YRF-supported riders Josh Elliott and Niall Campbell are looking forward to Round Two of their respective championships after a tough start to both of their seasons.
The opening round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship and its support programme at Brands Hatch proved disappointing for both Young Riders Fund boys as they endured their own sets of problems.
Elliott was forced to retire from the Metzeler National Superstock 1000 Championship race, while Campbell crashed out of Easter Monday’s earlier Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship battle.
Elliott’s weekend had got off to a flying start when he emerged second quickest in his group at the end of Friday’s first practice. In qualifying he overcame earlier suspension woes to qualify sixth on the grid for Easter Monday’s race.
But things took a turn for the worse as race day dawned cold and wet, and he suffered a highside in morning warm-up.
Escaping with bruising and grazes he was declared fit to race by medical staff, and as the bike suffered only minor damage the Carbontek Four Anjels Racing team were able to repair his BMW S1000RR machine in time for the race.
Not getting the best of starts, Elliott’s race was over almost as soon as it began as he had to avoid a fallen rider on the track at turn one, and then had to almost stop his machine when he encountered a crash ahead of him seconds later.
As a result he dropped down the back, and as he put his head down and tried to establish a rhythm, lack of traction affected his confidence and decided to pull into the pits and retire on safety grounds.
“Looking back through the weekend I have a lot of positives to take from it,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy with the changing weather conditions and taking on very experienced riders but the team worked really hard and gave me a very good bike. T
“They sorted a rear shock problem early on and I was able to go fast in final qualifying. I am getting more and more comfortable on the BMW now.
“It’s such a pity race day went so badly for me, but I am looking forward to Thruxton this weekend and getting back on the bike. It will be a big learning curve as I’ve never been there before.
“I want to thank the team for the hard work over the weekend and the sponsors, friends and family for their great support.”
Over in the 600cc class, Campbell was eager to get his 2012 campaign off to a solid start on his Grant Racing machine.
Making a steady start in free practice in bright but cold conditions, he found himself struggling with rear grip and was finding it difficult to get good drive onto the main straight.
Adjustments were made for qualifying, and after two damp sessions he qualified 20th. Disappointed not to be starting higher up the grid he was confident he could force his way into the points.
Like Elliott, Campbell was a victim of the weather, as he lined up with persistent rain and low track temperatures.
He made a decent start but couldn’t find any grip. Slowly dropping back his race ended even more miserably when he tipped off on Lap 14.
“I didn’t enjoy that one bit,” he said. “I had some huge moments early on and just concentrated on staying on the bike. The grip levels were inconsistent and gave me no confidence.
“The tyres came back to me on Lap 10 and I could see I was catching the group in front. A few laps later my race was over.
“I just touched the front brake on the approach to Druids and the front tucked with no warning. It was so fast I couldn’t feel the front push and had no time to react”
Both Young Riders Fund supported riders will be back in action at Round Two at Thruxton in Hampshire this weekend.
*Josh Elliott image by Ian Macey.