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SMT Honda got their British Superbike Championship season back on track at Oulton Park on Sunday when Tom Grant secured the team some more, valuable points when he finished 15th in the opening 18-lap race. The 20-year old was having his third outing for the team and, despite not having ridden since Donington Park in May, the youngster again impressed with his speed and style.
With both practice and qualifying held in intermediate conditions, which saw dry and wet weather during each session, Tom qualified the Honda Fireblade in 18th place with a time of 1m39.046s but, always more recognized as a racer rather than a qualifier, hopes were high of getting in to the top fifteen come race day. Sure enough, despite a sluggish start that saw him go backwards rather than forwards, he regrouped well and soon got himself on to the back of the group battling for 10th place.
Just as it looked like he would continue to move forward, he encountered a major rear wheel problem, due to the tyre having spun on the rim, and, with terrible chatter and vibration through the corners, he had to the pace. He eventually got pushed back to 15th on the final lap but this was still good enough for another hard earned championship point. In the second race, Tom had a good battle with fellow Honda rider Guy Martin but the duo missed the break in the opening laps and Tom had to settle for 19th place at the chequered flag.
Speaking afterwards, team owner Robin Croft said:
“It’s been a case of what might have been this weekend. Tom didn’t get much dry time on the bike during practice and with him not having ridden for a while, we’ve been on the back foot a little bit. Nevertheless, he put in a solid performance in the first race and, despite a horrendous start, he put in some strong laps to run with the group of riders battling for tenth place. Unfortunately, the tyre had spun on the rim though and just as he was planning on making a move, he had to ease off the pace as the vibrations were causing major problems. Still, it was another championship point.”

“In the 2nd race, Tom got a good start but the front group soon developed a gap and although he could run a good, almost identical pace, it wasn’t possible to bridge the gap. It was a little disappointing and frustrating for Tom but it’s simply been a lack of time on the bike that has prevented us from gaining more points this weekend.”

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