Contrasting weekend for Santander Salt TAG Racing at Snetterton
It was a weekend of two halves for the Santander Salt TAG Racing team at the sixth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, after a strong qualifying session on Saturday for the duo Sunday’s races proved tricky with Linfoot and Winfield battling hard throughout the two encounters.
Following a strong set of free practice sessions where the pair worked hard on their feeling with their machines, both headed in to Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session high in confidence.
In Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session both Dan and Shaun improved in time, posting their fastest lap times of the weekend.
Linfoot progressed in to Q3 after posting a 1:48.410, but after a red flag early on in the final session, Linny held his position of fifth on the grid for the opening encounter.
Shaun improved on his fastest lap of the weekend, notching up a 1:51.223, seven tenths quicker than his best time posted in the earlier final free practice session, but he just missed out on Q2.
After a lengthy delay due to track conditions the race got underway with Dan andShaun both making great leaps off the line.
‘Linny’ dropped to seventh place after the opening lap and began to battle hard for position with Peter Hickman, Luke Mossy and Andrew Irwin. But with nine laps to go Dan developed issues with the front-end of his machine, meaning he dropped back in the pack, eventually crossing the line in 14th, collecting two Championship points.
After his good start Winfield dropped back to 29th after the opening lap, but he quickly re-grouped and started to work his way forward. The 26-year-old began to battle with Dean Hipwell and Ben Currie, but by the end of the race the duo had gapped Shaun, leaving him to cross the line in a lonely 21st place.
By virtue of their lap times from the opening race, Dan would start race two from 15thon the grid with Shaun 29th.
For the second race both Dan and Shaun made strong starts with Linfoot holding his grid spot of 15th and Shaun moving up to 22nd.
The Yorkshireman quickly became embroiled in a battle with Claudio Corti, but the 31-year-old struggled to find a way past the Team WD-40 rider. However, on lap six Linfoot found his way through and went in pursuit of the group ahead.
After a lot of swapping places with Bradley Ray, Dan quickly found a way past the Suzuki man and started to pull away. Dan then started to chase down Xavi Fores and Luke Mossy who were ahead, but he just couldn’t find a way past on the final lap and crossed the line in 11th place as the top Yamaha, collecting more solid points for his Championship challenge.
After moving up seven places on the opening lap, Shaun found himself in a battle with Dean Hipwell and TT legend Dean Harrison for 19th place. However, the trio was quickly joined by the chasing three of Ellison, Allingham and Coventry, and the freight-train began to swap places.
But with ten laps to go he made a slight mistake and dropped back to 23rd place, meaning he lost the tow to the group ahead. He then rode a lonely race for the remaining laps, crossing the line in 22nd place.
The team’s sidecar outfit enjoyed a positive weekend after overcoming technical issues on Friday, Chris Walker and Ash Hawes qualified in eighth place.
Saturday’s first race saw the duo cross the line in eighth, collecting a sixth-place finish in Sunday’s second race collecting ten points.
Dan Linfoot: “I’m walking away from this weekend slightly frustrated. Practice and qualifying were both positive and I felt really strong on the bike. I felt I could have qualified better but I made a slight mistake on my flying lap which cost me but I was still fifth on the grid.
“In the first race I got a decent start but then after a few laps I struggled to stop the bike, which meant people could pass me. Although this set me back I still rode hard and gave it 100% and walked away with a few championship points.
“The boys worked incredibly hard inbetween races to fix the issues, but starting from 15th on the grid made it really difficult. I was stuck behind Corti for a long time and once I got passed I picked up to the group ahead and was close to finishing within the top 10.
“It’s not what we expected but we’re confident we’ll get these issues resolved for the next round at Thruxton, where I know I can be really strong.”
Shaun Winfield: “It wasn’t a great weekend really, we struggled a lot on Friday to find the right direction with the set up, but by the end of the day we started to make some improvements and we went a lot quicker. Then we went into qualifying and we found the pace we needed to be at, I was 0.2 off my personal best so I was happy about that.
“We went into the races today feeling confident. I didn’t get a great start off the line in race one, I got stuck behind David Allingham in turn one and two and he kind of boxed me in. I could feel some of the riders behind me coming past and i ended up behind Fraser Rogers. It set me back for the first few laps, then once I got past him I started making progress but the riders in front were just too far ahead.”
“Race two was a lot better and I got a good start again, I went to the left of Dean Hipwell who was just in front of me and nearly got boxed in again. I went into turn two and saw David Allingham and thought ‘i’m not getting stuck behind him again!’ so I went up the inside and in the first few laps I was going really well.”
“It’s been a strange weekend really because in practice we were really strong and both riders felt good. We had a such a strong set-up for qualifying and both Dan and Shaun qualified well.
“But then come race day and something just didn’t click, we struggled again but Dan and Shaun rode well. Race two Dan felt stronger, but we still have work to do ahead of Thruxton, we know we have to get to the bottom of the issues.
“We need to thank all of our partners and sponsors for their support, a lot of them have attended this weekend and it’s been great to host them.”
Dan Linfoot now sits 11th in the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship on 66 points.
The team now have a two week break before heading south to Hampshire and Thruxton on August 2/3/4 for round seven of the series.