Thruxton thriller as Sean Neary wins his first race of the year

Thruxton thriller as Sean Neary wins his first race of the year

Joe Collier wins Race 1 at Thruxton
Race 2 sees Sean Neary claim his first victory of the year
Levi Day scores 2 podium finishes

Joe Collier extends his championship lead at Thruxton, but Sean Neary gets his racing rhythm back after taking his first win of the season in Race 2.

Race 1
Joe Collier (Boast Plumbing) continued his dominant form at Thruxton with a Race 1 win at the Hampshire circuit. However, Collier was to be pushed all the way to the line by Zoek Racing Team’s Sean Neary during windy conditions.

After claiming his first Ducati Cup pole, Levi Day (Boast Plumbing) led for the first few laps ahead of Neary, Collier, Phil Atkinson (Highsparks Motorsport), Jonathan Railton (Boast Plumbing) and Mark Cheetham (Highsparks Motorsport). It was this leading six that broke away from the pack in the early laps of the race.

Race leader Day was looking strong but behind him Collier was on the move after passing Neary for 2nd on lap 3. On the next lap Collier went on to take the lead from Day, who was also passed by Neary as the Zoek Racing Team rider moved up in 2nd before going onto hound Collier out at the front. The leading riders continued to pull away with Collier, Neary and Day opening a gap of 1.765 seconds.

Despite Neary’s best efforts he was unable to pass Collier and with a final push for the line, crossed the chequered flag just 0.288 seconds behind the championship leader.

Further back down the field Scott Pitchers (Saul Bros) continued to show his excellent form since joining the series, passing Highsparks Motorsports teammates Atkinson and Cheetham on the penultimate lap to claim his best finish of the season in 4th.

A blown engine forced Sam Middlemas (Salus/ Albany) to miss the action last time out at Brands Hatch. But he put that heartache behind him to bring the first 899 home in 9th, over a second ahead of the nearest 899 rider Taryn Skinner (Highsparks Motorsport).

David Shourbridge was the top 899 finisher at the previous race at Brands Hatch and claimed an impressive 8th finish this time out after upgrading his ride to a 959 Panigale.

Race 2
The second Ducati Cup race of the weekend provided drama throughout, with the race coming down to the final corner.

Neary had started on pole but it was Day who made the most of his front row start in 3rd to take the holeshot and take the initial lead once again, with championship leader Collier in 3rd behind Neary.

Phil Atkinson (Highsparks Motorsport) momentarily took 3rd but Collier soon retook the position before making his way to the front of the pack to lead, just ahead of Neary and Day.

The top 3 riders started to pull a gap and it was soon clear that the race victory would belong to one of the 3 riders. But towards the end of the race Collier ran wide at the final chicane. As he re-joined the track it was deemed by race control that he had gained an unfair time advantage and unbeknown was issued a half-second time penalty.

As the Collier led into the last chicane a final time, Day tried to put a move of Neary but was unsuccessful. But with Neary 0.224s and Day 0.349s behind the race leader they were promoted to 2nd and 3rd after Collier’s time penalty was added. Neary claimed his 1st Ducati Cup victory of the year and denied Collier the chance of a Thruxton double-win.

Railton finished 4th setting a new lap record on Lap 2 with a blistering time of 1:19.241s.

Taryn Skinner (Highsparks Motorsport) just got the better of Sam Middlemas (Salus / Albany) in a ‘last-lap dash’ to bring the first 899 motorcycle home in 8th place.

Joe Collier extends his championship lead at the top of the Ducati TriOptions Performance Cup having now amassed 241.5 points. The absent Rob Guiver sits behind with 169 points, while Phil Atkinson closes the gap the 2nd spot with a total of 152 points.

Joe Collier (Boast Plumbing #4) – Race 1, 1st
Race 1: “It was interesting race. It was really windy and I think that played a part in everyone’s race so brought the lap times down a little bit. Round here, you’re never going to pull away from anyone. And my lap board kept saying plus zero, plus zero, plus zero. So, I knew someone was there. So, on the last lap we went all defensive and we managed to pull it off and come home with a win. And I just want to say get well to Guiver.”

Sean Neary (Zoek Racing Team #10) – Race 2, 1st
Race 2: “We finally got the bike right. I dug in then, that was a tough old race. I always say, and it’s not rocket science, but because of my size I always lose out down the back straight so I really had to dig in on the brakes there. I’m absolutely made up for the whole team. Obviously, I want to win more than anyone but these boys work so hard I’m just mega happy for them. With what happened with True Heroes earlier, our thoughts are with those boys because you never want to see that happen. Onwards and upwards.”