Strong finish to 2020 for Santander Salt TAG Racing at Brands Hatch

The Santander Salt TAG Racing team head home from the final round of the 2020 Bennetts British Superbike Championship full of smiles after a strong weekend for both Shaun Winfield and Liam Delves.
After a solid set of free practice sessions in cold and mixed conditions on Friday, both Liam and Shaun headed into Saturday’s qualifying session full of confidence of gaining good grid positions for their respective races, with Shaun working hard with his team to understand the all-new Honda Fireblade.

In damp conditions Shaun rode impressively with an injured shoulder, and would qualify 27th on the grid for Sunday’s encounter. Liam also endured a damp track for his qualifying session, but worked his way neatly into 12th place for his opening race on Saturday afternoon.

From the lights the 20-year-old made a good start and worked his way into the top ten after the opening set of laps, and by mid-race distance he had settled in well and sat on the back of the leading group. With two laps to go he was sat in fourth and looking to hunt down the leaders.

On the last lap Liam lined up a move for the final podium spot, but he just couldn’t make the move stick and crossed the line in fourth place.

Sunday came with Delves kicking off the action for the team, once again making a great leap off the line he ran within the top ten for the opening set of laps. By mid-race and after setting the fastest lap, Liam once again found himself in fourth, and on the back of the leading group.

He diced for position until the flag, eventually crossing the line in fourth, just one tenth of a second off the podium.

Sunday afternoon saw Shaun get off to a poor start for his race, dropping back to 32nd after the opening lap, but he quickly re-grouped and began to pick his way through the pack ahead. With four laps remaining he had posted his fastest lap of the weekend, and sat in 16th place, and looked to chase down Michael Rutter who laid ahead.

The 26-year-old continued to push hard over the remaining few laps, and with two laps to go he passed the BMW man for 15th, and held the place to the flag, taking a fantastic Championship point with an injured shoulder on a new machine to him and the team.

Shaun Winfield: It’s been a tough season, but this weekend has given me so much confidence heading into next season, it really has. The Honda is a fantastic bike, the best I’ve ever ridden.

“It showed with my results in Sunday’s race, I got such a poor start and I was 32nd at one point, but the bike is so easy to ride and has so much power I found it really comfortable to pass people. So, to finish 15th and inside the points is a great feeling.

“I’m planning on switching off from racing for a little bit now, get my shoulder back to full fitness and then we can start focussing on 2021, but after the performance this weekend I’m very confident ahead of next season. I need to say a big thanks to all of my sponsors and mechanics for sticking by me in what has been a tough season, but we’ll be back stronger in 2021.”

Liam Delves: “It’s been an amazing season really, one that I’m happy with. I wanted to end this year with at least a podium, but I just missed out in both races with two fourths, but we’ve finished fifth in the Championship and I’m happy with that.

“I can’t thank the team enough, I really can’t, they are the best team I’ve worked. The work they put in not just on a weekend, but behind the scenes is just fantastic and I loved being a part of it.

“I’m gutted I couldn’t give them a win this season, or the Championship, but I want to be back next year and deliver just that. Hopefully I can come back and reward them.”

Team manager Gary Winfield“Well what can I say about this year, it’s been an interesting rollercoaster that’s for sure. We’ve had plenty of ups and downs but we’ve come out other side a stronger team, and I can’t be prouder of what the guys have done.

“We have some big plans for next year, and they are very exciting and hopefully will give us a new focus as we look to get back on track after what has been a few years in the wilderness.

“We’ll have some announcements to make in the coming months, but first, it’s back to the workshop and we’ll regroup ahead of next season. I must thank all of our sponsors and partners for sticking by us throughout the year, it’s not been ideal, but without them, we’d be nowhere.”

Liam finished the 2020 Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship on 75 points and in fifth place of the standings.

Shaun ended the 2020 Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship in 24th, ending on seven points.