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Super Seventh For Gowland As Billy Crashes Out
Posted by: newsla on Feb 23, 2014 - 03:54 PM
Super Seventh For Gowland As Billy Crashes Out

The Smiths Triumph Racing Team kicked off their 2014 season in contrasting styles when they contested the opening round of the World Supersport Championship at Phillip Island in Australia this weekend.


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The Gloucester-based 2012 British Supersport champions were running both Australian Billy McConnell and Northumberland rider Graeme Gowland on factory-supported Triumph Daytona 675Rs at the Victoria racetrack as part of their preparation for the forthcoming Motorpoint British Supersport Championship season which starts at Easter.

Adelaide rider McConnell, who turned 27 on Christmas Eve, was hoping for a good result at his home track and qualified in 12th position with 28-year-old Gowland, from Allendale, posting 18th on his return to the track.

As the race got underway, McConnell got a good start and circulated with the leading bunch for the opening lap in eighth position with Gowland a bit further down but looking to move up which he soon did.

Placed third in the last three seasons in BSS, McConnell maintained his top ten placing as the battle intensified and by lap six, he remained just five seconds off the lead with former Spanish Supersport champion Gowland making good progress up to 12th.

The Smiths Triumph Racing pair held station and were looking good to add to the amazing finishing record as wild cards when out came the red flags when Jack Kennedy's Honda dropped oil after a technical problem meaning a five lap dash for the restart.

McConnell was once again chasing after the leaders on the opening lap when he crashed out uninjured at the Siberia corner as Gowland held 11th. Gradually, with a combination of some hard riding and a little bit of attrition, the Geordie rider crossed the line in a fantastic seventh place, just five seconds off the intense battle of the leaders, to record the best World Championship result of his career.

Despite McConnell's disappointment, Gowland's achievement cemented the Smiths Triumph Racing Team's reputation of strong results as wild card entries in the World Supersport Championship. In 2012, Glen Richards qualified his Smiths Triumph in fifth at Donington Park before going on to finish fifth in the race whilst McConnell took a superb ninth in that race and the third member of the team, Luke Mossey, also scored a point in 15th place. At the same Donington Park race in 2013, Richards claimed an amazing third slot on the grid and came home ninth in the race.

Team Manager Rebecca Smith: "Phillip Island has been a fantastic shakedown for us as a team. Graeme has slotted into the team perfectly and everybody has worked hard this week to produce his result here. Obviously we are disappointed for Billy but he has more than shown what he was capable of. The Smiths Triumph Daytona 675R has again proven to be a very competitive machine and the start of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship season can't come soon enough now."

Billy McConnell: "I was really looking forward to my home race and felt comfortable all weekend. The race was going fine until the red flags came out and then in the restart, I was very disappointed to crash out on the opening lap as I felt a good result was possible. Still, we can take a lot of positives away from this weekend which will stand us in good stead for Brands Hatch."

Graeme Gowland: "This has been a brilliant opportunity for me to familiarise myself with the Triumph 675R and the Smiths Racing Team. It's been a great experience for me and the team; we have achieved a lot and have been competitive. We are now looking forward to coming back home to start our testing plan and look forward to the opening round at Brands Hatch."

The opening round of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship gets under way at Brands Hatch over Easter (April 18/21st).

Picture attached (courtesy of Graeme Brown, GB Images): Billy McConnell (3) and Graeme Gowland (81) in action on the Smiths Triumph Racing Team Daytona 675R at Philip Island.

2014 Motorpoint British Supersport Championship
18/19/20/21 April - Brands Hatch Indy, Kent
3/4/5 May - Oulton Park, Cheshire
13/14/15 June - Snetterton 300, Norfolk
27/28/29 June - Knockhill, Fife
18/19/20 July - Brands Hatch GP, Kent
1/2/3 August - Thruxton, Hampshire
8/9/10 August - Oulton Park, Cheshire
23/24/25 August - Cadwell Park, Lincolnshire
5/6/7 September - Donington Park GP, Leicestershire
19/20/21 September - Assen, Netherlands
3/4/5 October - Silverstone GP, Northamptonshire
17/18/19 October - Brands Hatch GP, Kent

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