Oulton outing puts Easton back in contention

A gritty performance at Oulten Park took Hawick rider Stuart Easton to 17 points off a showdown place with two rounds remaining.
A gritty performance at Oulten Park took Hawick rider Stuart Easton to 17 points off a showdown place with two rounds remaining.

Hawick Superbike rider Stuart Easton clawed himself back into contention for a top six showdown spot in the British Superbike Championship.

With only four days since the last round at Thruxton Easton, riding for Penrith based Rapid Solicitor’s Kawasaki, made the trip to the 2.6 
mile Oulton Park circuit 
in Cheshire for three 18 lap races.

The three part qualifying on Saturday saw Stuart way off the pace, only making into Q2 and only managing 16th place on the grid for Saturday afternoon’s first race.

In perfect conditions however Easton averaged 99 mph around the picturesque circuit to finish in a highly respectable ninth place.

Better was to come though. Sunday saw the weather play a major part in the proceedings. With the back end of hurricane Bertha hitting the circuit, races were rescheduled and the second race was declared a dry race. From the start Stuart was pushed back to 12th spot but quickly fought back to fifth place, eventually finishing sixth with less than a second separating five riders in his group.

This effort moved the reigning British Supersport Champion onto fifth place on the grid for the afternoon’s third race. And he had obviously saved the best till last.

Again the rain held off on a drying track, so tyre choice wasn’t a problem. With a brave move on the first corner Stuart showed his intent from the start, sweeping straight into third spot behind his team mate and Championship leader Shane Byrne. Leading a group of five riders, Stuart looked more his old self, fighting all the way to the finish to take a superb fifth place. These results leave him in eighth place in the championship on 119 points, 17 points off the important sixth showdown place.

Easton now feels his form is returning and he has much more confidence on his Kawasaki powered machine. He said: “Qualifying was pretty terrible for me but in free practice I was only a few tenths off the top five so, deep down, I knew it wasn’t as bad as it looked and I’ve ended up with three strong results.

“We made some further changes to the set-up of the bike and I’ve got to be satisfied with how I’ve ridden this weekend, and I’m still well in the hunt for a top six spot.”

Easton now has two rounds left to try and make the showdown starting at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire in two weeks time and on this improving form who knows?