MOTORCYCLING: Clarke happy to secure second spot

On the podium at Assen

Kirton rider Aaron Clarke was runner-up to draperRACING team-mate Tommy Philp in the BeNeCup.

They were contesting the penultimate round of the British Supersport Championship races plus the BeNeCup for Superbike and Supersport riders in the Dutch Championship at Assen.

Aaron Clarke

Philp completed both his Supersport races in eighth position while Clarke crashed in the difficult conditions on Saturday and finished 15th on Sunday.

Qualifying was held in wet conditions on Saturday and Philp qualified for a start from the fifth row of the grid for the Sprint race which also ran in heavy rain. #

But Philp relishes a wet track and was happy to run in the dire conditions making up ground from 15th place to cross the finish line in a fine eighth position.

He went on to start the Feature race from the fourth row on Sunday in fine, dry conditions which made for a faster race.

It has been a long time since I have had to clean champagne from my leathers!

Aaron Clarke

Philp edged his way forward and crossed the finish line in 10th place but two riders ahead were penalised and this elevated him up to eighth once again.

Philp is now in 16th place in the rider standings on 74 points with just two races remaining.

Both he and Clarke entered the BeNeCup Dutch Championship in which a mixed grid of Superbike and Supersport machines battled it out for the points in their individual championships.

Philp qualified on pole and held his own among a full grid of Superbikes to finish the race in ninth place overall but took a decisive win in the Supersport class.

He said: “There were a lot more Superbikes than Supersport on the grid and I was running well near the front of the field.

“I led the race into the first corner but then the faster bikes caught me on the straights.

“It has given me a lot of confidence to have been able to match the speed of the more powerful machines - I was giving away 400cc to them so I think the new engine is proving to be an asset.

“It has been a while since I stepped onto a podium and I was delighted to secure the win in the Supersport class and receive a trophy for my efforts!”

Because there was no Stock 600 race at Assen, Clarke was having a ride in the British Supersport races to gain experience racing against the faster bikes.

He qualified well in 17th place for the start of the 10-lap Sprint race on Saturday but fell foul to the slippery conditions and crashed at turn five on lap four.

Determined to make up for his crash, Clarke started the feature race from the seventh row and was running in 20th place for a few laps before moving forward to complete the race in 16th place.

But with a rider ahead being awarded a one-minute penalty for causing a crash ,Clarke was promoted up to 15th place to pick up a championship point.

He entered the Dutch Superbike and Supersport race and qualified in 14th place overall - fourth Supersport.

He held his position mixed in with the more powerful Superbikes but it was an even better achievement for him as he was on his stock 600cc bike and giving away a lot of horsepower in both classes.

He finished the race in 11th place overall but secured second place in the Supersport class and along with his team-mate attended the podium presentation to be awarded his trophy.

Clarke said: “I am over the moon with my results.

“Saturday’s crash was just one of those things that happen in bad conditions and I was not alone in tipping off.

“I was really pleased with my performance in the British Supersport Feature race, especially being promoted a place after the race meaning I finished in the points.

“But the icing on the cake is my result in the Dutch race.

“I was running well but hit a false neutral and ran wide losing around five seconds and lost the tow otherwise I would have finished much near to Tommy.

“I couldn’t have passed him as he was faster than me but I still finished second and am so happy. It has been a long time since I have had to clean champagne from my leathers!”

The final round of both draperRACING riders’ championships are at Brands Hatch on October 15.

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