Gino Rea netted points in the latest rounds of the British Superbike Championship – making an instant impact for Hawk Racing Buildbase Suzuki Team at Snetterton.
The South Londoner announced on social media that he had parted ways with the Bike Devil Racing Kawasaki team but a day later posted he would be standing in for the injured Keith Farmer.
It was yet another new bike for the luckless Rea to learn but thankfully his previous Suzuki experience with the OMG team in 2018 held him in good stead as he ended Friday’s practice day in ninth position.
The Tooting-born racer had to settle for 13th on the grid for round four of the championship on Saturday.
Making a good start in the 22 degree Norfolk sunshine, Rea quickly moved up to 11th and by lap six of 14 had gapped Peter Hickman’s Global Robots BMW by 2 seconds and was in a five-way battle up to seventh place, headed by the McAMS Yamaha of Jason O’Halloran and Luke Mossey on the RICH Energy OMG Racing BMW just ahead of him.
Four laps to go and fellow Buildbase Suzuki rider Kyle Ryde stormed through the field, setting the same times as the leaders. Rea gave it everything on the final lap and made a pass stick on Mossey to regain his 11th place at the flag and add another five points to his tally.
Rea’s fastest lap from Saturday put him 13th on the grid for Sunday’s 16-lap fifth round.
He was up to 11th as Massingberd-Mundy Kawasaki mounted Danny Buchan and SYNETIQ BMW’s Bradley Ray came together with Buchan hitting the deck and Ray dropping down the field.
Rea and Mossey continued their battle from Saturday with a group of riders up to 7th just ahead of them.
A moment for Rea on the 5th lap creates a gap to Mossey and a lap later Honda Racing’s Andrew Irwin demoted him to 12th.
Hickman also managed to pass Rea before he got back on the pace, setting his fastest time on lap eight.
The RAF Regular and Reserves Kawasaki of Ryan Vickers and Irwin went out of the race on lap 12, promoting Rea up to 12th but time lost in the earlier part of the race left him unable to catch Ray and Hickman, two seconds further up the road before the chequered flag four laps later and four points.
Starting 15th for round six of the championship, Rea didn’t make the best start, dropping a place to former GP rider Hector Barbera on the other RICH Energy OMG Racing BMW to be16th across the line for the first time.
Rea had moved back in front of the Spaniard by lap four and into the points, lapping quicker than the three men in front of him.
Two laps later and Rea went past Jack Kennedy on the Santander Salt TAG Racing Yamaha to duel with his weekend sparring partner Luke Mossey, who then suffers the same fate as Rea’s form continues to improve.
Hickman retired with a mechanical problem with six laps to go, promoting Rea up to 12th, although a slow lap allows Mossey to close back to a quarter of a second behind the Londoner.
Four laps left and Mossey returns the favour to Rea, demoting him to 13th as his times drop to the tune of around 1.5 seconds off his best.
The two rivals battle it out amongst themselves with enough space around them not to have to worry about anyone else spoiling the party.
Rea ended up second best to Mossey, crossing the line 0.295 seconds behind to take 13th and collect three points.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first weekend with the Buildbase Hawk Suzuki team.” said Rea.
“It’s been a steep learning curve, jumping on another new bike straight into race weekend, so to come away with a lot of data, three point scoring results with my best lap time of the weekend in the final race, was positive.
“We learnt a lot over the weekend and have some areas to work on to get the bike a bit more tailored to me.
“With the new format it means limited track time before racing, so changes have to be relatively small and calculated.
“The team are great to work with and I believe there’s more to come from the package and myself”
The next rounds of the championship take place at Silverstone, Northamptonshire on September 4-6.
PICTURES: BONNIE LANE
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