Top ten performance from Santander Salt TAG Racing at Assen
It was a battling weekend for the Santander Salt TAG Racing squad at the TT Circuit Assen, after battling through front end issues over the three days Dan Linfoot finished Sunday’s second race in ninth place after retiring from race one. Shaun Winfield also enjoyed a strong second race crossing the line in 19th after failing to finish race one due to brake issues.
The weekend got off to a strong start for the pair, with both Dan and Shaun working hard on their race set-ups throughout the three free practice sessions.
Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session saw both Linfoot and Winfield improve on their times, posting their quickest laps of the weekend in both Q1 and Q2.
Shaun failed to progress in to the second stage of the session, however he posted a 1:38.815 to line him up in 24th for Sunday’s opening race.
Dan made it through in to Q2, but after making a mistake on his final flying lap at the last chicane, he lost time meaning he was forced to start from 14th on the grid, missing out on the final stage by just two tenths of a second.
Under the Dutch sun the opening race got underway on Sunday with Dan making up a handful of places to end the first lap in fifth place, with Shaun 25th.
On lap three the Yorkshireman had made his way into fourth place, and sat on the back of Josh Brookes in third, but then the safety car was deployed due to an incident. Two laps later the car came back into pit-lane and the race was back underway.
Linny then began to battle with Luke Stapleford for fourth place, holding off Jason O’Halloran. But by half-race distance he started to drop back due to a technical issue, retiring from the race with four laps to go.
Shaun began to battle with Josh Owens and Matt Truelove after the opening set of laps, and after the safety car came back into the pits he started to chase down Sam Coventry ahead. But, he started to develop brake issues, which forced him to pull in to pits with six laps to go.
By virtue of their lap times set in the opening race, Dan would start the second race from 10th with Shaun starting 24th.
From the lights in race two both riders made strong starts with Dan moving to ninth after the opening lap, and Shaun battling for 22nd in a four-man dice. Linny sat on the back of Bradley Ray who lay ahead, hunting down the leading group.
By mid-race Dan held 10th place and was still trying to chase down the leading group, he swapped places with Bradley Ray with four laps to go and went in pursuit of Peter Hickman in eighth, however he just ran out laps, taking a strong ninth place finish.
Shaun began to pick off the riders ahead, laying in 21st ahead of Truelove, Francis and Owens, then he began to chase down Coventry who lay ahead.
But when two riders ahead pulled in due to technical issues, that left Shaun to hold off Josh Owens during the closing laps. However, the Liverpudlian was forced to retire with three laps to go leaving Shaun to take 19th when the flag came out.
Dan Linfoot: “It’s been a positive end to a challenging weekend really, we seem to have overcome the front-end issues we have been having and in race two, I felt a lot more comfortable and I was pleased to finish in ninth after the first race we had.
“I can’t fault everyone’s effort in the team this weekend, they have worked their backsides off to get us to where we need to be, and I can’t thank them enough for their hard work.
“We need to focus on having a strong final two rounds now, I feel that is possible and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do at Donington. Last time we were there it was a difficult weekend but I’m more a lot more confident now.”
Shaun Winfield: “I’ve enjoyed this weekend a lot and to finish 19th and inside the top 20 is positive. Our lap times were good this weekend, and certainly in qualifying to post the lap I did was great.
“We had a small issue in race one which I had to retire from the race because of, and that was a shame, but the lads worked so hard in between the races to find the issue, fix the problem and make me feel more comfortable in race two.
“The second race was a lot better, I felt confident on the brakes and I enjoyed a good battle aswell. I have gained more confidence from this weekend and I’m hoping for more of the same at Donington, it’s my home race and I want to walk away from that with a smile on my face.”
Team manager Gary Winfield: “This weekend has been another battle, but we’ve come through it the other side and we’re happy with the progress that we have made. Dan is always giving us good feedback, as is Shaun, and we made good progress in the second race.
“We have found a good breakthrough and it’s something good to work from at Donington. I want us to now move from this and focus on having a good weekend at the next round, we need to keep our heads up and I believe we’ll have a strong end to the year.”
Dan Linfoot now sits 15th in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship on 81 points.
The penultimate round of the 2019 Bennetts British Superbike Championship will take place in two weeks’ time at Donington Park, October 4/5/6.