This weekend Bennetts British Superbikes will see the return of the historic Race of Aces’ which last took place in 1994 at the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk. This, of course, means that the pride for pole position would mean just that little bit more as thirty riders toughed it out.
As the Datatag Extreme Qualifying kicked off at a sunny but windy Snetterton it was BeWiser Ducati’s Scott Redding who had topped free practice who was immediately the man to beat. Early on Jason O’Halloran’s run of bad luck continued at he fell off at Agostini’s. The McAms Yamaha Team managed to get the bike back out for the final part of the session but O’Halloran had yet another crash at the same corner ruling him out of qualifying.
Bennetts British Superbike returnee and 2015 Moto3 World Champion Danny Kent made a return with Jap4performance on-board Leon Camier’s ex-World Superbike MV Agusta however it was short-lived with numerous issues throughout free practice he was black and orange flagged (mechanical flag) in qualifying one due to a clutch cover coming loose on his fairing.
Michael Laverty who is returning to the Tyco BMW team had a strong first qualifying session comfortably around the top ten standing in for Keith Farmer who broke both his legs in his Knockhill qualifying crash.
As the session concluded James Ellison, Ryan Vickers, Jason O’halloran, Claudio Corti, Matt Truelove, David Allingham, Dean Harrison, Shaun Winfield, Sam Coventry, Fraser Rogers, Danny Kent, and Dean Hipwell the will make up nineteenth to thirtieth on the grid respectively after being eliminated in the first session.
Scott Redding again topped qualifying two with a stunning 1:47.183 which is around lap record pace, he was closely followed by Tarran Mackenzie who is also having a strong weekend.
Hector Barbera who is standing in for Glenn Irwin who has an issue with his left eye, suffered a mechanical issue with just five minutes remaining of the session, having to park his Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki on the side of the road and only managing to finish fourteenth.
Andrew Airwin crashed at the final corner with three minutes left, the Irishman managed to secure seventh and with only minor damage to his Honda Racing CBR1000RR Fireblade, he would get another chance in qualifying three finishing the session inside the all-important top nine.
The biggest names to drop out of the second session was both Buildbase Suzuki’s of Bradley Ray (tenth) and Luke Stapleford (eleventh). They were joined by super-sub Micheal Laverty (thirteenth) and Christian Iddon who is doing a truly impressive job after breaking his left leg at Knockhill just three weeks ago, has managed to put his Tyco BMW fifteenth on the grid.
The third and final session started with drama as Smiths BMW and Isle Of Man TT super-star Peter Hickman suffered a high-side dropping his rear wheel over the curb coming out of the last corner bringing out the red-flag with three minutes and forty-five seconds remaining of the session. This was Hickman’s first crash of the 2019 season showing what brilliant form he is on currently.
As the session resumed the nine riders would only get one flying lap to improve their positions for tomorrows Race of Aces’.
But ultimately no-one could challenge Scott Redding who claimed his fifth pole position of the year with a 1:47. 323. Tarran Mackenzie secured second and Tommy Bridewell who clinched an emotional third position on the twelfth anniversary of brother Ollie Bridwells death. Redding’s team-mate Josh Brookes qualified fourth.
The first Race of Aces’ will start at 13:30 (BST) today and the action will be live on Eurosport from 13:00.