After consistently challenging for the BSB Knockhill podium, Brands Hatch proved an altogether different weekend for FS3-Kawasaki’s Rory Skinner
Fresh from arm pump surgery and with manager John Hopkins in his corner for round five, the Scot’s fighting spirit did, however, allow him to maintain fourth place in the 2022 Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after scoring a trio of top 10 finishes on his most challenging weekend of the season so far.
Qualifying seventh for Saturday’s opening action, Skinner struggled with his Cheshire Mouldings ZX-10RR set-up in the rising temperatures and despite a run at the top five in the sprint race, he eventually met the flag as he had started.
Completing row three on Sunday morning, the 20-year-old was once again fifth by the end of the opening lap of race two and running fourth by mid-distance before grip issues saw him slip to sixth - a mere 0.006s behind Leon Haslam’s VisionTrack Kawasaki. Expecting similar heroics from sixth on the grid for the final bout, Skinner was unable to capitalise on the start of race three. A fightback from 13th saw the Scot overcome teammate Lee Jackson and Christian Iddon as he progressed to ninth for a clean sweep of points finishes and firmly consolidated his showdown potential.
“It was a tough weekend really,” Skinner admitted from the Kent track on Sunday evening. “We tend to need good mechanical grip to make a lap time and we really struggled in the high temperatures. We were a bit on the back foot all weekend but there are still lots of real positives to take from it.
“At the end of the day, we’re fourth in the championship and it shows how strong our season has been so far when we’re going away with three top tens and feeling like it’s been a tough weekend.”
“This was the first time I’ve ridden since having arm pump surgery a few weeks ago and that would appear to have been a success, as I had no issues whatsoever," he continued. "It was also good having Hopper over and helping in the garage this weekend. I enjoyed working with him in person and he gave good input and advice.
Skinner now has a weekend off before a hectic August schedule sees him join Hopkins once again for his world championship debut at Silverstone in the British Moto2 Grand Prix as a wildcard rider for the American Racing Team, before resuming BSB duties at the super fast Thruxton track ahead of a second Moto2 outing at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.