Bruising weekend for Santander Salt TAG Racing at Oulton Park

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It was a tough weekend for both Shaun Winfield and Liam Delves at Oulton Park, with Shaun crashing out of Saturday’s first race and injuring himself in the process, forcing him to pull out of Sunday’s encounter. Liam Delves also endured a challenging weekend after crashing heavily in Saturday’s qualifying session, but the teenager rode maturely to bring home points in both races

After two positive free practice sessions for the pair, both Liam and Shaun headed into qualifying on Saturday morning high in confidence. Winfield improved his times by over eight tenths of a second, and would see him finish the session in 15th, just half a second off the front row.

Liam, who battled set-up issues as he headed into qualifying was confident of achieving a strong position for Saturday afternoon’s opening race, and that he did, qualifying fifth on the grid. However, as he pushed for a faster lap towards the end of the session, he crashed at turn one, causing heavy damage to his bike.

Thankfully he walked away without injury, but he was extremely battered and bruised for the race.

It would be the turn of Liam to do battle first, and as the lights went out he made a tough start, dropping down to 10th place after the opening set of laps.

He quickly regained his focus and began to chase down the group ahead, who were battling for fifth place. He posted his fastest lap with just five laps to go, but he just couldn’t pick his way through the riders ahead, safely crossing the line in 10th and gaining vital Championship points.

Shaun’s opening race would be immediately after Liam’s, and he too made a tough start, dropping to 20th after the opening lap.

But he quickly found his rhythm and began to pick his way through the pack and soon became embroiled in a battle for 15th, he and two other riders swapped places until the final lap and as Shaun lined up a pass at the second to last corner, he highsided, crashing heavily and dislocating his shoulder in the process.

After further medical examinations by the BSB medical team, Shaun was deemed to have not broken his shoulder but suffered muscle damage, ruling him out of Sunday’s race.

It was then left for Liam to fly the flag for the team on Sunday afternoon, and after a lengthy wait, his race was the final action of the day, he made a solid start and held his grid spot of 10th after the opening lap.

Still stiff and bruised from his accident on Saturday Delves pushed hard over the next few laps, until a red flag brought a halt to proceedings. The race would then be re-run over six laps with Liam making a strong start, he battled hard with Jack Nixon and Joe Talbot until the flag, crossing the line in ninth, once again collecting vital points towards his Championship challenge.

Shaun Winfield: “It’s tough to take really because our pace this weekend has been so strong, we made massive leaps forward so to crash out and injure myself is so frustrating. We worked so hard as a team to get the bike feeling better around what is a tricky track to set-up for, so I need to say thank you for the team for their hard work.

“The crash happened so quickly, I had hardly no time to react when it happened. I was pushing hard to make a pass in the final corner and the rear came around as I hit the gas, it’s my own fault and I will learn from it.

“It was tough watching the race this afternoon, but I know I’ll be fighting fit for Donington Park, I have plenty of physio sessions lined up and I’ll come back stronger. I want to thank everyone who helped me, the medics and marshals were fantastic as always.

Liam Delves: “This has been our toughest weekend of the season so far, but the important thing is we brought home points towards the Championship, albeit not a lot but it’s better than nothing.

“The team worked so hard again to get the bike set-up for the nature of the circuit, and by qualifying I felt so much more comfortable. But as I pushed for a faster lap I crashed at turn one, it was my mistake, it was a silly mistake really.

“I was really battered about after it but I knew I had to ride through the pain, so to bring home points was vital, and we did that. We’ll re-group now, look ahead to Donington Park and give it our all to get back into the Championship fight.”