Bittersweet weekend for TAG Racing Honda at Oulton Park

It was a bittersweet weekend for the Swadlincote based TAG Racing Honda outfit at Oulton Park for round nine of the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship, after a Sunday morning warm-up crash ruled Dan Linfoot out of both races following a 12th place finish in Saturday’s opener. It would be a solid weekend however for Shaun Winfield taking two top 25’s in both Pirelli National Superstock races, posting his personal best lap time in Sunday’s second encounter.
The weekend got off to a solid start for both riders who quickly improved on their times in both free practice sessions, heading into Saturday morning’s qualifying confident of achieving good grid positions.

Following overnight rain both sessions would be run on a damp surface but that wouldn’t phase the duo, with Winfield qualifying 25th just one second outside the top 15. The Bennetts BSB SUPERPICKS qualifying saw Dan progress into the final stage after progressing through Q1, ending the final session 13th, posting his fastest lap on his final circulation.

The opening race of the weekend on Saturday afternoon would be run under dry conditions and from the lights he made a good start, ending lap one in eighth place. He then started to battle within a group of five riders, swapping and changing places, and after dropping to 14th by mid-race he quickly regrouped and fought his way back into 12th. The Yorkshireman posted his fastest lap of the race with three remaining, holding off the challenge from Kyle Ryde and Dean Harrison on the final lap, taking four championship points.

Sunday would start disastrously for Dan, who experienced a technical issue during morning warm-up, causing him to crash, destroying his Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP, which forced him to miss race two.

The team would work around the clock to try and rebuild his bike in time for the third and final Bennetts BSB race, but ultimately, they ran out of time and decided to not take part.

The opening Pirelli National Superstock battle got underway on Saturday afternoon under sunny skies, and off the line Shaun made a tough start, dropping down to 30thafter the opening lap.

The 28-year-old quickly regrouped and began to pick his way through the pack ahead, posting his personal best lap time of the weekend by over half a second, finding himself in 25th by half race distance. He sat on the back of a four-man dice for the remaining seven laps, battling with Connor Cummins, but he just couldn’t find a way past at the flag, crossing the line 24th after Matt Truelove retired.

Once again under sunny skies on Sunday afternoon Shaun made a tough start to the second race from 22nd on the grid, dropping to 27th after the opening lap. He was forced to quickly regroup, but he soon made his way into 23rd by lap five of 14 and started to chase down Connor Cummins who lay ahead. He would improve on his best lap time of the weekend, notching up a 1:38.8, but he struggled to find a way past his fellow Honda man, taking the flag in 22nd.

Dan Linfoot“I’m really disappointed, not just for me but for the whole team because it’s not how we wanted to end the weekend in any way. Saturday’s race gave me some confidence, even though we had a few issues I felt happier, but I knew we had things to try in warm-up to give us that extra edge in both races on Sunday.

“But we didn’t get that far, luckily I’m ok, I’ve taken a little bit of a hit to my knee but other than that I’m fine. The lads did a mega job to try and get me out for race three but it just wasn’t possible, we’re all gutted.

“We’ll regroup and focus ahead of Donington Park, it’s our home race so we want to give everyone a reason to smile and make sure we end the season on a high.”

Shaun Winfield: “It’s been a good weekend for me really, even though the end results in terms of finishes doesn’t show it, we made real progress. I could post lap times I know I’m capable of but I made two bad starts, that didn’t help me at all and I think it would have been a different story if I could have got it off the line better.

“We’re in a good place heading to Donington Park, it’s definitely one of my favourite tracks and it’s my home race so I want to get two good results there and make sure I continue to this positive progress we’ve made this weekend.”

Team manager Gary Winfield“When your lucks is out, it’s well and truly out, we’re all disappointed. It had been a solid weekend up until this morning, we knew there was still more to come from both Dan and the bike but it wasn’t meant to be. I can’t thank the team enough for all their hard work, they were non-stop and their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

“On the other hand it has been a good weekend for Shaun, we’ve seen nothing but progress from him each time he’s gone out, and race two on Sunday was impressive, he’s knocked plenty off his times and if he had made better starts then I think it would have been a very different story.

“We’ll regroup ahead of the next round now, we head to Donington which is our home circuit and we want to finish the year on a high, so we’re already looking forward to it.”

Dan Linfoot sits 16th in the 2021 Bennetts British Superbike Championship on 69 points.

The team now have a five day turn around before heading to their home round at Donington Park on October 1/2/3.