Race 3
BSB 2023
Round 6

A tale of two halves for Honda Racing UK at Brands Hatch

gb Brands Hatch GP

Tom Neave gets back into the point-scoring positions with a gutsy ride from twenty-fourth on the grid to fourteenth and Franco Bourne finishes just one second away from his first point in BSB.

A tale of two halves for Honda Racing UK at Brands Hatch

Yesterday’s rain disappeared and blue skies and sunshine emerged for Sunday’s action, as Honda Racing UK riders Franco Bourne and Tom Neave lined up on the grid for race two of the weekend and the first twenty-lap race of the day. Both riders were keen to make progress from their positions towards the back of the grid in the dry conditions. 

Franco and Tom made good starts from the line and traded positions throughout the opening two laps of the race. Then on lap three of the race heading into Druids, Franco was involved in an incident with another rider which caused both to fall. Unfortunately for the team, Tom Neave was also caught up in the incident and all three riders were out of the race. This crash was declared a racing incident. 

Meanwhile, ex-moto3 world champion Danny Kent continued his podium run with another impressive ride to finish third on the Lovell Kent Racing Honda Fireblade. 

For the final Superbike race of the weekend, Tom Neave and Franco Bourne lined up in twenty-second and twenty-fourth at the start. With work to do, both looked to get their heads down early and pick off the riders in front in their pursuit of the points-scoring positions. Tom managed to dig deep and show his true racecraft as he moved forward ten positions to finish in fourteenth and chalk up more points to his championship tally. 

Franco Bourne put together his best feature-length race of his short Superbike career to finish in sixteenth, just outside the points but a strong six places higher than his grid position.

Elsewhere in the day's racing, Dan Linfoot delivered a superb performance - recovering from crashing out of yesterday’s race - and put his Optimum Bikes Racing Honda Fireblade back on the top step of the podium. Alex Olsen, IWR Racing, also turned his weekend around with a fighting ride through to second. 

The Honda Racing team will be back racing in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at round seven, which takes place at the Hampshire circuit, Thruxton, on the 11th - 13th of August. 

Tom Neave
Tom Neave 68
Honda Racing UK
I'm not afraid to say it has been a really tough weekend for me. I realise it’s not all that bad, I am walking away injury free and we have got points in the bag, but it has been a tough weekend. I know that I am better than this and I will bounce back from this. The monster high side in FP2 really stung me and just knocked my confidence, and then heading into a wet race I just struggled to regain the feeling that I needed. 

I just never regained that confidence from before the wet race that I needed for race two. I  had to start race two from the back of the grid, and then I got wiped out early on in the race and couldn't set a lap time for the next one so I was at the back of the grid again for race three. All the momentum was lost and I struggled to get it going again. I know I am talking about the negatives a lot but I wear my heart on my sleeve. 

I will go away, rationalise and come back stronger. Just two rounds ago I had my best weekend of my career. I will keep my head up, we’re just over halfway and we go again soon. 

Franco Bourne
Franco Bourne 54
Honda Racing UK
It’s been an up-and-down few days, especially with the wet yesterday when I just wanted to bring it home once I saw the oil. In this morning’s race, I got onto the back of the pack and wanted to keep making progress. I saw that Tito had made a mistake and was running wide so I tried to make the move on the inside and he closed the door. I had to grab the brake and I tucked the front and took him out and my teammate Tom got caught out with my bike. It was a racing incident and we move on. 

We ended up starting race two from the back because we hadn't set a lap time in the earlier race and I wanted to make up for it a bit. I made a fairly decent start and went around the outside but it was a bit scrappy, as I am sure it always will be in this class. Tom came past me and I just wanted to stick in on the back of him. I think he had a bit more confidence as the crash earlier just knocked me back a bit. I ended up coming through to sixteenth and I come away from the weekend knowing what I need to work on for next time, I’m just one second away from getting a point on the board. 

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