CHAMPAGNE CORKS POP FOR OULTON PARK PODIUMS

Team WD-40's trophy winning duo from Oulton Park, Joe Francis (l) and Tommy Aquino (r)

Team WD-40’s trophy winning duo from Oulton Park, Joe Francis (l) and Tommy Aquino (r)

The air around Team WD-40 was filled with the sound of champagne corks popping as Tommy Aquino and Joe Francis both secured podium finishes at the latest British Superbike meeting at Oulton Park.

In the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race Aquino claimed his second successive podium as he crossed the line third, with the top three separated by less than half a second.

The Californian is now seventh in the title race and is hoping his good form continues for the final four races of the season.

Meanwhile Jonathan Railton finished in 25th place in the same race, as injuries from falls recently meant the Grafham rider had to battle through the pain barrier throughout the 14 laps.

For 15-year-old Joe, from Backford near Chester, it was his seventh visit to the podium this season from seven races in the Monster Energy Motostar championship, as he narrowly missed out on the win by just 0.087 seconds – less than a bike length.

He still holds on to the championship lead, with an 11 point gap to the winner at Oulton Park and his main rival, Tarran McKenzie.

The Superstock 1000 qualifying sessions resulted in Tommy 2nd and Jon 32nd on the grid, as both experienced different battles in qualifying.

During the race Jon dropped down the field in the early laps as he took avoiding action as riders in front of him had a few wobbles.

He then battled with the pain barrier, the track and other riders, to finish a respectable 25th, before receiving treatment to help alleviate the discomfort from his injuries.

“Although we tried to change a few things on the bike, the main problem at Oulton Park was the pain from my knee,” said Jon.

“I know I can go quicker, it’s just pushing harder means my injuries flare up, so until they are less painful I’m going to struggle.

“The good thing is I finished the race and was able to try a few different things with the bike on each lap.

“It’s great to be part of Team WD-40 at the moment and the buzz from Tommy and Joe getting great results is infectious. I just want to play my part by delivering top ten finishes and I’m hopeful that’ll happen before the end of the season.”

Tommy finished in 14th at Oulton Park in May, having ridden just 40 laps on the Cheshire circuit beforehand. So this time he was adding knowledge to his increasing confidence with the bike and was able to deliver a fantastic race.

He said: “Finishing third is brilliant, but it could have been so much better.

“I tried to set up a move for the lead at the final corner, but the line I took on the preceding corner unsteadied the bike slightly and the chance was gone.

“But I know I’ve got the pace, bike and team behind me, to battle at the front of a race, so I’m going all out to get on the top step of the podium.

“As I crossed the line I could almost touch the two riders ahead of me, but we’ll carry on and head to the next round confident of delivering more results like the ones at Oulton Park and Brands Hatch.”

Joe led nearly every lap in the Motostar race, but with just a few corners remaining Tarran took the lead and crossed the line first, less than a tenth of a second in front.

“I’m disappointed not to win the race having been ahead for nearly every lap, especially as Oulton Park is my home track,” said Joe.

“The positives that I’ll be taking away are I’m still at the top of the championship table and I know I have the pace to win more races.

“Once again the bike was prepared brilliantly by Team WD-40 and GR MotoSport, and I must thank them along with my family, friends and fans for their support before, during and after the race.”

The race itself was dominated by Joe and Tarran, as both riders steadily built up a significant lead from the rest of the field, swapping the lead on a number of occasions.

“Tarran and I have been battling at the front all season, but to lose the win in the final stages of the final lap was frustrating. It means I’ll be back at the next race even more determined to get back on the top step of the podium,” added Joe.

“It was great to see so many people come up to me afterwards and congratulate me on the race, it’s good to know fans are appreciating the racing.

“I just want to win races and if I can entertain the crowds at the same time then I’ll be very happy.”

Team WD-40’s manager, Brent, said: “Overall Oulton Park was probably the best weekend of the season so far and something everyone associated with the team can be pleased with.

“We were a whisker away from celebrating two wins, and Joe and Tommy can feel very unlucky they didn’t do so.

“They’ll both undoubtedly get a win soon, and with four races to go for Tommy and five for Joe, there’s plenty of racing to be done this season.

“Joe is still in a terrific position in the championship, while Tommy is closing in on the top three.

“Jon has had an unfortunate season with injuries and is suffering during qualifying and races, but he has the pace to trouble to top riders and we hope this will start to show again soon.

“Everyone at Team WD-40 and GR MotoSport has once again done a fantastic job and we’ll start preparing for the next meeting at Cadwell Park, hoping for more popping of champagne corks.”

David Whittome, of team sponsors WD-40 Specialist Motorbike, said: “Joe and Tommy deserve an enormous amount of credit for their results at Oulton Park, full of guts, determination and a huge amount of excellent riding.

“This season has been a building platform for everyone involved and the hard work is now starting to show itself in terms of top three finishes in both championships.

“Everyone at WD-40 is gripped by the action on track and really looking forward to the final race meetings of the season.”

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