YOUNG Riders Fund-supported race aces Niall Campbell and Josh Elliott have reflected on a rollercoaster couple of weeks in their respective championships.
Campbell has experienced the joy of his maiden Metzeler National Superstock 600 podium mixed with the frustration of grabbing a 10th and 11th just days later.
Elliott meanwhile has taken his first Metzeler National Superstock 1000 points of the season but has also had to deal with another DNF and a jump-start penalty.
Rain earlier in the day had stopped and the track was drying, so it became a tyre gamble which Campbell – opting for full dry– played perfectly. After a tricky first few laps he was soon in touch with the leading pack.
He was running in fifth place when the two leaders tangled and brought out the red flag, promoting him to third and giving him his first podium for the Grant Racing squad.
As a result he was full of confidence when he arrived at Donington Park for a double-header last weekend as part of the World Superbike Championship support programme.
Qualifying 13th for Saturday’s race he moved up to P10 after the opening couple of laps and was able to fend off some hard charges from behind to defend the place to the flag. His best lap was enough to move him up one place on the grid for Sunday’s race.
But a crash in morning warm-up caused problems, and the team had to work hard to repair the bike. Getting a good start he got boxed at Redgate and dropped six spots. From there he had to fight his way back up and eventually crossed the line 11th.
“I am really disappointed after having such a good result at Oulton,” he said. “Once you have tasted the Cava you just want more. I had such confidence on the bike at Oulton but the same settings didn’t work around Donington.
“Hopefully we will find the sweet spot for Snetterton and I can be fighting once more for a podium.”
Elliott arrived at the famous Derbyshire track keen to turn the tide of his difficult start to his first full season in the UK.
On board the Carbontek Four Angels BMW, he had been disappointed the week before at Oulton Park after he had dazzled in qualifying and lined up eighth on the grid.
So he was more determined than ever to grab at least one good finish at Donington Park, just days after he turned 18.
After the gremlins which have nagged him so often so far this season returned during first qualifying, he had his work cut out for the afternoon’s second session, especially since the work to get the bike back to its best took so long that the second session was already underway when the job was finished.
With just 10 minutes left to get a good lap in, Elliott threw together three stunning flying laps to qualify 19th from 44 riders.
As the first race got underway he made his best start of the season but then had to avoid a fallen rider at the first corner which dropped him back to 24th. But he was quickly back on the pace and took four places back in the opening lap.
He kept his head down and continued to sear through the pack, crossing the line in 12th spot to take his first points of the year.
But the joy didn’t last too long. Having qualified 13th fastest for the second race he got a quick getaway and was sticking his nose into the top 10 when he was called in and given a ride-through penalty for a jump start.
“I had no idea why I was signaled to come in as I was sure my start was good and first thought maybe there was maybe something wrong with my bike,” he said. “It’s such a pity as I was comfortable on a good pace and would have given it my best for a top ten finish.
“After the problems we had through qualifying I was relieved to secure some points for 12th in the first race. The team had worked really hard over the weekend and the bike was getting better as we improved the set up. I am now looking forward to Snetterton, where I hope I can repay the team with some more good points.”
Both riders will be back out next weekend as the series heads to the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk.