Hard Work Pays Dividends At Thruxton



15 April 2013


Graeme Gowland #81


Seton Tuning Yamaha's Graeme Gowland and Mark Wilkinson weathered the storm to add more valuable points to the board, as Thruxton in Hampshire hosted round two of the 2013 MCE British Superbike Championship (12-14 April).

Yet another close qualifying session saw Graeme 'Gowla' Gowland set to start the 12 lap Motorpoint British Supersport Sprint race from p8 on Saturday afternoon. However, torrential rain and persistent standing water on the track forced the cancellation of the afternoon activities, despite the heroic attempts by track marshals and race control.

Delayed until Sunday morning and reduced down to 10 laps, the lights finally went out for the Sprint at 11.40am. Seeley stole the holeshot from pole sitter Easton, with Gowla elevating his Seton Tuning Yamaha up a spot to round out the top seven.

The opening round at Brands Hatch last weekend proved to set the tone for the season at an early stage, with the 'usual suspects' once again battling for podium positions at the sharp end. At mid-race distance, Gowla disposed of Jones for sixth and looked odds-on to make further in-roads to the top five and beyond.

The action at the front proved relentless with lap times tumbling into the 1:17 bracket. Then near disaster struck as the front runners exited Club Chicane and headed for the white stripe and lap 7. Richards' Triumph let go, crashing spectacularly onto the home straight. With no chance to take avoiding action, the front of Gowla's YZF-R6 collided with the stricken bike and only a miracle kept the Northumbrian rubber side down. As the Triumph spiralled towards the edge of the circuit it burst into flames, and a red flag halted the race early, giving Gowla fifth and his highest finish of the season to date.

The Supersport Main Event would once again prove to arguably be the race of the day, with any three from a possible ten riders securing the three available podium slots. Gowla's Sprint time of 1:17.811s elevated the Yamaha rider to fourth on the grid - a position that he would hold for the opening six laps.

Due to concerns from control tyre supplier Pirelli that available tyres would not last the full distance on the abrasive 2.3mile circuit, the race was reduced from 18 to 15 laps. However, a second red flag incident would bring an even more abrupt end to proceedings for the second time in as many races.

Gowla made a blistering start from the lights to maintain grid position despite constant pressure from McConnell and Irwin. McConnell finally forced his way through on lap 7 as Gowla became embroiled in a solid battle with Richards and O'Halloran, muscling out the latter for sixth position as a red flag incident at Club Chicane halted the race on lap 13.

With two more solid point scoring rides, Gowla has moved up to fifth in the championship.


Mark Wilkinson #56


Seton Tuning Yamaha's Mark 'Wilko' Wilkinson battled through to claim three more points in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 race. Improving constantly throughout free practice, Wilko finished Q1 in 17th. Wet conditions greeted the riders for Q2, with the team providing a perfect wet setting for the young Australian rider to place him seventh at the close of the session.

Race day proved to be blustery but with a dry track. Mark made a fantastic start from the lights to round out the first lap in 11th position. An incident on the opening lap saw the deployment of the Safety Car as the marshals dealt with a second bike fire of the day.

Lap six saw the continuation of the race with Hastings and Simpkin battling for the lead. Wilko took advantage to move up to tenth, then ninth on the following lap and looking good for his second top ten finish in a row. However, mechanical gremlins struck, and Wilko was unable to defend his position, forced back a few places over the final laps to take the flag in 13th.

The team now has a three week break before the series heads to Oulton Park in Cheshire for the third round over the the May Bank Holiday weekend (4-6 May).

Phil Seton, Team Principal: "I was away for the first part of the meeting at my sister's wedding, so I would like to congratulate the whole team on the smooth running in my absence - perhaps I'll take the rest of the season off as I'm clearly not needed! It was great to see Graeme regain his composure after what must have been an horrific incident to be involved with in the Sprint, to then go out and battle hard for a well-deserved sixth in the Main Event. Once again, Graeme was the first 'privateer' home and has now moved up to fifth in a very tough championship, so a great achievement.

It was a real shame that Mark suffered from a clutch cable failure with a few laps left to go, as he looked as if he had the pace for another solid top ten finish. He did remarkably well with no control over his clutch to salvage some points. Obviously, this will be rectified ahead of the test on Wednesday at Oulton Park."

Graeme Gowland #81: "I'm happy with the outcome at Thruxton. We were really up against it on race day because of the inconsistent weather we had on Friday and Saturday, which had made it impossible to have a dry setting for Sunday - but saying that, the team worked really hard and we have come away with two top six results and we are lying 5th in the championship. We are so close to the front, we just need to take that next step, which we are all working hard towards."

Mark Wilkinson #56: "Really tough weekend for us at Thruxton. We came out in practice and had our wet set-up pretty much sorted, but in the dry for Qualifying 1 we were just a little off the pace. The boys did a great job sorting a dry set-up for me but unfortunately Qualification 2 was wet and I was unable to improve my position on the grid. I made a really good start to the race and felt really comfortable with the new dry set-up. I moved through the pack and began to close on the lead group of riders but with 3 laps remaining I had a mechanical problem with the clutch, which bumped me back through the pack. It's a gutting end to a tough weekend but we still scored points and take a lot of positives out of this weekend and move on to Oulton Park with a confident and positive mindset. I'd like to thank Dan and the entire Seton Tuning Yamaha Team for their efforts this weekend as well as a big thank you to everyone back in Australia for their support and to my sponsors Plaza Auto Sales, GSAutomotive, ROMPdesign, the Oil Warehouse and PJT Security for the help in 2013! Happy birthday also to my Mum back home in Australia on the weekend"

Images © Steve Hutchings


2013 Race Calendar

Thruxton Results

Motorpoint British Supersport
Sprint - 7 Laps

1. Easton, 2. Seeley, 3. Wilson, 4. McConnell, 5. Gowland
Main Event - 13 Laps
1. Easton, 2. Wilson, 3. Seeley, 4. McConnell, 5. Richards, 6. Gowland

Championship Points
1. Seeley - 77, 2. Easton - 75, 3. McConnell - 66, 4. Wilson - 65, 5. Gowland - 41

Pirelli National Superstock 600
Race - 14 Laps

1. Hastings, 2. Simpkin, 3. Lodge, 4. Whitaker, 5. ANderson, 13. Wilkinson

Championship Points
1. Simpkin - 40, 2. Hastings - 38, 3. Collier - 32, 4. Lodge - 32, 5. Cooper - 20,
9. Wilkinson - 11

Release issued by Mark at Shippey PR on behalf of Seton Tuning Yamaha
e: setonracing@shippeypr.co.uk | t: 07971 028 530
Seton Tuning LTD, 11 Moorside Business Centre, Colchester, Essex CO1 2TJ






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