Solid points for Santander Salt TAG Racing at Thruxton

00
R07 Thruxton 04-08-19 TAG 106

It was once again a weekend of two halves for the Santander Salt TAG Racing outfit at the seventh round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Thruxton, with Dan Linfoot and Shaun Winfield enjoying a positive set of practice and qualifying sessions, but tyre woes on a red hot raceday would hinder the pair in both outings on Sunday afternoon.

The weekend got off to a strong start for the pair who ended the three free practice sessions high in confidence after working hard on tyre life and race pace. Linfoot resided well inside the top ten and Shaun comfortably inside the top 25 on combined times.

The three-tier qualifying session on Saturday afternoon saw both riders qualify in solid positions for the opening race on Sunday, although ‘Linny’ couldn’t progress out of Q2 after posting a 1:15 due to being held up by slower riders on track, lining him up in 11th for the opening race.

Shaun would qualify in 24th place after being held up on his flying lap, where he still improved in time by eight tenths of a second, posting his fastest lap of the weekend in the process.

Under sunny skies on Sunday, the opening encounter got underway with both Dan and Shaun making strong starts.

Linfoot dropped back one place to 12th after the opening lap, but he was at the foot of the group dicing for the lead.

After swapping places with Luke Mossey and Xavi Fores for tenth place during the opening set of laps, by mid race the 31-year-old Yorkshireman lost grip with the harder ‘X’ tyre and dropped back in the pack to 15th.

He continued to ride hard, holding off challenges from James Ellison and Luke Stapleford in the dying laps to cross the line in the final points scoring position, taking 15th.

After a strong opening lap Shaun found himself in 19th place, and battling hard with Matt Truelove and Ben Currie. The trio began to swap places which allowed the chasing pack to join the battle.

However, with just five laps to go Winfield developed rear grip issues due to the high track temperatures, forcing him to nurse his machine home in 24th after dropping away from the battle for 18th.

By virtue of their lap times in the opening race Dan would line up in sixth place, and at the foot of the second row, with Shaun starting 25th ahead of Dean Hipwell and David Allingham.

With spits of rain falling the race was declared a dry race and both made great starts from the lights.

Dan held his grid spot of sixth after the opening, but quickly dropped back to eighth becoming involved in a battle for third with the leading group of riders.

The rain started to fall heavier and with 12 laps to go the red flag then came out forcing the riders to return to the pit-lane. The re-start was run over 13 laps with all riders starting from their position on lap seven which for Dan was ninth, and from the lights he made a great leap off the line running seventh.

Linny’ then started to work his way forward and found himself in fifth place with ten laps to go, he began to chase down Bridewell and Hickman ahead, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process.

Dan then worked past the Smiths BMW man to take third and then began to chase down Brookes and Irwin at the front. But with six laps to go the red flag came out for a second time after an oil spill on track.

The eight-lap re-start saw Dan start from third on the grid, and he made a strong start running in fifth with the leading group. But, on the third lap he was pushed wide at the opening corner by Tyco BMW’s Christian Iddon, dropping Dan down to ninth with four laps to go.

He battled hard to work his way through the field, but he dropped to 10th as the flag came out, collecting more vital Championship points.

Shaun made a great start and made up one place on the opening lap, holding 24th and he quickly started to battle with Hipwell, Coventry, Allingham and Barbera.

On lap eight he made a mistake and dropped back, losing the tow to the group ahead. After the re-start Shaun made a great start and ran 24th after the opening lap of 13.

The 26-year-old began to battle with Hipwell, Currie, Allingham and Barbera, swapping places each lap, with Shaun 24th as the red flag came out again. Following the stoppage, Shaun finished the eight lap second re-start in 20th, after a strong battle with a group of four riders.

Dan Linfoot: “I’m really disappointed with how this weekend has finished. We had really strong pace throughout practice and our tyre life was fairly strong but unfortunately my qualifying session didn’t go to plan due to factors out of my control.

“For race one we tried the ‘X’ tyre and at the star of the race it worked really well, however it dropped away at the end which I was really surprised at because we’d done our homework on it. Nevertheless, I still put in a good lap which gave me a good grid position for race two.

“I feel slightly hard done by the second red flag because in the first rerun I was running really strong pace and fighting for the lead which I was really really happy with.

“I’ve got to take the positives though, we’ve walked away with some points and all my focus now turns to Cadwell. We will be working hard following the test on the Thursday before and I expect to be at the sharp end of the action.”

Shaun Winfield: “I’m really disappointed with how this weekend has finished. We had really strong pace throughout practice and our tyre life was fairly strong but unfortunately my qualifying session didn’t go to plan due to factors out of my control.

“For race one we tried the ‘X’ tyre and at the star of the race it worked really well, however it dropped away at the end which I was really surprised at because we’d done our homework on it. Nevertheless, I still put in a good lap which gave me a good grid position for race two.

“I feel slightly hard done by the second red flag because in the first rerun I was running really strong pace and fighting for the lead which I was really really happy with.

“I’ve got to take the positives though, we’ve walked away with some points and all my focus now turns to Cadwell. We will be working hard following the test on the Thursday before and I expect to be at the sharp end of the action.”

Team manager Gary Winfield: “It’s been another strange weekend for us really, we showed strong pace in free practice but we suffered a few issues in Q2 that were out of our control with both Dan and Shaun being held up.

“In race one Dan struggled with tyre wear which we didn’t expect, but the harder ‘X’ tyre didn’t work and we learnt from that. The second race was chaos, we had two stoppages and in the second re-start Dan showed strong pace running third, but it was stopped again and in the re-start we struggled, again for reasons out of our control.

“Shaun has worked hard all weekend, but he struggled in the races which he isn’t happy with at all but we walk away from here with our eyes on Cadwell and we want to attack it as much as possible with both riders.

Dan Linfoot now sits 12th in the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship on 73 points.

The team now have another two-week break before heading to Lincolnshire for the eighth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park, August 16/17/18.