Lady luck evades Santander Salt TAG Racing at Oulton Park
Lady luck wasn’t on the side of the Santander Salt TAG Racing outfit at Oulton Park this weekend, with a string of bad luck for Dan Linfoot across the weekend in Cheshire, finishing just outside of the points in Sunday’s third race with Shaun Winfield just missing out on a season best finish in race two and three.
Following interrupted practice sessions by virtue of typical September showers, the duo headed out in the three-tier qualifying session high in confidence.
Linny qualified 11th after progressing in to Q2, but on his final flying lap as he aimed to progress into the final stage he caught slower riders on the racing line, which slowed him down, meaning he would the start afternoon’s first race from the fourth row.
Shaun also improved in time in the opening session, posting his fastest lap of the weekend to line him up in 19th for the opening encounter.
From the lights on Saturday afternoon both Dan and Shaun made great starts, with the Yorkshireman moving up to seventh place and ‘munch’ comfortably inside the top 20.
But as Shaun began to battle with both Andy and Glenn Irwin, on the third lap of the race he was caught up in an incident involving David Allingham, which took down the Honda Racing man and Shaun, cutting his race dramatically short.
The very next lap as he began to reel in Peter Hickman who lay ahead, he quickly inherited sixth place from the Smiths Racing BMW man as he crashed out at the penultimate corner. But, at the very next corner, Linny lost the front at ‘Lodge’, forcing him out of the race.
Due to the pair being unable to take part in the re-start after heavy damage to the bikes in the incidents, both riders were forced to start Sunday’s opening race from 22nd and 24th on the grid respectively.
Following fantastic work overnight by the team, both bikes were fully rebuilt, and the pair made great leaps off the line.
After the opening lap Dan had worked his way into 19th, and on the back of the pack hunting for 14th place, with Shaun making up one spot to sit 23rd.
Although, on the very next lap Linny was forced to retire from the race due to a technical issue with his machine.
Shaun was left to fly the flag for the team, after making a strong start the race he had worked his way up into 18th place, but the group ahead had pulled a gap to him on the final six laps, meaning he rode a lonely race to flag.
By virtue of his time set Shaun started the final race from 21st, but due to not setting a time in the second race Dan was forced to start race three from 22nd.
From the lights both riders made great starts with Dan sitting 18th and Shaun 23rd, but fighting for 20th in a group of three.
Over the next few laps Linfoot continued to work his way forward, but by half race distance he struggled to continue his fight through the pack due to front end issues, with the Yorkshireman eventually crossing the line in 16th.
After his good start to the race, Shaun held his 23rd place and began to push hard for the group ahead, although after making a slight mistake halfway through the race he lost the tow to the group, meaning he had to settle for 19th when the flag came out, just missing out on a season’s best finish.
Dan Linfoot: “It’s been a challenge really, I only had one race out of three to be fair. I qualified as I expected, I just missed out on Q3 in tenth. From the start in race one I got away well and I sat in eighth, but then I crashed on Irwin’s oil, which wasn’t ideal but it’s racing I suppose.
“I didn’t have a lap time for race two because I couldn’t restart it, so I started from the back of the grid and a little problem from the crash lingered so I had to pull in, which I was gutted about. I can’t fault the team for that, they worked so hard to rebuild the bike so I need to thank them for that.
“And race three I started from the back of the grid again, but I ended up fading towards the end of the race and I finished 16th, which is poor, it doesn’t even register with me. I had no mechanical problems, there wasn’t much wrong, but I just didn’t have a good feeling in the race, so it’s onwards and upwards to Assen.”
Shaun Winfield: “This weekend has been a little tough, we started out on Friday and we worked so hard to get the lap time down to where it should be which I was pleased with. I had nowhere to go in race one, I was a sitting duck and nothing I could do could have avoided the incident, but that’s racing.
“Sunday was tough again, I felt ok on the bike but I couldn’t get in to a strong rhythm during the race and that set me back. I’m looking ahead to Assen now, it’s a circuit that I love and I’m confident we’ll be much stronger there.”
Team manager Gary Winfield: “It’s been a chaotic weekend from start to finish really. The weather caused a few issues during practice, and qualifying didn’t go to plan, neither did race one on Saturday.
“The whole team have worked around the clock this weekend, we have built the bikes from the bottom up after the crashes on Saturday, which wasn’t ideal, but the lads have been brilliant. We need to go back to the drawing board to find out exactly where we are going wrong, but I’m confident we will get it right when we head to Assen next time out.”
Dan Linfoot now sits 14th in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship on 74 points.