Points for Kennedy but raceday frustration for Winfield and Delves at Snetterton

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It was a battling weekend for the Santander Salt TAG Racing team at rounds four, five and six of the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike at Snetterton, with Jack Kennedy battling chatter and technical issues over the three days to collect points in Sunday’s first race, but was forced to retire from the second. Liam Delves and Shaun Winfield also endured a frustrating weekend, with Delves being taken out of third place in Sunday’s National Superstock 600 race.
It was challenging start to the weekend for both Dan and Jack, who continued to struggle with chatter onboard their respective machines. This resulted in the team and Dan deciding to pull out of the weekend, meaning Jack would ride solo.

Saturday afternoon’s 25-minute qualifying session saw the Irishman experience electrical issues, forcing him to complete just a handful of laps to line him up 18th on the grid for the afternoon’s opening race of the weekend.

Under the Norfolk sun Kennedy was forced to start from the back of the grid, after a further technical issue forced the team to work hard to get the double British Supersport Champion out on track.

As the lights went out the Irishman made a great start from the back of the grid, moving up into 18th place after the opening lap and chasing down the group of riders battling for 10th place. However, at turn four Jack outbroke himself, forcing him to run onto the grass, re-joining at the back of the field.

But the safety car was then deployed for an incident involving Andrew Irwin allowing Kennedy to latch back onto the group. Once the pace car left the track Jack began to work his work through the field, working his way into 17th place by half race distance.

He then began to chase down Tom Ward who lay sum four seconds ahead on the track with just seven laps remaining. Jack worked extremely hard, cutting down the gap to under a second with two laps to go, posting his fastest lap of the weekend in the process. However, he just ran out of laps, crossing the line in 17th.

Sunday’s morning warm-up saw Kennedy improve vastly in time, breaking into the 1:49 barrier for the first time during the weekend after the team made a breakthrough with the set-up of his machine.

By virtue of his lap time in the opening encounter, Kennedy would start from 17th for Sunday’s second race.

From the lights for Sunday second race Jack made an excellent start working his way into 15th place after the opening lap, chasing down Peter Hickman who lay ahead. Over the next seven laps he posted consistent laps in the 1:49 barrier, finding himself in a four-way dice for 12th place.

By half race distance, Jack was riding hard while still battling chatter, he went in pursuit of Gino Rea and Hickman, but on the last lap as he lined up a pass on Rea he just couldn’t find a way past, crossing the line in 13th place, picking up vital Championship points.

Thanks to his lap time achieved in race two, a personal best time for the weekend, Jack would start from 17th on the grid for the final race.

As the lights went out he made a good start but was pushed wide at the second turn, he quickly got his head down and found himself in 14th after the first lap. By lap three he became embroiled in a battle for 11th with Jason O’Halloran and Luke Mossey.

As O’Halloran began to pull away from the group, Jack started to swap places with Mossey and Peter Hickman for 11th. By half race distance he found himself on the back of the group in 15th, but unfortunately the very next lap he was forced to retire from the race with chatter issues.

It was a solid weekend for Shaun Winfield who collected 16th place during Sunday’s race, following a difficult start to the battle. After a positive set of free practice sessions on Friday, the 27-year-old would once again improve in time during Saturday’s qualifying session, lining him up in 17th place for Sunday’s 12-lap dash.

From the lights Shaun made a tough start losing five places from his grid position after the opening lap, however he quickly regrouped, and began to move his way through the field.

After five laps he’d worked his way into 17th and started to chase down David Allingham who lay ahead, but after battling back from his start he couldn’t catch the Aprilia man by the flag, crossing the line in 16th and just outside the points.

Liam Delves also enjoyed a fantastic weekend after a tough start during Friday’s free practice sessions. The teenager worked hard with his team to gain a better feeling onboard his Yamaha YZF-R6, knocking off almost five seconds, posting a 1:55.732 to qualify on the front row for Sunday encounter.

As the lights went out on Sunday morning to signal the start of Liam’s 12-lap battle, he made a great leap, holding his grid spot of third and battling for the lead in a group of four riders.

But on lap two as Liam looked to make his way forward through the leading bunch, he was sandwiched between two riders and crashed through no fault of his own. The manoeuvre was investigated by race direction who deemed no action would be taken.

Jack Kennedy: We’re still trying to work on our main issue that affects us in the race, me and the team have worked endlessly over the weekend to try and overcome this. We’ve made progress in some areas but in others it seems to come back, we fix it in one place and it occurs in another.

“We have made progress though, everytime we went out I went quicker, race one on Sunday was probably the best the bike has felt, we still had chatter but I was just about able to ride around it. We made a slight change to make the bike better for race three, but it made the bike worse.

“I felt like I was going to crash if I stayed out, so there was no point in that and possibly hurting myself and damaging the bike for little points. I did feel good but once the chatter started I felt like I was a sitting duck.

“Hopefully we can get a little test in before Silverstone but there has to be an answer to this.”

Shaun Winfield: “It has been another tough weekend for me but on the other hand I’m pleased with how we have worked as a team. From Friday we started working through a number of different settings and we did begin to improve, but it’s not where I want to be.

“After qualifying we made a few changes again to make me feel a little more comfortable on the bike and to give me some extra speed down the long straights, but my start made it really difficult and that was my fault.

“I made really hard work of it for myself but I battled through and I was pleased with my race pace, but we still have work to do ahead of Silverstone in a ten day’s time.”

Liam Delves: “It’s tough to take really, we’ve worked incredibly hard as a unit this weekend so to come away with no points after a crash that was no fault of my own is even harder to digest.

“The team worked incredibly hard over the weekend because we ended the first practice on Friday in 17th, and we then topped the morning warm-up on Sunday so you can see the rate of progression and just how much we improved.

“I made a great start after qualifying third, but on the second lap I was sandwiched in between two riders and I couldn’t do anything. It’s frustrating because we deserved better, but we’ll focus on Silverstone now where we know we are strong after the pre-season test.”

Team manager Gary Winfield: “It’s been another challenging weekend for us but we still continued to work hard with Jack who made some progress over the weekend, which was good to see but we still have a chatter issue, and we are still working around the clock in order to find the cure.

“Both Shaun and Liam have impressed again, and we know that there is defiantly more to come from Shaun, he’s still getting comfortable with his bike and at Silverstone I’m sure he’ll be there.

“It’s frustrating for Liam because he clearly had the pace to run at the front, he has impressed me again with how hard he’s worked and at Silverstone I know he’ll be running right at the front again.”

Jack Kennedy now sits 18th in the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship on 7 points, with Shaun 18th in the Pirelli Superstock 1000 Championship with 3 points and Liam ninth with 13 points in the 2020 Pirelli National Superstock 600.

Rounds seven, eight and nine of the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship take place in two weeks’ time at the Silverstone National Circuit on the 4/5/6 September.