Opening round points for TAG Racing Honda at Oulton Park

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26-06-21 R01 Oulton Dan Linfoot 071
Dan Linfoot and Shaun Winfield endured a tricky and challenging weekend at the opening round of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, with Linfoot collecting one point finishing the final race on Sunday afternoon in 15th, and Winfield finishing a solid 26th in his Pirelli National Superstock season opener whilst battling arm pump, as the team continue to improve their feeling with the new Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
The weekend got off to a tough start for Linfoot, who crashed out in tricky damp conditions on Friday morning, but the team worked around the clock to repair the stricken Honda Fireblade, ensuring he would be on track for the afternoons second free practice.

The practice sessions treated Shaun a little better with the 28-year-old improving on his lap times, riding sensibly in the opening damp session after overnight rain in Cheshire.

Taking part in group B’s qualifying Winfield posted a lap time eight tenths quicker than his quickest time in Friday’s practice, notching up a 1:38.8, placing him 30th on the grid and avoiding the last chance qualifying race on Saturday afternoon.

Dan headed out for qualifying aiming to make it through to Q2, but even though the Yorkshireman posted his fastest lap of the weekend to that point it wouldn’t be enough to send him through, meaning he would start Saturday’s opening race from 20th.

The opening Bennetts BSB race of the weekend saw Dan make a great start, making up four places to 16th. Over the next few laps he began to battle in a group of riders, swapping and changing places until he made a mistake and ran off track.

He quickly regrouped but then with seven laps remaining he was handed a long lap penalty after a small collision with Brian McCormack, after he started to work his way back through the field. The Yorkshireman once again got his head back down and by the end of the race he crossed the line in 18th.

By virtue of his lap time in Saturday’s opening encounter Linny would start Sunday’s second race from 22nd on the grid.

From the lights he made a good start once again, picking up four places on the opening lap and began to battle within a group of three riders. Linny improved once again on his fastest time of the weekend, posting a 1:36.5, but would ride a lonely end to the 18 lap encounter, crossing the line 18th.

Thanks to his time in race two he would line up 21st on the grid for Sunday’s third and final race.

Once again Dan made a fantastic start as the lights went out, and by the end of the first lap he had worked his way into 16th and chasing down the group ahead that were battling for 10th.

By half race distance he had once again posted his fastest time of the weekend and sat within the points in 14th place, holding off Brad Jones and Luke Hopkins. With three laps to go Dan began to lose grip with his softer SCX rear tyre and just couldn’t hold off Hopkins on the penultimate lap, pushing him back to 15th where he would finish the race.

Winfield ended the weekend on a high by finishing his Pirelli National Superstock battle in 26th place, after starting from 30th. The 28-year-old made a good start and began to pick his way through the field ahead, matching his best time of the weekend, he would hold off the challenge of the chasing pack whilst battling arm pump to take the flag and collect more valuable data for him and the team.

Dan Linfoot: “It’s been a challenging weekend to say the least, we’ve been battling set-up for most of the weekend but in race three we made a good step, so that’s encouraging.

“The weekend didn’t get off to the best of starts with me crashing but the lads worked hard to get me back out and that hard work continued all weekend, so I need to say thank you to them all.

“The results we’ve had aren’t what I expect of myself, the team or the bike. Once we piece everything together we’ll be challenging and I hope that happens at Knockhill.”

Shaun Winfield: It’s been a challenging weekend really, we’re still learning the Fireblade and being honest it’s taking us longer than we thought to get to where we expect to be.

“But saying that the lads have put in a massive shift this weekend and we made some good progress especially in qualifying and the race.

“We made a big step forward with setup in the race but after a bad start I picked my way back through the pack making good progress, but then I suffered with arm pump on the last six laps which stopped my ability to brake and lost a lot of time.

“I’m looking forward to getting back out at Knockhill now and hopefully we’ll be closer to the front.”

Team manager Gary Winfield“We knew that this weekend would be tough, the Fireblade is a new bike to us all and we’re still learning how to get the best out of it. Oulton Park isn’t the best track on the calendar for our bike, and result might not show it but we have made lots of improvement and I’m really proud of how all the team have worked this weekend.

“We’ve made a real good step in the right direction, the parts and set-up we wanted to try have all been positive and we’re going in the right direction, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I know that we’ll get to where I know we can be.”

Dan Linfoot sits 20th in the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship with one point.

The second round of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship will travel to Scotland and Knockhill on July 10/11.