Excellent McConnell fights back following qualifying issues


Smiths Racing BMW rider, Billy McConnell, put in two strong performances to put the troubles of qualifying behind him at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.

McConnell had to start from 30th on the grid in race one after suffering from mechanical issues during Q1 of the Datatag Extreme Qualifying session, meaning that he was unable to put in a competitive lap-time.

The reigning British Supersport Champion put all of this to one side however to put in an impressive performance which saw the 28-year-old tear through the field, eventually finishing in ninth place.

Despite not being able to make quite the same impact in race two, from 11th on the grid, McConnell still got himself into the top 10 and ended the race in ninth once again.

After the race, McConnell said: “Everything was going really well up until qualifying which was a bit of a nightmare but it was just one of those things and I just got stuck in and kept chipping away in the races. It was hard going from so far back on the grid and with a lack of track time compared to everyone else, we’re up against it a bit.

“Everything’s brand new to us and we’re having to try different things all the time but I’m really happy with the bike and we’re consistently running in the top ten now. I surprised myself a bit in the first race to pass so many people and perhaps race two was a little bit disappointing but, overall, I’m happy and we can take a lot of positives away with us.”

The results at Brands Hatch mean that McConnell finds himself 12th in the standings on 21 points, seven points behind the final top six showdown place, which currently belongs to Ryuichi Kiyonari on the Buildbase BMW.

Smiths Racing’s team manager, Rebecca Smith, added: “It’s been a weekend of ups and downs and after looking good in free practice, Billy’s crash in qualifying cost us more than we thought. The brake problem in qualifying was one of those things but to come from 30th to ninth was amazing and just shows how well Billy is riding. It’s done both his and the team’s confidence a world of good and with three top ten finishes from the first four races, it’s testament to everyone concerned.”