Hawick’s British motorsport star Stuart Easton has notched his first Superbike win since receiving extensive injuries during qualifying for the North West 200 in 2011.
Competing for his Paul Bird racing Kawasaki team at Oulton Park over the Bank Holiday weekend, the 31-year-old Borderer notched a fourth place in his opening race, before cracking up the pace to take pole position in his second.
Easton admitted that he was more relieved than anything to get a win.
“This is definitely a confidence booster and we will keep working hard. We’re looking forward to the next one at Snetterton in six weeks,” he added.
After a solid start to the season, Easton travelled to the Cheshire circuit in fourth place in the championship and was looking for good results with two 18-lap races on a course that he runs well at.
In last week’s testing he finished in fourth spot, less than 0.3 of a second behind the fastest rider, Australian Josh Brookes, who was under lap record time.
Sunday’s three-part qualifier showed what good form Easton is in. Leaving it to the final lap in Q3, he stormed to third place on the grid, which gave him his first front row since 2010. The top eight riders were covered by less than 0.8 of a second. Speaking at the top three press conference, Easton said: “I am pleased to be back on the front row. We got the job done and the front row is what we needed.”
Race one was in front of a record Bank Holiday crowd. After a good start, the Teri battled all the way with his team mate and reigning champion Shane Byrne, and Brookes, for the final podium spot. The race was won by Tommy Bridewell, Easton eventually finishing in fourth place.
Stuart hit the front with a rocket start in race two. In a train of four machines, he battled it out for podium places with Byrne; former champion, Japan’s Ryuichi Kiyonari; and championship leader James Ellison. On lap 15, Kiyonari clipped Byrne’s rear wheel, bringing off both riders. Easton took the lead and was hunted down by Ellison and then Brookes. Keeping his lines, Easton crossed the line 0.16 of a second in front of Brookes, with Ellison third.
It was not such a good day at Oulton for Lauder’s Kershaw Racing sidecar team Stephen Kershaw and Rob Wilson in the British Formula One Championship – they were forced to retire with engine trouble. They keep their fourth place in the championship and now have six weeks to make repairs before the next round at Snetterton.