Rea taking steps in the right direction at Silverstone

By Giles Spencer

Gino Rea brought home two points scoring rides from Silverstone in the British Superbike Championship but the weekend promised so much more.

Tooting born Rea took first blood in free practice 1 on Friday, leading the rest of the field around, 0.173 faster than 2nd place man and championship leader, Glenn Irwin.

Finishing 2nd overall after free practice 2, the South Londoner wasn’t so fortunate in qualifying as oil split from Spaniard Hector Barbera’s BMW brought the session to a premature end before Rea and several other riders had had a chance to set their fastest laps, placing him 11th on the grid for Saturday’s race 1.

Things went from bad to worse in the afternoon’s race as Rea was forced to retire the Buildbase Suzuki after 13 of 25 laps with engine issues.

Rea would start 15th for Sunday’s first race courtesy of his lap time on the Saturday, for the 30 lapper.

Lights go out and Rea gets a good start to make up two places on the first lap to 13th behind BSB race winner, Tommy Bridewell.

A few laps later and Rea’s promoted to 12th as Luke Mossey goes out with a technical issue only to drop back to 13th on lap 12 as Kawasaki’s Ryan Vickers moves ahead.

Almost immediately, Yamaha’s Tarran McKenzie goes out of the lead battle to gift Rea another place.

Lap 17 and Rea’s not having a great time as the BMW’s of Peter Hickman and Barbera demote him to 14th as the 30 year old is seemingly starting to struggle with the bike.

Three laps to go and Vickers retires to put Rea into a 3 point scoring position.

Final lap and Rea passes Ducati mounted Christian Iddon to take 12th at the flag and four championship points.

Third race of the weekend and Rea flies off the line to move up to 14th after the first time of asking.

Three laps later and Rea’s passed Vickers up to 13th less than 4 tenths off the back of Danny Buchan’s Kawasaki.

Lap 14 and Barbera slips his BMW past Rea’s Suzuki GSX-R1000 as a five-way battle ensues for 10th to 14th.

Six laps to go and the group has split with Rea still in 14th on the tail of Bradley Ray with Peter Hickman breathing down his neck but with a three second gap to Barbera in 12th.

Despite Hickman’s greatest intent, Rea holds off the BMW man to the flag, less than two tenths off the back off Ray for 14th and two points, 15.898 seconds off the win.

“Again, there are a lot of positives to take.” Rea said, “The weekend started well and it was great to top the pile in FP1 but we were a bit unlucky with the timing of the red flag in qualifying and everything was a bit of a knock-on from there.

“We were running well in race one before the issue meant we had to retire. We were then starting further back in race two with work to do.

“In the last race i improved my best race lap and I was stuck in the big group but I was stuck behind another rider and the bike ran too hot which cost us a bit of power, so I couldn’t get by.

“But I’m learning the bike all the time; we’re making improvements. At Oulton Park I’m hopeful we can start strong again and this time maintain that throughout the weekend as the team and the GSX-R has a good record around there.”

The next round of the championship sees the BSB travel to Oulton Park in Cheshire on the 18-20 September.

Photos: Steve Thomas at Double Red

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