Rear grip woes for Ellison as Winfield celebrates 100th BSB race at Thruxton

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07 Thruxton TAG 05-08-18 133
Anvil Hire TAG Racing picked up solid points from a challenging weekend at a red hot Thruxton this weekend, with James Ellison battling rear grip issues all weekend to collect a 12th place finish in race one, coming home in 15th in race two. Shaun Winfield enjoyed a great weekend beating his own personal records, posting a new personal best and progressing into Q2 for the first time in his career, collecting a 16th place finish in race one but he unfortunately crashed out in race two 
Following contrasting free practice sessions for both James and Shaun, where Ellison struggled with electrical issues on Friday and Shaun sat comfortably within the top 20, after posting solid and consistent times both qualifed well.

Shaun and James comfortably progressed into Q2, after improving in time once again, with Shaun posting a new personal best, a 1:15.560, around the 2.3 mile circuit which would see him line up in 17th for race one. James struggled with rear grip in the second session and could only post a time strong enough for 16th on the grid, lining up next to his team mate on row six.

From the lights on Sunday afternoon both riders made good starts, with Jamespicking up a place after the opening lap and sat in 15th with Shaun only just behind in 20th after being blocked off in the opening sequence of corners. Ellison then started to pick his way through the pack, working his way through to 13th by mid race.

The Cumbrian then made a slight mistake and dropped back to 14th, however he then began to work his way back through the field. With just two laps remaining James found himself in 13th and began to chase down Christian Iddon who sat ahead, and on the final lap James made his way past, taking the flag in 12th place.

After being blocked in the opening sequence of corners Shaun started to work his way back through the pack, and by lap seven he had worked his way into the points in 15th battling with Martin Jessopp and Fraser Rodgers.

With just six laps remaining, Shaun made a slight mistake and dropped back to 18th, however he quickly regrouped and worked his way back into the battle for 15th. The trio swapped places until the final lap, where Shaun led the group into the final sector of the track. However, the 25-year-old was passed by Jessopp with just a few corners remaining, forcing Shaun to take the flag in 16th.

Courtesy of their lap times in the opening race, James would start the second race of the afternoon in ninth place, with Shaun holding his grid position of 17th.

From the lights both riders made great starts under the beating Hampshire sun, however James was run off track in the aftermath of Chrissy Rouse’s crash at turn four, forcing him to re-join the race in 21st place.

Shaun sat comfortably in 17th after holding his grid spot from the opening lap, however on lap three he lost the front end as he pushed hard to catch the group ahead, leaving Shaun with no points from his 100th Bennetts British Superbike race.

James then started to pull his way through the pack ahead and by mid race he sat in 15th place, and began to chase down Bradley Ray ahead of him. He continued to post consistent times, but he began to lose grip with his softer SC0 rear, meaning he couldn’t catch the group ahead, leaving him to cross the line collecting a solitary point.

James Ellison: “It’s been a frustrating weekend, again we seem to have no luck at all! Friday we had an electrical issue which set us back, and we were still battling rear grip. Everything we tried just didn’t seem to work, I could get to a good lap time, but then I couldn’t seem to better it, even on fresh rubber. The track tempertaure was high which didn’t help matters, but it was the same for everyone. We’re still pushing 100% and we’re continuing to work as hard as possible to find a break through.

“In both races today I struggled with rear grip and feel, and getting caught up in the crash in race two and being hit on to the grass didn’t help. I pushed as hard as possible but it just didn’t happen today, the team and I shouldn’t be where we are, it’s disappointing but i believe we will get there. We have to put this weekend behind us and focus on Cadwell, where I want to be back on the podium.”

Shaun Winfield: “It’s been a great weekend really, i’ve posted a new personal best lap time, progressed into Q2 for the first time and battled hard throughout the weekend. We worked hard throughout free practice to find a good feeling with the bike and straight away I felt strong, the pace came to me and i felt comfortable.

“Qualifying was fantastic, we’d been working on a new strategy to help me qualify higher up the grid and it worked a treat, I went quicker and quicker each time and I posted a personal best, which i’m really happy with.

“Race one again was fantastic, i battled right throughout the race and even after a small mistake i regrouped and made my way back into the group again. It’s frustrating to not be walking away with any points, but we weren’t far away.

“Race two was unfortunate, i made a good start but i was pushing hard and i tucked the front at turn four, taking out Danny. I’m already excited to get back racing now, i feel stronger and ready to go at Cadwell. I need to thank everyone who has helped me throughout this weekend, Chris, Martin, James, Gaz and my family. It’s also great to say i’m part of the 100 races club and without my family and fiancé i wouldn’t have done it.”

Team owner Rob Winfield: “I don’t know how I feel at this minute to be honest, James has struggled with rear grip all weekend which isn’t what we expected when we came here. The weather has played it’s part because of the high track temperatures, but it’s been the same for everyone else so we can’t complain at that. We have to go back to the drawing board again and forge a plan for Cadwell because we need to get back to winning ways there.

“I’m extremely proud of Shaun, he’s had a fantastic weekend, getting into Q2 for the first time in his BSB career, posting his fastest ever lap around here and battling hard in race one. Race two was a shame because he was looking very strong, but that’s racing and he’ll be up there again at Cadwell, I’m sure of it.

“I need to thank everyone for all their hard work this weekend, they’ve not stopped and I can’t thank everyone involved in the outfit enough. We’ll take the positives from this weekend and come back stronger at Cadwell.”

James Ellison remains in 13th place of the Bennetts British Superbike standings on 60 points, with Shaun remaining on two points.

The team now have a two week break before heading to Lincolnshire for the annual ‘Party in the Park’ at Cadwell Park on August 17/18/19.