Hawick’s PBM Kawasaki team rider Stuart Easton moved up to third place in the 2015 British Superbike Championships last weekend following a solid ride on home tarmac.
Racing at Knockhill, the 32-year-old gave team-mate and Championship leader Shane Byrne a run for his money in both races, giving home supporters plenty to cheer about in the process.
Easton was the second quickest rider after Friday’s free practice sessions, three tenths off the pace of Byrne. The reigning champ lapped under the existing circuit record, and even though Easton was putting down consistently quick times, he still couldn’t find that added pace to edge ahead.
“It was a good day overall for us and it’s nice to have PBM one-two overall at the end of the day,” said Easton after the practice sessions.
“I would have liked to be three tenths closer to Shakey (Bryne) instead of having the other guys all so close to me, but it was still a good day and he is the one we need to catch.”
Long delays on Saturday, due to rain-damaged track, failed to deter the Hawick rider as he claimed second place in the qualifier, earning him a front row position behind Byrne on the grid on Sunday.
Easton made a great start in race one, taking the lead from Byrne and a high-speed tussle ensued between the two PBM riders, along with Josh Brookes and Michael Laverty. The Hawick rider originally finished in third, behind Tyco BMW’s Laverty. But the Northern Irishman was penalised after overtaking on a yellow flag, which pushed the Easton up to second.
In a repeat of the opener Easton was at the sharp end in race two, but again was out-paced by his team-mate who did the double at the Scottish track. Easton crossed the finishing line in second, and was so close to bagging his debut win at Knockhill losing out by 0.4 of a second.
“I still haven’t managed a win at Knockhill after all these years,” he said, “but I’m pleased, even though I was a bit disappointed with the result in the first race as I felt settled sitting behind Shakey and was strong in the last sector.
“Then Michael Laverty came under me and there was a bit of contact, so I lost the tow, I got beat up a bit, but at least I got a podium.
“The second race was a lot better and it’s more points and podium credits, so thanks to the team and well done to everyone at Knockhill for doing a great job.”
The next round is at Brands Hatch in two weeks.