BURTON-based Anvil Hire TAG Racing team enjoyed two promising points scoring finishes in their debut British Superbike Championship outing at Brands Hatch last weekend.
Richard Cooper scored an eighth and a 15th place finish, securing nine points to leave the Kent circuit 12th in the championship, while team-mate Mitchell Carr posted 20th in the opening race, before crashing in race two.
Cooper started the squad’s first ever superbike race from an impressive sixth on the grid following a dramatic wet weather qualifying on Saturday.
After a typically flying start, a lengthy delay ensued while the organisers cleaned the track surface.
Cooper resumed the race from fifth place, but without the advantage he had built up prior to the stoppage.
With race two starting positions determined by the riders’ best laps in race one, Cooper lined up 13th on the grid with Carr 20th.
After running in the battle for 10th in the opening laps, Cooper slipped back as low as 16th but fought back hard to earn a point for 15th after 30 grueling laps.
He said: There are a lot of positives to take away with us.
“Our bike is certainly fast but it’s hard going around here and we were struggling a little getting out of Clearways.
“We’ve got a lot to try at the next round and getting two solid rides under our belts is a good start to the season.”
Carr, having made some changes to his bike set-up between the races, slipped off under braking with seven laps to go.
Both races were won by three-time champion Shane Byrne.
TAG Racing were represented in two of the support class events as Samuel Hornsey rode a Triumph Daytona 675 in the British Supersport Championship, fighting through from 20th in wet weather qualifying to end Saturday’s sprint race in ninth.
Hornsey was then involved in a good five-way battle for eighth in Sunday’s 20-lap feature event, taking the flag in 10th for two points-scoring finishes and ninth in the championship standings.
In the National Superstock 1000 Championship, the team was represented by local brothers Gary and Shaun Winfield, riding the team’s Kawasaki ZX-10Rs for the first time.
Shaun just missed the cut for Sunday’s race after finishing 15th in the Saturday evening qualifying race, while Gary retired in the opening stages.
MEANWHILE, Swadlincote equipe Buildbase BMW Motorrad headed home from Brands Hatch season opener with a fourth place, three top-ten finishes and proof that they are a formidable package.
After the delayed restart, Ryuichi Kiyonari, who had qualified on the front row but stalled and re-joined the field in last place, finished 16th, while James Westmoreland, who had qualified on the second row, finished 10th.
Kiyonari’s best lap time in race one secured him a spot on row two for the second BSB race, with Westmoreland on the fifth.
Westmoreland fought his way up from 15th to finish seventh, pulling back eight places, while Kiyonari battled with the front-runners from flag to flag, securing fourth place – and matching BMW Motorrad’s best BSB result so far.
In the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race, young rider Lee Jackson qualified fourth on the BMW HP4, going on to finish sixth.
The next round is May 3-5 at Oulton Park.