8 April 2013


Graeme Gowland #81


Seton Tuning Yamaha’s Graeme Gowland and Mark Wilkinson made a solid start to the long 2013 campaign as Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent hosted the opening round of the season (5-7 April).

In the ultra-competitive Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Graeme ‘Gowla’ Gowland looked impressive from the outset onboard the number 81 Seton Tuning Yamaha YZF-R6.

With two returning and one defending Supersport champions in the mix, the 27 year old Northumbrian drew first blood over the opposition as he headed the timing sheets after free practice at the close of play on Friday.

A tough qualifying session on Saturday morning showed the depth of quality of the Supersport field, with just 1.1 seconds covering the top 15 riders. Gowla's time of 47.320s was just shy of half a second from pole, but would see him start from p7 on the grid for the Sprint race scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

Gowla made a strong start from the lights as the field tentatively negotiated the short yet highly demanding 1.2mile Indy circuit for the first two laps of the season. A red flag incident involving O'Halloran and Brown on lap 2 saw a 16 lap re-start in original qualifying grid positions.

As Wilson stole the holeshot, Gowla made another solid start, locking horns with Cooper, Irwin and Jones. A mistake from Irwin on lap 13 allowed the Seton Tuning Yamaha rider to capitalise, elevating his Yamaha up to 7th position then into sixth for eight championship points, with a move past Jones on the final lap.

Gowla’s fastest lap time of 47.293s pushed him back one slot on the grid for the Main Event. Seeley took the holeshot from teammate Wilson into Paddock Hill, and Gowla maintained grid position for the opening exchanges of a fast-paced, frenetic race. With the front six riders beginning to break clear, Gowla seized his opportunity to pass Irwin into Paddock Hill on lap 3, and began to hunt down the leading pack.

As the race approached mid-distance, Gowla grabbed the tails of the leaders to became firmly ensconced in the dice for the podium. However, with all six riders running near identical lap times, Gowla was forced to settle for sixth place at the flag crossing the line as top Yamaha, as Seeley took his first win of the season.


Mark Wilkinson #56


Teammate, Mark ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson surpassed all expectations with a sterling performance that saw the young Australian rider secure his highest result for Seton Tuning Yamaha, in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 season opener.

‘Wilko’s’ debut season as part of a three-pronged assault on the title in the testosterone-fueled class in 2012 proved to be a very steep yet rewarding learning curve. Revisiting the scene of his first taste of British championship racing, the plucky 23 year old looked to improve upon the respectable top 20 finish secured in the wet last year.

Buoyed by strong performances in pre-season testing, and returning to a circuit he now has a good knowledge of, Wilko was determined for a strong start to his 2013 campaign.

Qualifying in 18th position did not deter Wilko as the lights went out for the start of the 22 lap encounter. A brilliantly executed start and opening lap had Wilko listed as p12 as the riders rounded out the first lap.  

As the race settled into its natural rhythm, Mark became embroiled in a five rider battle for the remaining top ten positions. Knocked back from 11th to 14th mid-race, Mark re-grouped as he began to slowly move his Seton Tuning Yamaha back up through the order. Posting his fastest lap of the race on lap 15 (48.616s) as he moved into 12th, Wilko could taste the exhaust fumes of the top ten.

A series of decisive passes elevated the Yamaha rider up to sixth as the race headed towards the closing stages. With a gap of almost five seconds ahead, Wilko held off the constant advances of Campbell and Fisher for three laps but was pushed back to eighth on the run in to the chequered flag.

The team will head to the ultra-fast circuit of Thruxton in Hampshire next weekend for Round 2 (12-14 April).

Phil Seton, Team Principal: "That was a good solid start for both riders. Graeme's first race was a little disappointing but we changed the set-up for Sunday and it improved the bike dramatically. By the time Graeme had caught the front six his tyre was pretty much used up, so he did brilliantly to keep the pace until the end. We're now firmly in the mix and Graeme and the bike are clearly competitive.

For Mark, that was not only his best finishing position but also his highest qualifying, so his weekend is full of positives. Mark put in a great ride in the race and it was very exciting for us to watch, just a shame he missed out on sixth.

A big thanks to the whole Seton Tuning Yamaha team that worked tirelessly throughout the weekend. We've got a number of new faces in the team and the first round is always a little tense but everyone pulled together to make it a highly enjoyable and smoothly run opening round. Roll on Thruxton and a level playing field where we know our bikes will be strong."

Graeme Gowland #81: "I'm happy with the weekend. We have come away from Brands with two solid results and I can take some confidence from race 2 after bridging the gap to the front bunch and running with them for rest of the race. I'm looking forward to Thruxton now where the Seton Tuning Yamaha R6 can really stretch its legs."

Mark Wilkinson #56: "Solid weekend for me at Brands Hatch. I struggled a little early in the weekend getting back into UK mode with the crazy weather but come race day the Seton Tuning Crew were able to get me more and more confident on the bike. We learnt a lot from this weekend that we will continue to move forward with. The race was really good for me. I was more confident pushing the bike and getting more out of it consistently throughout the race. To come away with 8pts is a good start to our championship campaign and I'm really looking forward to Thruxton next weekend for round 2 of the championship! I'd like to thank Dan, Phil and the entire Seton Tuning 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 and PJT Security for the help in 2013!"

Images © Steve Hutchings


2013 Race Calendar

Brands Hatch Indy Results

Motorpoint British Supersport
Sprint - 16 Laps

1. Easton, 2. McConnell, 3. Seeley, 4. Wilson, 5. Richards, 6. Gowland
Main Event - 26 Laps
1. Seeley, 2. McConnell, 3. Wilson, 4. Jones, 5. Richards, 6. Gowland

Championship Points
1. Seeley - 41, 2. McConnell - 40, 3. Wilson - 29, 4. Easton - 25, 5. Richards - 22,
7. Gowland - 20

Pirelli National Superstock 600
Race - 22 Laps

1. Collier, 2. Simpkin, 3. Lodge, 4. Hastings, 5. Cooper, 8. Wilkinson

Championship Points
1. Collier - 25, 2. Simpkin - 20, 3. Lodge - 16, 4. Hastings - 13, 5. Cooper - 11,
8. Wilkinson - 8

Release issued by Mark at Shippey PR on behalf of Seton Tuning Yamaha
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Seton Tuning LTD, 11 Moorside Business Centre, Colchester, Essex CO1 2TJ






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