! The Seton crew turned it round and got the bike rebuilt and ready for Q1, which I was eagerly keen to get on with. I was running a respectable P4 before I really threw the dice and had put in a first sector a few hundredths off pole and then all hell broke loose as I and another slower rider tangled in the fast flowing Clark’s curve resulting in the second of the three incidents for a really testing weekend! Unscathed, we qualified 9th and the Seton boys once again showed their effort and rebuilt the bike ready for Q2. This was a wet session and I was like a kid at Christmas, a couple of warm up laps and then straight to P1 which was nice to see again on a track I had not fancied to begin with! I boxed the bike early and left the others to play for the last 12 mins of the session and was very satisfied with our wet set-up.

Race day was upon us and after a good start and solid first 8 laps I was comfortably placed 6th and fighting for the podium until the red flag came out and we had to do it all again. This was to work against me as I could not find my rhythm and once again fell victim to Clark’s curve with a nasty high-side resulting in the red flag and the end to a very up and down weekend. I firmly put to the test the quality Spyke suits, Arai helmet and Weise gloves this weekend. A massive thanks to Phil and the team and especially NFB Financial services for their continued support in making my dreams a reality! Well done to Ben on the win and lead and great top ten finish for Wilko.”

Phil Seton, Team Owner: “That was another weekend of ups and downs, literally for Sam and Bjorn! Sam put in an excellent result in the Sprint and we were hopeful of another strong performance in the Main Event. It was a really disappointing end to the weekend when he had looked so strong.

Ben was exemplary over the weekend. He was the fastest in all but one session and is really stamping his authority over the championship with his third straight win. He is looking so strong and rode perfectly, not taking any silly chances or making any mistakes and deserved the win.

Bjorn has been working really hard to keep inside the top ten, and was looking really good for a possible debut podium. Despite crashing out we can take a lot of positives from a strong performance to Oulton.

Mark is having a good run and it was great for him to secure his first top 10 finish of the season in front of his family who are over from Australia. Mark has made so much progress this season.

A huge thanks to the whole team with great support from Linxcel this weekend on a mammoth job well done and for getting the bikes back out on track when our backs were up against it. A big shout out to Mark Hill, Chris Beedon, Sam Palmer, Scott McClennan, Daniel Pickett, Ciaran McCann and the rest of team for working super hard.”

 Images © Steve Hutchings / Matt Hutchings


Results - Knockhill

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Protected by Datatag
Race 1 Result:
1. Richards, 2. Kennedy, 3. Warren, 4. McConnell, 5. Cooper 

Race 2 Result:
1. McConnell, 2. Richards, 3. Kennedy, 4. Wilson, 5. Mossey, DNF Warren

Championship Points:
 1. Kennedy - 182.5, 2. Richards - 164, 3. McConnell - 129, 4. Warren - 123, 5. Wilson - 121

Metzeler National Superstock 600
1. Burke, 2. Robertson, 3. Blackshaw, 4. Rose, 5. Paulo, 10. Wilkinson, DNF Estment

Championship Points
1. Burke - 116, 2. Rose - 104, 3. Dixon - 72, 4. Whitaker - 72, 5. Jackson - 69, 14. Estment - 26, 20. Wilkinson - 12


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