Smiths duo Richards, McConnell empty-handed at Silverstone
SMITHS Racing Triumph Team drew a blank in a round nine of the World Supersport Championship at Silverstone.
The Gloucester-based reigning Motorpoint British Supersport champions suffered disappointment as their two riders Glen Richards and Billy McConnell failed to add to their previous points-scoring success.
Both 39-year-old Richards and 26-year-old fellow Australian McConnell used the event to work on their brand new Triumph Daytona 675R machines.
Richards had the strongest performance for the team.
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After qualifying in 21st place, he found himself part of a seven-rider group battling for 12th spot.
Still recovering from the shoulder injuries sustained in a crash at Knockhill in June, Richards was able to lap quicker than he had done throughout qualifying.
He narrowly missed out on scoring World Championship points, finishing the race in 17th place.
For team-mate McConnell it wasn't as productive, as he looked to make the most of the track time available.
A persistent misfire meant he missed the entire second free practice session as well as the opening qualifying session, seriously damaging his chances.
However, after making it back on track for the final qualifying session, he posted the 32nd quickest lap to make it on to the grid for the 16-lap race.
Lapping more than a second and a half quicker than he had done, he was able to move through the field to take a hard-earned 22nd place.
Richards said: "Obviously I'd have liked to have finished higher up than 17th but I really enjoyed the battle out there.
"Given we were up against it with no traction control and the like, it was as good a result as we could hope for.
"We learnt an awful lot about the bike and have a good set-up now for the British round in a few weeks' time.
"The fact I lapped quicker than I did on the 2012 bike shows how much progress we've made.
"The shoulder's not quite 100 per cent but it's not far off now and I'm really looking forward to the next few races."
McConnell said it had been disappointing but he hoped the problems with the bike would be ironed out in time for the next round of the British Championship at Caldwell Park on August 24 to 26.
"Looking at the positives, Glen went quicker than on the old bike, so it shows that the hard work everyone's been putting in has been in the right direction and it was good to have a trouble free race," he said.
Smiths team manager Rebecca Smith felt the run-outs at Silverstone had proved useful.
"With considerably more track time than we usually get, we came with the objective of testing and developing the bike more, particularly as Silverstone wasn't one of our strongest circuits in 2012," she said.
"We ran BSB control fuel so that, combined with the other bikes on the grid having traction control, meant it was hard work and the problems with Billy's bike meant it was an even bigger ask.
"We changed everything on the bike to try and get to the bottom of it, eventually tracing the problem to a virus in the laptop so once we'd changed the mapping on Billy's bike, he was good to go again.
"The results didn't reflect the hard work everyone had put in and with the bikes being at a disadvantage to the World Championship-specification machines, we're happy with how well Glen and Billy rode.
"We know there's still some more work to be done but we're confident that we'll be a lot closer to the front at the next British Championship round and are all looking forward to a strong second half of the season."
World Supersport Championship race: 1 Kenan Sofuoglu (Kawasaki); 2 Sam Lowes (Yamaha); 3 Fabien Foret (Kawasaki); 4 Kev Coghlan (Kawasaki); 5 Christian Iddon (MV Agusta); 6 Roberto Rolfo (MV Agusta); 17 Glen Richards (Smiths Triumph); 22 Billy McConnell (Smiths Triumph).