BY GILES SPENCER
Tooting born motorcycle racer Gino Rea found form in the British Superbike Championship last weekend with three point scoring rides, including two top ten finishes at Thruxton.
After mixed conditions in practice, the 31 year old put his Buildbase Suzuki twelfth on the grid in the first dry conditions of the weekend.
Held in perfect conditions on the Saturday, Rea worked his way up to eighth in the first race of the weekend, on the back of the group battling for fifth but a last lap attack was thwarted when the red flaps came out on the penultimate lap as Honda Racing’s Glenn Irwin crashed at 135mph leaving his stricken CBR1000R lying in the middle of the track.
Starting ninth on the grid for the first twenty lap race on Sunday, Rea made two places off the lights to move to seventh only to lose them again after a mistake at the final chicane on lap one.
Falling into the clutches of the second group, Rea suffered from the huge slipstream effect Thruxton provides to fall to twelfth before moving into the top ten courtesy of the Kawasaki of Lee Jackson and Christian Iddon’s Ducati coming together ahead of him and held it to the flag in a race long five rider dog-fight.
A heavy downpour before the last race had the grid gambling on tyres on the fast drying track.
Starting from 14th, for a rider with form in the wet, Rea couldn’t use the conditions to his advantage, keeping his position before slipping a place after a few laps to the BMW of Andy Irwin.
Mid race and as the rain started to fall again, Rea found his form, moving up to eleventh place before the chequered flag came out.
Rea now stands 13th in the championship on 52 points.
“Not the Sunday results we wanted, unfortunately.” Rea said.
“On Saturday I was fast in the race and our tyre wear was good. I was closing the gap to the group ahead and ended up eighth with the red flag, with fifth fastest ideal time.
“We didn’t quite hit the nail on the head in Sunday’s first longer 20 lap race and we struggled with pace and confidence and ended up tenth.
“Starting from the fifth row for the final race wasn’t ideal with the intermediate tyre, I got swamped by the riders on wets and I was just too slow on the opening laps.
“My mid-race pace was similar to the leading group but I was miles behind already and could only manage eleventh. A shame in what are usually strong conditions for me.
“We’ll be back stronger at Donington Park.”
Shane Byrne’s 67 Sports Management rider, Bradley Ray, had a good weekend taking his RICH Energy OMG Racing BMW to seventh, fourth and tenth places respectively.
The next round of the championship will be held over the weekend of 13th – 15th August at Donington Park, Derbyshire.
Photos: Bonnie Lane/Impact Images
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