Ryan Vickers and the RAF Reserve Kawasaki team bounced back from two crashes in qualifying to enjoy their best meeting of the year in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship with superb seventh and tenth place finishes at Cadwell Park on Sunday.
Having his first outing at the Lincolnshire venue on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR Superbike, Vickers’ lack of experience never showed and throughout practice and the early stages of qualifying he comfortably ran inside the top ten.
However, he crashed out at the Hairpin towards the end of Q1 and although the team got him back out on track in time for Q2, the 20-year old suffered the same fate at the same corner shortly afterwards.
It meant he had to start Sunday’s first 18-lap race from 18th place on the grid and with overtaking notoriously difficult around the challenging 2.18-mile circuit, it left him with plenty of work to do.
Undeterred, the Thetford rider diligently set about his task and in the first five laps of the race, he immediately gained seven places. After sitting in 11th place for five laps, he moved up into the top ten at half race distance, just behind factory Honda rider Andrew Irwin and he crossed the line in an excellent tenth place for six well earned points.
The strong ride saw him rewarded with the much better start position of 11th for race two and he more than made it count as went on to take a career-best, to date, BSB finish. A superb start enabled him to leap up the order to seventh and he ran in close company with BSB race winner Glenn Irwin for much of the race.
Vickers moved ahead of Irwin on lap six to move up to sixth and although the Ulsterman got back by him a lap later, he was comfortably clear of the riders behind him and he brought the bike home for a superb seventh place finish.
“Overall, it was a great weekend and we showed great pace in the practice sessions right from Thursday evening. I made two mistakes in qualifying which gave me P18 on the grid which was pretty terrible but in race one, I made a good start and was able to pick the riders off one by one,” said Vickers.
“I told myself to use my head for the entire race distance rather than trying to make up ten positions on the first lap and the strategy worked as I ended up in tenth which was a great result from a difficult position on the grid.
“My best lap time put me in P11 on the grid for race two which was miles better and put me in amongst a good group of riders.”
“I made a mega start to get up to seventh by the first corner and I stayed there for much of the race, briefly moving up to sixth when Dan Linfoot ran on.
I rode a strong race and although Glenn Irwin came by me, I tagged onto the back of him and managed the distance to the riders behind home to take a superb seventh place.
“I could have maybe tried to get back by Glenn but after two crashes, I wanted to get two good finishes and to end the weekend with my best ever BSB result is amazing especially as Cadwell is the toughest track on the calendar.”