Hawick’s Stuart Easton kick-started a brand new season with a podium place in the opening round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship 2015, writes John Mushet.
Riding once again for the Paul Bird PDM Kawasaki team, Easton travelled to Leicestershire for the bank holiday weekend, where the first round was held at the iconic 2.4-mile Donington Park circuit.
Competing in glorious conditions on Sunday, Easton made it through to all three qualifying sessions, ultimately landing himself a strong fifth spot on the grid for the following day.
With a great start in the first of Monday’s two 20-lap races, Easton was going well until he made a mistake going into the Old Hairpin, causing him to go out wide onto the grass which forced him back several places to finish in a disappointing 11th place.
Race two was held in glorious conditions. From the start it was obvious that the Teri had put the first race behind him. With his team mate and 2014 champion Shane Byrne leading, Easton looked strong in third place, behind Byrne and Honda’s Dan Linfoot.
Neck and neck from the start, the trio battled it out to the finish. Byrne opened a small gap on the last lap, winning the race from Linfoot in second and Easton finishing in a great third place, lifting him to sixth in the BSB standings after the first two rounds.
Afterwards, Easton said he was really pleased with the podium place after the disaster of the first race, during which, he said, he had a problem with the arm pump in his left arm, something that he normally doesn’t suffer with, causing him to hit a false neutral gear and go off the circuit.
“I simply couldn’t pull the clutch in,” he explained.
“It meant I hit a false neutral going into the bend and it cost me the chance of a good result, but third in the second race was a good way to finish.
“I was still struggling a bit and whilst I could run the pace of Shakey (Byrne) and Dan, I couldn’t really challenge them, but I’m more than pleased to start the season with a podium.”
With 12 rounds over the season and some road racing in Northern Ireland in between, Easton will be having another busy year.
Team owner Paul Bird commented: “Stuart rode brilliantly at the weekend.
“His two results don’t really do him justice, but we know he’s going to be up there all year, so we can’t wait for the next round.”
That next round takes in Brands Hatch on April 17, 18 and 19.