Mixed bag of results as BSB returns

After months of waiting the British Superbike championship returned with a bang thanks to an opening round full thrills and some serious spills as the region’s riders and teams left Donington Park in very different frames of mind.

All three Cannock-based OMG Racing riders left round one with some top results, ending the weekend as the best-placed BMW team in the series.

Seventeen-year-old Storm Stacey secured three impressive top 20 finishes on his BSB debut, falling just short of recording his first points, while Brownhills-based Astro JJR ended the weekend with one of their New Zealand riders, Damon Rees, sitting joint first in the National Supestock 1000 series. Rees’ team-mate, Caolan Irwin, also sits second in the National Superstock 600 series after one race.

Hednesford twins, Kurt and Matt Wigley, were steady away in the British Supersport and GP2 classes respectively, while youngsters Ben Taylor, from Kidderminster, and Mcauley Longmore, from Willenhall, were also back in British Junior Superspot action, with Heath Hayes teenage rider, Josh Hiatt, competing in the British Talent Cup.

However, the weekend ended badly for Brierley Hill’s Michael Rutter and the rest of the Bathams Racing team as their star rider, reigning superstock 1000 title holder, Richard Cooper, crashed out and suffered a broken leg.

OMG Racing rider Hector Barbera and Luke Mossey were both out on their BMWS1000RR machines for the first time in the main BSB races.

But Barbera, challenging for the lead, was forced to retire in race one, with team-mate Luke Mossey finishing sixth.

Mossey was pushed out wide early in race two, eventually crossing the line in 17th, with Barbera improving to ninth.

Race three saw arguably the peak of the thrills, with the spectacular Spaniard scything through the field after a slow start to snatch second place and, with it, the new lap record.

However, the second half of the race proved more challenging, and despite crossing the line in eighth, a penalty for cutting the final chicane put him back to 10th, after Andrew Irwin was eventually penalised. Mossey came 13th.

Meanwhile, GR Motosport rider Stacey, from Eccleshall, brought his Kawasaki home in 16th, 20th and 17th, to mark a very impressive debut, missing out on his first BSB point by just 0.3 seconds.

His team tweeted: “And that’s race three, P17 finish for Storm. His first weekend in BSB and he makes it three top 20 finishes. Great Job Storm and the team. What a start to the season.”

OMG Racing rider Billy McConnell produced an outstanding result in the second superstock 1000 race to claim second spot on the rostrum having started in 16th, having finished 19th in race one.

And it was in the same race that Cooper made his debut for Black Country-based Bathams Racing on the new BMW S1000RR, with team principle Rutter deciding to sit the opening superstock 1000 round out.

Cooper made good progress adapting to the BMW during practice, eventually qualifying seventh for the first of two races on Saturday.

After finishing seventh in race one, he lined up on the second row for race two. However, it was at the end of the opening lap disaster struck for Cooper.

After clipping the rear tyre of a competitor in front of him, whose bike had missed a gearshift, Cooper crashed heavily and suffered a broken leg.

He was transferred to The Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham for treatment – and earlier this week, Rutter confirmed Bathams Racing would not be competing at Snetterton this weekend for round two of the BSB series.

Rutter said: “After round one, everyone involved with Bathams Racing agreed that with the limited amount of time available between rounds, and with the amount of damage sustained to one of our bikes, we won't be able to compete at Snetterton to the standards that we set ourselves and which our sponsors and partners expect.

"Therefore, the best thing to do for everyone is to make sure we are 100 per cent prepared for round three at Silverstone in September.

"However, there has been some positive news this week not just for Bathams Racing, but for all British Superbike fans.

"Richard Cooper is on the road to recovery following successful surgery on his broken leg and he has already begun physiotherapy.

"Everyone at Bathams Racing are extremely grateful for the standard of care that Richard has received by all the medical staff at Donington Park, and at The Queens Medical Centre.”

Astro JJR racer Rees enjoyed much better fortunate, finishing race one in second and race two in 11th, to sit joint first in the superstock 1000 standings with his team-mate and fellow New Zealander, Shane Richardson, ending race one in 16th, followed by a DNF in race two.

Kurt Wigley picked up a DNF and an eighth in the supersport class, with Matt getting two GP2 results, to sit 12th and 11th in the standings.

Hiatt finished 19th in the opening talent cup race and Longmore had 25th and 26th in the junior supersport class, just ahead of Taylor, who finished 26th and 27th.

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