THE third round of the 2014 MCE British Superbike Championship – the first following a five-week break – saw the Buildbase BMW Motorrad team leave Snetterton with two Title Fighters-worthy finishes after Ryuichi Kiyonari crossed the line in fourth and fifth place.
Team-mate James Westmoreland was hit by a streak of bad luck, being caught behind a big accident and forced off the track in race one and having his bike cut out in race two after it was rebuilt from the frame up by the team.
The first BSB race was incident-heavy, with the safety car deployed after multiple accidents on the third lap.
Unfortunately, Westmoreland was unlucky enough to be right behind one of the crashes, forcing him to divert onto the grass.
He rejoined the field in dead last and had worked his way up to the top 10 in a stunning comeback, when he lost the front at Nelson and caused significant damage to his BMW S 1000 RR Superbike.
While the Ashby-based team raced to essentially build him a new bike in the two hours before race two, Kiyonari went on to finish fifth.
In race two, the team’s technicians had managed to complete Westmoreland’s bike, allowing him to line up on the grid in sixth position, next to team-mate Kiyonari.
As the lights went off and the race started, Kiyo had a storming launch and found himself in fourth position.
Westmoreland sadly retired on the first lap as a loose wire ended his day’s racing.
He said: “This was one of the worst racing days I’ve had in a while.
“The reason it’s so frustrating is that the feeling I’ve got on my bike is just incredible, it feels so good.
“As you could see in the first race, after being forced off and being dead last, I was on track to finish sixth.
“I crashed, and that was my mistake, though.
“The second race is one of those racing incidents, the boys did an amazing job building me a brand new bike in just over two hours – but unfortunately it didn’t quite work out.
“We’ll regroup, we’ll be all guns blazing at Knockhill – a track I really look forward to riding at.
“I feel so good on the bike that this weekend isn’t going to upset me too much.”
Meanwhile, Kiyonari was keeping pace with the front riders until running wide on a corner, which let two riders past and left him back in sixth place.
However, the Japanese racer pulled back two places and finished fourth by the chequered flag – equalling BMW Motorrad’s best BSB result once again.
Kiyonari said: “Today was not a big improvement over Friday and Saturday, mostly because the conditions were so cold and windy.
“I prefer hot weather, it suits me and my riding style.
“But now I have ridden the BMW in this kind of conditions, so we’ll know how to make the most of it.
“That’s probably a good thing as we are at Knockhill next round!
“I feel good on the bike, I am getting to know the S 1000 RR and the team very well and I feel really happy about everything.
“I had my fastest lap sections of the weekend at the end of race two, so we all feel like we are closing in on the perfect setup – and that will let us push for podiums and more.”
Lee Jackson finished sixth in the delayed and shortened Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race.
Initially scheduled at the start of the day’s racing, the fixture was delayed until immediately after the first BSB race – and shortened to just six laps.
Jackson started well in the sprint race, keeping up with the front of the pack on his BMW HP4 and making the most of his second-row start.
By the end of the race, he had kept the speed up and fended off a late challenge from Adam Jenkinson to finish sixth.
Following the race, Jackson is now seventh in the championship.
He said: “It wasn’t a bad race, but it was a bit disappointing – sixth place after finishing on the podium here last year isn’t great.
“I didn’t quite get into a rhythm – but it was such a short race, six laps is not long at all.
“I do feel that I let the team down a bit with a sixth place, they’ve all worked so hard to get my bike working so well.
“But, on the bright side, I had the fastest lap of the race all the way until the last lap and we’re consistent.
“Bring on Knockhill, it’ll be a tough weekend but I’ve got the determination to go out there and win for me, for BMW and for the team.”