Frustration for Ellison as Winfield picks up first points of year at Snetterton
It was a frustrating weekend for the Anvil Hire TAG Racing squad at Snetterton, where bad luck thwarted James Ellison’s attack on the top six, taking an eighth place finish in race one and crashing out of race two. Shaun Winfield battled set up issues all weekend, succeeding in his quest for points, collecting two top 15 finishes.
Following a set of successful free practice sessions, both James Ellison and Shaun Winfield struggled during the three tier Datatag qualifying session with issues that saw the Cumbrian set a time strong enough for 11th on the grid for Sunday’s first race. Winfield rode around with front tyre wear issues and posted his fastest lap time of the weekend to qualify 22nd.
Under cloudy skies, Sunday’s opening race saw both James and Shaun make good starts, however after an incident at turn two, where three riders crashed out, James was pushed wide and found himself at the back of the pack.
Following a safety car deployment, Ellison started to work his way through field and by lap eight he found himself in ninth position, posting lap times quicker than the group ahead.
With just three laps remaining he found his way past Hickman for seventh, but unfortunately made a slight mistake which saw him drop back to eighth, where he eventually finished the race.
After the safety car came back in to the pits on lap four, Shaun found himself in 13th, although he dropped back to 16th after his tyres reduced in temperature. With five laps to go he found himself in 15th, however he lost the tow to the group ahead and rode a lonely race to collect his first points of the season.
By virtue of their lap times in the first race James would start race two in sixth, and at the foot of the second row, with Shaun 18th.
As the lights went out to signal the start of race two, James made a great start and moved his way into fifth after the opening lap, and looking to chase down the leading group. The next lap he pushed his way into fourth place, but three corners later, he crashed out of the race after clipping the curb.
It was left to Shaun to fly the flag for the team, and after the opening few laps he found himself battling for 15th place with Mason Law and Sylvain Barrier. By lap five Shaun lost out in the battle with Barrier and dropped back to 17th.
James Ellison: “It’s been a somewhat frustrating weekend, we’ve made steady progress and we’ve got a good bike but we seem to be a little bit off the pace, but not a lot. We tried different setup’s and we reverted back to the softer front tyre, which worked brilliantly.
“Race one after the crashes I was second last, so I had my work cut out. The bike was working great, and I picked my way through the pack but then my visor started steaming up and I lost out to Hicky on the last lap.
“Race two I got away well and I wasn’t pushing at all, but then I hit the curb and I went down. I’m really gutted for the team, they’ve worked so hard, but I’ll be back stronger at Knockhill.”
Shaun Winfield: “It’s always a good thing to walk away with points, and I said I wanted to do that before we came here, so that I’m pleased about. However, my pace hasn’t been as strong as I wanted it to be and we had a few issues early on in the weekend, which put us on the back foot.
In race one the bike wasn’t working right, we had a front end issue and I couldn’t get near my personal best lap time. But I rode around the issue and I brought it home in the points. Race two I got a better start and I was battling with Mason and Sylvain, who made a harsh move on me, but that’s racing. It pushed me wide and that didn’t help because I lost sight of the guys ahead and once they’d gone I had a lonely race, but it’s points again and I’m looking forward to Knockhill where I want to build on this result.”
Team Owner Rob Winfield:“It’s been a challenging weekend really, James has come here with new parts and he’s worked hard with his team to get it to gel, he rode strongly in race one and picked up some solid points after being at the back. It’s unfortunate that he crashed out in race two, but he hit the curb and crashed out, which is disappointing.
“Shaun has rode well, he’s overcome some set up issues and worked really hard with Chris and his team. He wanted to be in the points and that determination has pulled him along, so I want him to build on this now.
“Knockhill will be tough, but it’s important that we bounce back now, forget this weekend and move on. As a team we’re focussed, and we will be stronger next time out.”
James Ellison now sits 13th in the Championship standings on 38 points, with Shaun Winfield entering the Championship standings with 2 points.
The team now have three weeks before returning to action North of the border at Knockhill over the weekend July 6/7/8.