Battling performance from Linfoot and Winfield at the Party in the Park
It was a battling weekend that was filled with in-different weather conditions for the Santander Salt TAG Racing team at Oulton Park this Bank Holiday weekend, with Dan Linfoot collecting a pair of 13th place finishes in both races. Shaun Winfield enjoyed a solid meeting, posting a brand-new personal best in qualifying, finishing Monday’s first race in 21st place and unfortunately crashing out of race two.
After three solid free practice sessions, both riders worked hard on dry and wet set-ups in different conditions, sending the pair into qualifying high in confidence.
Following a short rain shower prior to qualifying, the track had fully dried in time for the three-tier session, which both Dan and Shaun improved strongly in time.
Winfield posted a brand-new personal best around the 2.6 mile in Q1, a 1.36.9, which saw him out-qualify James Ellison, Glenn Irwin and Xavi Fores, lining him up in 21st for the opening race.
Linfoot progressed quickly in to the second stage of qualifying, after setting his fastest lap time of the weekend. The Yorkshireman improved in time further during Q2, posting a 1.35.795, which would leave him 13thon the grid for Monday’s opening Bennetts BSB race.
Under sunny skies on Bank Holiday Monday, both riders made great starts from the lights after a delayed start to the race due to track conditions.
Linfoot sat in 11th and started to battle with Luke Mossey, Dean Harrison, Brad Ray, Andrew Irwin. He continued to battle throughout the race, swapping and changes places throughout the 17 laps, but he crossed the line in grid position, after just losing out on the final lap to Dean Harrison.
Winfield equally made a great start and after the opening two laps he found himself in 18th, and he began to catch the battle for 15th place. Unfortunately, as he chased the group ahead, he ran on in to the gravel at the final corner and dropped back to 25th.
The 25-year-old quickly regrouped and moved his way back in to 21st place, but as he chased down James Hillier in 20th he unfortunately ran out of laps, just missing out on the top 20.
By virtue of their lap times in the opening encounter Dan would start race two in 15th and Shaun 22nd.
Race two, once again run under sunny skies, saw both Dan and Shaun get off to great starts, with Linfoot running 12th after the opening lap, and Shaun worked his way up in to 18th.
Winfield began to battle hard in a group of five, pushing for 15th place however on lap five he crashed out of the race at turn one as he pushed for the point scoring positions.
By mid-race Linfoot had dropped back to 14th, but he was keeping a charging Peter Hickman at bay as he went in hot pursuit of Luke Mossey just ahead.
The Yorkshireman continued to push hard as he reeled in the OMG Suzuki man, it took him until the final lap and as he powered out of the final corner and up the hill, Dan crossed the line ahead of Mossey taking 13th by 0.028, collecting vital Championship points.
It was a challenging weekend for Chris Walker and Tom Christie in the team’s sidecar outfit, after weather interrupted session, the pair qualified 12th but failed to finish Monday’s race.
Dan Linfoot: “These sort of results are frustrating but I’m trying not to think of them because we need to be a lot better than this, it’s been a tough weekend and I haven’t felt at one with the bike, but we made a massive step in race two, even though the result didn’t show that.
“I was faster, more consistent and It’s a big step forward, so it has been a little bit of an eye opener. I didn’t really expect to struggle like we have this weekend but on the plus side I haven’t thrown it at the scenery, we’ve picked up a few more points, not as many as I wanted but it’s still something towards my Showdown challenge.
“Hopefully Donington Park will be a better track for us, it’s onwards and upwards, so we’ll try again there.”
Shaun Winfield: “It’s been a battling weekend really, we’ve worked really hard in making the bike better and we’ve done that. I was pleased with qualifying, posting my new personal best lap time and out-qualifying the riders that I did certainly made me happy.
“Race one I got a great start and I was chasing down the guys battling for 15th,but I ran into the gravel at the final corner after out-braking myself and I had to re-group quickly, so to finish just outside of the top 20 was ok.
“Race two I made another good start and I was feeling comfortable, but the crash was strange, I lost the front end late on in the corner and that was frustrating. I have enjoyed the weekend on a whole, I’m feeling more and more comfortable on the bike and I can’t wait to get back out at Donington.”
Team owner Rob Winfield: “It’s been a challenging weekend with the weather conditions and the amount of changes we’ve made with both machines, but I’m extremely proud of how both Dan and Shaun have ridden this weekend.
“Dan has come away with Championship points, although it’s not the amount he or we expected he still came home safely, which is good. He and his side of the garage made good steps forward in race two and hopefully he can kick on at Donington.
“I’m proud of Shaun, he has posted his fastest lap ever around here and that’s no mean feat at Oulton. He’s made some great steps forward and I’m sure he’ll kick on at Donington, he’s getting closer and closer to the top 15.”
Dan Linfoot sits 14th in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship on 16 points, 24 points outside the top six.
The Bennetts British Superbike Championship will now travel to Donington Park for the third round of the season, May 24/25/26.