The 2014 British Superbike Championship was to provide a new challenge for Hawick’s reigning British 600cc Supersport champion Stuart Easton.
Moving to the Paul Bird’s Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki superbike team, Easton would be back on the much larger 1000cc machines, which he hasn’t ridden for several years.
Making the trip to the 1.2-mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit over the Bank Holiday weekend, he had a testing day on the Friday, and practice on Saturday, followed by qualifying and then two races on Monday.
In sunny conditions on the first two days, Easton settled into getting used to the new machine and was running in the top five. Sunday’s three-part qualifying was a different matter. In some of the wettest conditions seen at the circuit, riders were crashing on nearly every part of the course. Easton found a safe pace, but was more than four seconds a lap slower than the previous days and missed out on progressing into qualifying two, meaning a 23rd-place start for the two races.
Ten riders crashed in the session, so Easton was relieved to have nursed the bike home without any incidents.
In glorious sunny and warm conditions for the Monday’s 30-lap races the Teri made his way quickly through the field in race one, reaching 12th spot when the race was stopped for oil on the track on lap 17. This put him on 12th on the grid for the restart for the remaining 12 laps.
He again had a superb start and finished in a highly commendable sixth place. There was an even better start for race two, moving into second spot. Following his team-mate Shane (Shakey) Byrne, the pace was relentless and he eventually finished in sixth.
A happy Easton was pleased with his performance and is now looking for further improvement in the next round.
“I’m pleased to be back in BSB on the Kawasaki ZX-10,” he added. “It was brilliant to win the British Supersport title last year as it got me fit and back to form, so now I feel I’m ready to step up again, which is where I want to be.”
Easton’s Rapid Solicitors team-mate Byrne took the honours in both races last weekend and now heads the overall leaderboard, with the Hawick rider sitting in a very handy fifth place.
The second round of the 2014 MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship takes place at Oulton Park on the May Bank Holiday weekend, May 3, 4 and 5.