Paul Bird Motorsport experienced probably its biggest-ever failure yesterday as, for the first time, the team hasn’t made it into the Bennetts British Superbike Showdown stage in it’s 12-year history.
Neither two-time champion Josh Brookes nor ex-WorldSBK champ Tom Sykes were able to find enough points to ensure they had a fighting chance of a top-eight place when the fat lady sings at Snetterton in two weeks’ time - a fact which team boss Johnny Mowatt deemed ‘significant’.
“It’s a very disappointing day as for the first time since it came into play, PBM hasen’t made the Showdown which is a significant factor for us,” said Mowatt.
“There were some positives, especially as Tom showed his mettle in Superpole, which is where he made his mark in World Superbikes.
Josh was lucky to get away without injury after his big crash which was a relief too. We move on to Snetterton where we enjoyed a good pre-season test earlier in the year so hopefully, we can replicate that sort of form.”
Whether the Showdown miss will be a nail in the coffin of Bird’s participation in the championship remains to be seen but both riders are likely to be looking for a new place of employment just in case.
Brookes crashed over the Mountain in race one yesterday but battled back to an 11th in the final race of the weekend.
“Again it’s difficult to put a positive spin on things. We continued to make changes to the bike in the hope of improving it but today, that compromised us getting it off the line. And whilst the set-up was better for the races, I was hampered by getting bad starts,” said Brookes.
“I got stuck in a battle with Tom both times and tried to pass him but crashed on the Mountain and in the final race, it took a long time to pass him, by which time I’d no chance of catching the riders in front. It’s been a painful weekend in more ways than one but that’s the situation unfortunately.”
Sykes bagged a tenth place in Sunday’s opener before crossing the line in a disappointing 20th in the third and final race after losing time early on.
Sykes, who was nerfed off by Christian Iddon in the weekend’s first race, was brief: “I don’t really have a lot to say. It’s been another very tough weekend for us and I’m disappointed with the results after a promising start in Superpole yesterday. We’ll regroup and hope for better luck next time out at Snetterton.”