The Buildbase BMW Motorrad team are heading home from an action-packed and unpredictable Brands Hatch season opener with a fourth place, three top-ten finishes and proof that the BMW S 1000 RR is a formidable package.
The first British Superbike race of the 2014 season proved to be dramatic and challenging as a number of crashes, near-misses and a red-flag and restart interrupted proceedings. Buildbase BMW Motorrad rider Ryuichi Kiyonari had qualified on the front row, but narrowly avoided an accident as his bike stalled as the race started.
Thankfully the riders behind managed to avoid the Japanese racer, who re-joined the field in last place. Team mate James Westmoreland, who had qualified on the second row, had a better start – however the race was red-flagged due to a huge spillage on lap 16.
Some 40 minutes later, the track was declared safe after an extra six-minute sighting session and a short 12-lap sprint race got underway. Westmoreland finished in tenth position, with Kiyo reaching 16th place after clawing back 12 places by the chequered flag.
Kiyonari’s best lap time in race one secured him a spot on row two for the second BSB race, with Westmoreland on the fifth.
The second race was thankfully largely incident-free, with the Buildbase riders able to make good starts and push on up the field. Westmoreland fought his way up from 15th to finish seventh, pulling back eight places. Kiyonari battled with the front-runners from flag to flag, securing fourth place – and matching BMW Motorrad’s best BSB result so far.
Michael Dunlop, taking part in the first two rounds as part of his preparation to race the Isle of Man TT this summer, suffered a fall in a rain-lashed Qualifying session while running in second place and landed on his arm. The tough road racer completed race one, finishing 24th in his first-ever race at Brands Hatch, and set off in race two, but pulled in to the pits after a few laps deciding to rest his arm to be ready for Oulton Park in early May.
In the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race, young rider Lee Jackson qualified in fourth place on the BMW HP4, going on to finish in sixth place in a dramatic race, which saw two riders crash out and engage in a small scuffle in the gravel trap before being calmed by the race marshals. Jackson’s top-six pace throughout qualifying continued into the race, with the team pleased by the results and targeting more silverware to add to Lee's collection from his debut season on the HP4 in 2013.
Ryuichi Kiyonari said: “I have a very good feeling now, because we’ve had really promising results in the wet and dry and I’ve been in the top ten for every session. The second race today was really good, I was catching the lead riders. With a few more laps, I think I’d have had them. In practice we managed over 40 laps on one race tyre, so we have great life. In the first race, I have to say, sorry to all the other riders! I stalled the engine on the line, and I was very lucky not to get hit. It hasn’t happened before – but race two was much better!”
James Westmoreland said: “The first race was very disappointing. I wasn’t happy to finish tenth, not so much the position but my pace – I just wasn’t fast enough. We’ve shown a lot of promise this weekend and it was frustrating. But – for the second race to come from 15th to seventh was really good, and the pace was very promising. We’re leaving here with a good weekend under our belts ready for Oulton Park.”
Michael Dunlop said: "Well, we had a good time in qualifying and the bike is going great. I was up in second place in Q1, but I came off and injured my shoulder. It's a bit of a shame not to do too much in the races, but no matter, we'll be ready for the next event now."
Stuart Hicken, Team Owner, said: ”Ending the day on a bonus was great. I was a bit low before that second race, because we’d shown so much promise and it didn’t happen in race one. But race two I really enjoyed; I enjoyed seeing James coming through the pack and I enjoyed Kiyo catching the front runners and giving them a run for their money. So, yes, happy for the day and really pleased with the pace of both Lee and Michael. Roll on Oulton Park.”
The next round is at Oulton Park on 3-5 May 2014.
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race one:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.615s
3. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.672s
4. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +5.639s
5. John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) +6.007s
6. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +6.235s
7. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +6.365s
8. Richard Cooper (Anvil Hire TAG Kawasaki) +7.328s
9. Jakub Smrz (Millsport Ducati) +7.735s
10. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) +7.735s
16. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) +3.694s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Brands Hatch, race two result:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki)
2. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) +0.138s
3. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +1.785s
4. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) +3.694s
5. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) +5.376s
6. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) +5.724s
7. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) +10.826s
8. Dan Linfoot (ePayMe Quattro Kawasaki) +11.488s
9. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) +11.678s
10. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) +11.908s
MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship standings after Brands Hatch:
1. Shane Byrne (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 50
2. James Ellison (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 32
3. Chris Walker (Lloyds British GBmoto Racing Kawasaki) 31
4. Josh Brookes (Milwaukee Yamaha) 20
5. Stuart Easton (Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki) 20
6. Ben Wilson (Gearlink Kawasaki) 19
7. Tommy Bridewell (Milwaukee Yamaha) 16
8. John Hopkins (Tyco Suzuki) 16
9. James Westmoreland (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) 15
10. Ryuichi Kiyonari (Buildbase BMW Motorrad) 13
For more information on the Buildbase BMW Motorrad British Superbikes team, please follow the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BuildbaseBmwMotorrad