MOTORCYCLING: Sam’s strong finish on debut in big bike class

Tom Fisher. Photos by Dave Yeomans
Tom Fisher. Photos by Dave Yeomans

It wasn’t the best start to the season for the G&S Racing Kawasaki team as both Tom Fisher and Ben Luxton suffered crashes – but Sam Coventry finished his races in a strong 21st place on his debut.

After completing his qualifying in 25th position, Coventry began the new format Superstock 1000 race from a ninth row grid position.
Despite the difficult weather conditions, he rode well to finish the first half of the 100-mile race in 24th position - coming for refuelling and a change of tyres before taking his place on the grid for the start of the second half of the race.

Sam Coventry

Sam Coventry

This time he was promoted to the eighth row, hauling himself back up from 26th on the first lap to chase after the riders ahead.

He picked off three on the second lap and entered into a race-long battle with James White.

The pair moved up into 21st and 22nd position, exchanging places throughout the race, but Coventry managed to get ahead on the final lap to take a very creditable 21st place on his first outing in the big bike class.

Starting Sunday’s race from the eighth row, Coventry quickly moved up into 18th position but the race was red-flagged when three riders crashed on lap two and the grid was reformed.

Ben Luxton

Ben Luxton

This time he didn’t get such a good start and completed the first lap in 26th place.

But he pushed on and worked his way back up the field and once again took the chequered flag in 21st place.

Fisher was unfortunate to be caught out by the weather when the rain became a little heavier in the first section of the 100-mile Superstock 1000 race.

He slipped from his machine at Coppice in the early stages and was ineligible to start the second part of the 100-mile race.

Lap times from Saturday determined the grid for Sunday’s race with Fisher being awarded a start from row 12.

It just wasn’t Fisher’s weekend as he was t-boned by another rider at the Melbourne Hairpin on the first lap and his handlebars were taken from him, causing him to crash.

Although the race was red-flagged for another crash further upfield, the bike was too badly damaged to make repairs before the restart and Fisher’s weekend was over.

Luxton was making his debut for the team in the stock 600 class and was progressing well during free practice and qualifying.

He began his race from a fifth row grid position and got away to a good start, making up places to 12th on the opening lap.

By lap 11 he was up to 11th and looking to move further upfield when he lost the front and fell at the Old Hairpin so his race was over.

Team manager Mark Fisher said: “Tom is OK after his problems. It just was not his weekend and being T-boned in the race on Sunday was the last straw for him.

“Sam did really well on his first time out for the team.

“He found it tough going into two 50-mile races on Saturday but he coped well and went faster with every lap.

“The Sunday race ended with the same result of 21st but his lap times were coming down and he enjoyed his race.

“Ben was unlucky, he was a bit over anxious going into the hairpin and lost the front.

“He was the fastest rider on the track over four consecutive laps and was learning a lot. He was on the pace and really the punishment didn’t fit the crime.”

The next round is at Brands Hatch over the Easter weekend of April 14-17.