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May 06, 2014 - 03:30 PM
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Top 20s For Hartley - As Jack Valentine Takes Command
Posted by: newsla on May 06, 2014 - 03:24 PM
Top 20s For Hartley - As Jack Valentine Takes Command

THE Halsall Biker Gear Kawasaki team has returned home from the second round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship with two strong finishes for teenage hotshot Harry Hartley – and a new arrival in the form of Jack Valentine who takes the reins as Team Manager with immediate effect.


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The Bolton-based squad arrived at their local track, Oulton Park, fielding just 17-year-old Hartley as the only rider after parting company with Lee Costello last week. And it was to be learning curve of a weekend for the Burnley youngster in only his second race weekend as a Superbike rider.

After using the early practice sessions to get to grips with how his new bike handles around the Cheshire track, Hartley qualified 22nd on the grid for Bank Holiday Monday’s opening race. Getting a solid start, he picked up a couple of places in the opening few laps before slowly picking his way up to finish the race 17th.

And it was more of the same in the afternoon’s second race. This time starting from 23rd spot he got a demon start, rocketing up to 18th spot in the opening lap. A small mistake on Lap Five dropped him back to 22, and he spent the rest of the race picking his way back through the order to eventually finish 17th once more.

“It wasn’t too bad, but I just kept making mistakes,” he said. “I kept running off at Hizzy’s and then I had to spend the rest of the time trying to make up for it. I had the pace to run with Josh Waters and people like that but I just couldn’t make it perfect.

“I’m happy though because I was a lot faster in that second race and it shows that we are in a good place. It’s still only my second race on the Superbike and if I look at my times, I can’t be too disappointed. If it hadn’t been for my mistakes we could’ve easily had two points finishes there.”

Hartley is expected to get more testing in during the six week break before the next round, as the team today comes under the regime of Jack Valentine. Valentine joins as Team Manager and is looking forward to pulling the team into shape – his way.

“Martin and I have been in touch a lot over the last few months and he asked me to come on board as Team Manager,” he explained. “What he wanted and was offering worked for me. It’s the chance to come into the team and give them the benefit of my experience, working and doing things my way to get the best out of everyone.

“I spent time with them at Oulton and I’ve been impressed with how they work. The crew are great and Harry is looking like he has the talent needed to become a top Superbike rider. I’m really looking forward to getting started with the team. I’m probably going to move myself into the unit early this week and then plan some testing ahead of Snetterton, so we can get Harry feeling more confident before the next round.”

Team owner Martin Halsall added: “It’s been a superb weekend, and I know Harry was a bit disappointed not to get in the points this time but he’s worked hard and he’s still learning as he goes. I’m happy with his results, he’s making great progress and we’re sure it can only keep getting better and better, especially now Jack is on board.

“I’ve brought Jack in as Team Manager and I’m looking forward to him getting us all into order and doing things his way. He brings with him many years of experience and knowledge and I believe with Jack at the helm we can really start pushing further and further towards the front. I’m delighted to have Jack with us, and it’s all looking great for the remainder of the season.”

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