Round five of the Dickies British Supersport Championship at Knockhill this weekend proved to be a highly successful affair for the Integro Yamaha team as Jack Kennedy took both race wins with team-mate Brad Jones pushing him hard for two runner up placings. Brad took the lap record in the second race and Kennedy’s wins saw him regain the championship lead.
After first and second place finishes last time out at Brands Hatch, Kennedy signalled his intentions from the beginning of the weekend as he topped the first free practice session by more than a quarter of a second. He then went even quicker on Friday afternoon to maintain his status at the top of the leaderboard for the Colin Appleyard Macadam team.
Saturday’s solitary qualifying session went equally to plan as he secured his fifth consecutive pole position with a time of 49.024s whilst there was further joy for the team as Integro Yamaha team-mate Jones qualified in second to make it two Yamaha YZF-R6 machines on the front row. Equally important was that Championship leader Alastair Seeley was more than three quarters of a second slower than Jack and could only manage sixth place on the grid.
The sunshine at the Scottish circuit was then replaced by rain and thunderstorms with the end result being the ‘Sprint’ race was moved back to Sunday morning thus giving the riders two races in the day.
Race one saw the rain falling once more but it rapidly turned into a two-horse race between the two Integro Yamaha team-mates with Jones leading for the first five laps. By then, the two team-mates had pulled more than three seconds clear of the rest of the field and although they exchanged positions for the next five laps, lap ten saw Kennedy make his decisive move.
The Dublin rider quickly opened up a near one-second advantage and although Jones brought the gap down in the closing stages, Kennedy edged away again and took the chequered flag to win by an eventual 0.778s. Jones took an excellent second and with Seeley crashing out on lap 13, the results meant that Jack reduced his championship lead to just five points.
The second race later in the day was run in completely dry conditions and again Jack and Brad went head to head at the front of the field as little more than a quarter of a second separated them for much of the race. It was Jack who led from the first lap and although Brad set a new lap record, the telling point proved to be when they caught backmarkers in the closing stages. Kennedy got through the quicker of the two and took his second win of the day from Jones, the gap at the end 2.4s.
With a brace of wins, Jack has now retaken the Championship lead over Seeley with his advantage now a slender four points whilst Brad remains in third overall.
Jack Kennedy said: “I’m really happy with the win especially as we got a dry race but the wind made it difficult whilst Brad kept me honest throughout. I was putting in consistent laps, pretty much bang on the lap record but my board kept saying ‘+0’ so fair play to him. I got a bit of a gap at the end when we ran into the backmarkers but I’m delighted to have taken two wins and we’ve turned the Championship around so I couldn’t be happier!”
Brad Jones added: “I think that’s the first time I’ve ever taken a lap record so I’m happy with that! I thoroughly enjoyed the race and Jack and I were setting a really hot pace but, unfortunately for me, the backmarkers put paid to me making an attack on Jack. At the same time, it would have been hard to make a pass as Jack was so strong but I’m happy to have come home in second place and take another 20 points.”
Team owner Robin Appleyard summed up: “It’s been a perfect weekend really, Jack has been in control throughout and now sits back at the top of the standings whilst Brad has shown he can fight for the win and beat Seeley in a straight fight. The wet conditions in race one were really tough, then in race two the wind was so strong yet they were racing under the lap record, it just proves the pace and this class is still strong!”
Dickies British Supersport Championship Standings
Jack Kennedy (Integro Yamaha – Colin Appleyard Macadam Team) 195
Alastair Seeley (EHA Racing Yamaha) 191
Brad Jones (Integro Yamaha – Colin Appleyard Macadam Team) 172