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Aug 10, 2014 - 03:14 PM
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Smiths Triumph Continue Winning Ways At Oulton
Posted by: newsla on Aug 10, 2014 - 03:11 PM
Smiths Triumph Continue Winning Ways At Oulton

The Gloucester-based Smiths Triumph Racing Team maintained station at the top of the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship following Oulton Park over the weekend with Billy McConnell taking a win and team-mate Graeme Gowland scoring a brace of podiums.


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Englishman Gowland and Australian McConnell qualified on pole position and third place respectively on the grid for Saturday's 10-lap Sprint race and with glorious conditions prevailing, the pair slotted into first and fourth in the early stages. Hexham rider Gowland looked the most likely to win, leading for the first five laps, but it was always close with less than a second separating the first five riders. Sadly for him, he slipped back in the second half of the race, dropping back to third as Luke Stapleford and Billy moved ahead. However, when Stapleford retired on the penultimate lap, Adelaide ace McConnell took full advantage to take his third win of the season with Gowland's second place giving the team their third 1-2 finish of the season.

Today's Feature race was held in difficult, damp conditions and a five-lap period under the safety car, due to a first lap crash, meant it ended up being a ten lap dash for the flag. Gowland held sway in the early stages aboard the factory-supported Triumph Daytona 675R but couldn't resist a charging Alastair Seeley who went on to take the win to ensure the championship standings closed right back up again. Gowland took third behind Glenn Irwin with McConnell in fifth meaning the rider from Allendale in Northumberland leads his team-mate by one point with Seeley three points further back in third, exactly the gap between the trio when they arrived at the circuit.

Billy McConnell: "I've been getting a bit emotional with Graeme kicking my butt every weekend recently but we've kept chipping away and the team have been right behind me and giving me the confidence to push for the race wins so to get the top spot in Saturday's race felt great. I tried to ride really defensive on the last lap but I ended up making a few mistakes which allowed Graeme to close right in and I was lucky to hold on to the win. I struggled a bit today and was quite weak through Hizzy's but we got fifth and at the end of the day, points make prizes. We're still right in the mix so a big thanks to the whole Smiths Triumph team for giving me a great bike this weekend."

Graeme Gowland: "I really like Oulton Park but it's a circuit where I've never fared that well in the past so to come away with a couple of podiums is really pleasing. Saturday was another close race and I never had any breathing space. When Luke blew up, both myself and Mossey had to back off a bit but I got my head down on the last lap, which proved to be the fastest of the race and I only just missed out on the win in the end. Today's race was a real challenge with the conditions and I knew with Billy behind me it was crucial not to make any mistakes. I just did what I had to do and to have four points between the top three still just shows how close it is and it'll be like this until the end of the season."

Rebecca Smith, Team Manager: "We were hoping to make some major inroads into the championship this weekend as Oulton is a strong circuit for both riders and although we're leaving in exactly the same position as what we arrived in, it's been a good weekend. Both Graeme and Billy rode well in all conditions and it was particularly important to get good finishes and points in today's race as these are the ones that can damage your title hopes. We've been consistent again so couldn't have asked for much more from the weekend and we're very much looking forward to Cadwell Park. Billy's very strong there whilst Graeme's confidence with the bike improves at every round so we're more than hopeful for another strong meeting."

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race One - 10 laps
1 Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing Triumph)
2 Graeme Gowland (Smiths Racing Triumph)
3 Luke Mossey (Triumph)
4 Jake Dixon (Yamaha)
5 Alastair Seeley (Yamaha)
6 Luke Jones (Triumph)

Motorpoint British Supersport Championship Race Two - 15 laps
1 Alastair Seeley (Yamaha)
2 Glenn Irwin (Kawasaki)
3 Graeme Gowland (Smiths Racing Triumph)
4 Luke Jones (Triumph)
5 Billy McConnell (Smiths Racing Triumph)
6 James Rispoli (Yamaha)

Championship Points (after seven rounds)
1 Gowland 228pts
2 McConnell 227
3 Seeley 224
4 Jones 175
5 Irwin 158
6 Stapleford 152

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