It was definitely a mixed day for all those who were involved in the JG Speedfit Kawasaki team, during round-one of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Silverstone.
On Saturday James Ellison crashed in the first qualifying session and had to start at the back of the grid for race-one, but in contrast Leon Haslam managed to put his ZX-10R on pole.
But when the first race did get underway both Haslam and Hickman looked like they had the pace to challenge for the win, but both experienced technical problems meaning they came away from the first race with zero points. Meanwhile Ellison fought back to cross the line in thirteenth.
But Hickman did manage to set a time before the retirement that placed him on the front row for race-two and he out-paced Be Wiser Ducati’s Shane Byrne to take a tight victory. Haslam held firm to end the day inside the top five, with Ellison improving to finish in eighth. But all the drama has left the team boss feeling understandably ‘drained’.
“I am drained but kind of happy as it ended on a high rather than having the highs and then the lows, but really disappointed for Leon and Peter in the first race,” said team boss, Mark Smith-Halvorsen, speaking to Bikesportnews.com.
“Both of them had a real opportunity to win the race which was taken away by mechanical DNF’s. Then the team had a fantastically hard job of building, and putting two new motors in and building two new Superbikes for race two. Pete gave himself the best chance with his lap time in race one and took full advantage of that. I am so pleased for him as he is such a nice guy to work with and such a fast rider, and he proved that.
“We all kind of knew that Shakey would do what he did [on the final lap in race-two] as he is that good and would not give up. But I actually knew when he done it that Pete would not give up either. I want to get home and look at the final corners again because what I remember out of the blur they were pretty tasty.
The JG Speedfit outfit are running a three rider team, and with that brings added pressure, but it does give the guys and girls in the crew more of a fighting chance to reach the podium.
Smith-Halvorsen added: “It is a bit tougher for all of us only in that there is more people, but it is essentially only three times what we are used to doing twice over and we have put together a good group of people so hopefully we can stay on top of things throughout the season. Sometimes you think it is an advantage as you have 50 percent more chance of nailing a result, other times it feels like four times as much work when things go wrong.”