HIGHS AND LOWS FOR RAF HONDA RESERVES AT CADWELL PARK

RAF Reserves at Cadwell Park - Photo by Tim Keeton

RAF Reserves at Cadwell Park – Photo by Tim Keeton

After a terrific fourth placed qualification followed up with a battling third place in the race, the RAF Reserves in association with Honda were excluded from the results at Cadwell Park due to rider Simon Andrew’s part in the crash with another rider.

The verdict was a bitter blow for the RAF recruitment-backed team that had shown their true pace all weekend. The tight and twisty Lincolnshire circuit favours a bike with handling ability over outright horsepower and the team worked tirelessly to hone the chassis.

Immediately showing pace in the practice sessions, Andrews, 30, went on to produce a qualifying lap that was just 0.042s off a front row position to lead the second row in fourth. For the team made up from of two MOD civil servants and an RAF Cpl based at RAF Marham, they were still making improvements to the bike for morning warm-up and for the race so that Simon could challenge for the win.

When the lights went out, Andrews was baulked by one of the front row riders and almost had to take to the grass to avoid contact. Despite losing a couple of places, the Evesham rider regrouped and set about reducing the gap to the leaders and set the fastest time of the race on lap 4.

With the faster Ducati of Palmer in his sights, Andrews knew he had to make his move quickly. On the entrance to Charlies corner, the pair unfortunately clashed and saw both riders take to the grass. The no.6 Fireblade was able to re-join the track and cross the line in third place, but Palmer crashed heavily.

Despite taking the podium and spraying the champagne, championship officials elected to ‘exclude (no.6) for unfair manoeuvre which resulted in an accident to another rider (no.33)’. Though a hard move, many figures within the paddock described it as simply a racing incident.

Stripped of the 16 championship points, the team left Cadwell Park secure in the fact they had shown their potential and vow to continue the momentum to the next round at Donington Park on September 8.

After the race, Simon Andrews said: “Well, Superstocks is supposed to be level playing field but we’re quite a bit down on power. So I have to overtake mid corner or somewhere that’s not power orientated. The manoeuvre I put on Tristan was a bit rushed by me; we both went for the same bit of tarmac and, unfortunately, we both ran off track. I spoke to him after the race and apologised for the incident, but in my eyes, it was a racing incident and not a dangerous overtake.

“The officials’ decision is a real shame for the team not to get this result as we have been strong all weekend and made some changes to the bike that have worked fantastically. But we’ve got a good set-up for Donington, but it’s a horsepower track so we’ll have a fight on our hands with the Kawasakis and BMWs, but we’ll try our best as usual.”

Team Manager, Lee Hardy, said: “It’s great to be back at the front and be able to show our true potential. It’s taken a long time to get here, but the Honda is now working well and we’re finally in a ‘sweet spot’ with set-up; every change we made went in the right direction. Just shame the race ended the way it did.

Regarding the incident, it’s a narrow track and that sort of thing happens. The Ducati of Tristan Palmer was a lot faster than our bike and the move by Simon was aggressive but – according to many people in the paddock – not over hard. But we take the rough with the smooth and are confident for Donington Park.”

The next round is at Donington Park, 6-8thSeptember
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