Weekend of two halves at Brands Hatch for Anvil Hire TAG Racing
It was a battling weekend for the Anvil Hire TAG Racing outfit at Brands Hatch, after a set of positive free practice sessions, both James Ellison and Shaun Winfield struggled in qualifying, making race day a tough one. James picked up a ninth-place finish in race two on Sunday, after retiring from race one, with Shaun Winfield collecting a 20th and 24th place finish in both races.
Saturday’s qualifying session saw James suffer a strange crash on his opening flying lap of Q2 at Graham Hill bend, meaning he would line up for Sunday’s opening race in 18th on the grid. Shaun was unfortunately knocked out in the first stage after struggling with front end feel, he would start from 24th, after posting a 1:27.5.
From the lights both riders made great starts with James making up three places on the opening lap, with Shaun leapfrogging four places. By lap four Ellison had worked his way into 12th and began to chase down the group ahead. However, the next lap he pulled into pit-lane with brake issues.
The team worked incredibly hard to fix the issue, and soon James headed back out on track to set a lap time to denote his starting position for race two. The 37-year-old soon posted a 1:26.343, which would line him up in 12th for the second race.
Shaun quickly became embroiled in a battle with Fraser Rodgers and Luke Hedger for 18th place. The trio swapped places all race long, with Shaun heading the group for most of the race. Unfortunately, he developed a brake issue with two laps remaining, forcing him to take the flag in 20th.
By virtue of their lap times, James would start race two in 12th with Shaun 24th.
From the lights both riders made great starts, with Ellison moving up one place after the first lap, but Shaun dropped to 24th following a hard move by Sylvain Barrier. Ellison quickly settled in and started to pick his way forward, and by mid-race he sat in ninth. He battled with Tommy Bridewell and Danny Buchan for the remaining laps, but just couldn’t a way past, taking the flag in ninth, picking up all important Championship points.
After being disturb on the opening lap, Shaun quickly re-focussed and began to battle with Luke Hedger with 15 laps remaining of the race. The pair swapped and changed places, and on the final lap the 25-year-old set up a pass into the final corner, but the BMW rider shut the door.
After getting on the gas for the drag to the line Shaun lost grip with his rear tyre and lost out at the flag by 0.031 of a second.
James Ellison: “The weekend started off really strong, we put the new K-tech forks in to try and give me a little bit more feel, which is what we’ve been looking for. After testing them at Donington they gave me more feel, which is what I was after, and we started the weekend really strong, we were only 0.2 off the top.
“We we’re struggling with the softer front tyre on corner entry, so I made the call in qualifying to run the SC2 front. I went out in Q1 and got through, Q2 I went for a build-up lap, I didn’t really feel like I was pushing, and I crashed as soon as I put angle to the bike. That was the downward slope to our weekend.
“Race one I had a lot of hard to do, I felt I had a really, really good bike. I picked my way through, and worked my way into 10th and then on lap five I had no brakes, they failed so I had to pull in. Race two starting from 12th put us in a good position and we had a really, really good fight but you have to qualify well in BSB. I’m still lacking a few things with front end feel and we have some new things to try engine wise, which we will have for Thruxton, we just need to move the power around to have more mid-range power. I can’t thank the team enough we have a great bike, I’m just disappointed that I couldn’t deliver the points they deserve.”
Shaun Winfield: “The weekend has been solid overall, I beat my personal best in free practice and my pace was strong. I was only 0.1 off my lap time from free practice, and I was disappointed because I wanted to drop into the 1:26’s. Race one I made a good start and I made up a lot of places into turn one, and my pace was good, and I didn’t drop a lot of time. But then towards the end of the race I had a slight brake issue which slowed me slightly and I dropped off.
“For race two we put some new pads in and re-bled the brakes, I made a good start again but I was mugged by Barrier in the first few corners, which disturbed my rhythm. I started to battle with Luke Hedger for the whole of the race, and I just couldn’t find a way past, I tried a move on the last lap but he kept shutting the door. It’s been a good weekend, we’ve improved our pace and I’m feeling stronger ahead of Thruxton.”
Team Owner Rob Winfield: “It’s been a tough weekend, we’ve battled bad luck again which seems to be on our side at the minute. James has worked hard all weekend but crashing in qualifying wasn’t ideal, and that put us on the back foot for race one. He pushed hard in race two and brought home some valuable points.
“Shaun has improved again, he’s gone quicker than he ever has around here, he had two great races, and we know where to improve when we move to Thruxton next. I have to thank all the lads for their hard work this weekend, we’ll move on stronger as a team and look for more at Thruxton.”