Race 3
BSB 2023
Round 5

Sunday at Snetterton brings frustration for Honda Racing UK

gb Snetterton 300

Despite a frustrating Sunday for the Honda Racing UK team, Tom Neave adds to his championship points haul.

Sunday at Snetterton brings frustration for Honda Racing UK

Sunday at Snetterton remained dry, despite some threatening clouds overhead as the pit lane opened for the first of two feature-length races at the Norfolk Circuit. Honda Racing UK Riders Tom Neave and Franco Bourne lined up in thirteenth and eighteenth respectively on their CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SPs. 

As the lights went out, both riders roared away from the line and began to scrap with the riders around them. Although Franco lost positions early in the opening lap, he quickly got his elbows out to retake positions and was holding eighteenth as he ended lap one.  

Tom too managed to hold his position in the early laps, battling with Nesbitt and Stacey for thirteenth position before tucking the front on lap three and crashing out of the race unhurt. 

Franco, however, was continuing his assault towards the point-scoring positions and was running in fifteenth position when the red flag came out on lap seven. As the shortened race restarted under the quickstart procedure, Franco lined up in fifteenth position ready for the eight-lap dash. Sadly, he would retire at the end of lap one after experiencing a slipping clutch due to rider error at the race start. 

In the second Superbike race of the day, both riders started towards the back of the grid as a result of not setting a lap time in the earlier race. Tom Neave put in yet another fighting ride to progress forward from his twenty third grid slot, all the way through to fifteenth by the flag, yet again adding to his championship points tally. 

Franco crashed out of the race on lap two and took a bang to the head. He was transported to the medical centre and received treatment for concussion. 

In the sole Pirelli National Superstock race of the weekend, Dan Linfoot raced away from his pole position grid slot on his Optimum Bikes Racing Fireblade to notch up another superb win, his third in a row, and extend his championship lead. Fireblades also occupied the other podium positions in the hands of Alex Olsen and Richard Ker with Alex setting a new Superstock race lap record with a sensational 1:49.104 lap. A time that would have placed him twelfth on the grid for Superbike race three. 

The Honda Racing team will be back in action at round 6 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch on 21-23 July.

Tom Neave
Tom Neave 68
Honda Racing UK
I thought at the beginning of the weekend I was going to go pretty well, it is a track that I love and I have always gone well at. I thought we were heading in a good direction after Knockhill, the bike is in a good place and I made my first Q2 of the year. 

Race one there were positives to take, although the result wasn’t that great the race pace in the latter laps was strong. I knew we had something to work with and build on. Unfortunately, a crash on lap two in race two just hampered our progress. 

For race three, we decided to try something different with the setup. Unfortunately, I lost some of the feeling that I was after and it was a poor race. I draw a line under this weekend and look to regain the momentum that we have been building. 

Franco Bourne
Franco Bourne 54
Honda Racing UK
In race one of the day I was really happy to come through the field as I did in the first half of the race. My pace was good and I felt good on the bike. When we made the restart though I made a bit of a mistake at the start and over revved the bike which caused the clutch to start slipping, so I pulled in. 

Then I had a bit of a poor start in race two, after getting the revs wrong in race one I wanted to get the revs right but I went the other way and ended up under revving it. I got away and Tom came by in turn one and I tried to go back around the outside of him and it didn't work. I got hung out to dry on the outside of turn two, and then it was typical first lap silly moves. 

I thought, stick with Tom for a few laps, and I saw him go past Hicky and I realised I needed to go by him because I felt I had more pace. I got onto the inside of Hicky into turn one and came alongside him into turn two. Unfortunately I outbraked myself, clipped the back of Tom’s wheel and flicked over the side and knocked my head. Luckily I had an airbag suit on which I’ve not had before. 

I’ve not had the results I wanted in the two races today, but I have had the pace for 15th and higher and I come away from the weekend focussing on the positives. 

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