There was joy for James Westmoreland at Thruxton yesterday as he finished on the podium for the first-time in his MCE British Superbike career.
Westmoreland was part of a huge battle for fourth throughout race one, but was able to take full advantage when John Hopkins was forced to retire from second-place due to a mechanical problem on the Ducati.
In the latter stages the 27-year-old managed to pull away from Shane Byrne and the chasing pack to join Josh Brookes and Dan Linfoot on the podium.
Westmoreland was looking strong once again in race two and was closing in on the podium-chasing group of riders when he was hit was technical problems on lap nine – forcing him to retire from the race.
Despite the set-back in race two, Westmoreland was still left in a positive mood after securing the podium finish earlier in the day.
A delighted Westmoreland said: “Obviously the mechanical in race two is unfortunate, as I thought I had the pace for another rostrum as my best lap was actually about 0.75s faster than it was in the opening race. Regardless of that though, it’s racing, we proved we’re fast and I’m still smiling. I’m walking away from here with my first-ever BSB podium and that feeling is incredible.”
The podium will give Westmoreland a huge sense of relief and satisfaction after a tough start to his 2015 campaign. His best finish so far this season had been eighth, back in race two at Knockhill, and Westmoreland was left feeling thankful towards his team for keeping their faith in him.
He said: “It’s been a really tough start to the year, but the team have stuck by me throughout. They’ve done everything I’ve asked of them and the bike today was absolutely faultless. We’ve worked well all weekend and I woke up this morning ready to show everybody what we can do.”
Westmoreland’s team principal at JG Speedfit Kawasaki, Mark Smith-Halvorsen, shared his rider’s happiness with the podium finish and believes that this could the turning-point in the season for him.
On Westmoreland’s performance this weekend, Smith-Halvorsen said: “He rode incredibly to take his debut podium and I’m so pleased for him. It’s not been an easy opening half of the season for him but we’re now seeing what we know he’s capable of. It’s disappointing an engine failure in the second race prevented him from possibly repeating that but I know it won’t be long until he repeats it!”