GNS Racing Honda rider Sam Lowes clinched the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship title in fantastic style with a superb start to finish victory at a rain-hit Silverstone today.
The 20 year old from Lincoln only needed a sixth place finish to claim the title following a dominant season and after qualifying on pole for the third successive race for Gary Stubbington's Southampton-based team, he was confident of a good result. However, just before the start of the race, the rain arrived and following a crash on the opening lap involving a number of riders, the original start was aborted.
Undeterred by the conditions, Lowes then rode a faultless race to take the win in the eight lap re-run by over 2.5 seconds to claim his fifth win of the series and with it, the prestigious British Supersport Championship with a round to spare as the team and Lowes celebrated in fine fashion despite the damp conditions.
Lowes will be hoping to add to his victory tally when the final round of the series takes place at Oulton Park in two weeks time whereby Sam's incentive if he wins will be that he will have won 50% of the races in a memorable season.
Joining Lowes in the GNS Team this weekend was former multiple British Supermoto Champion Christian Iddon who gave a good account of himself and qualified in 12th place. Iddon, who had raced in British Superbikes earlier in the season and also contested the World Supersport Championship round at Silverstone as a wild card, battled against the conditions but any hopes of a result ended when he failed to bring the Honda CBR600 home after a misted visor thwarted his bid.
Sam Lowes: "It's just unbelievable. It's just a mega, mega feeling for me and I was in tears going across the line. I think I'm lost for words for the first time ever and days like this are the reason that you race bikes. To win the race for the third time in a row and from pole position for the third time in a row, it's just unreal. I want to say a massive, massive thank you to the team and all the sponsors - we are ONIT! We can now go to Oulton Park with no pressure for the last round and just enjoy it. It's been a perfect weekend and I hope we can do the same at Oulton."
Christian Iddon: "It's been fantastic working with the team this weekend, they've been superbly professional. They've helped me to feel comfortable on the bike and they've welcomed me into the team. All credit to them, especially with the job they've had to do this weekend with winning the championship. The bike has been spot on but I got caught a bit unawares in the wet and had a big slide on the first lap. I took it steady in the re-run and then started pulling a few people in but then the visor steamed up and I had to pull in. I'm really pleased for the team today."
Gary Stubbington, Team Owner: "What a year! It's been an absolute pleasure to work with all these guys. It's down to the whole team and each of our sponsors who have put every bit of effort in to getting Sam where he is now. We've taken each race bit by bit and improved our results throughout the season. It's been a huge team effort and our goal now is to continue our hard work on into the British Superbike Championship next season if we can. Sam had a brilliant ride and he rode like a true professional. We can now relax for the last race of the season at Oulton and hopefully we can do the same again. I'm absolutely over the moon, everyone involved deserves this Championship win."
Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship result (8 laps)
1, Sam Lowes (GNS Racing Honda) 19:46.063s
2, James Westmoreland (Yamaha) +2.687s
3, Jason O'Halloran (Yamaha) +4.023s
4, Jack Kennedy (Yamaha) +15.357s
5, Glen Richards (Honda) +19.376s
6, Ben Wilson (Kawasaki) +23.234s
DNF - Christian Iddon (5 laps)
Championship standings (after round 11)
1, Sam Lowes - 221pts - Champion
2, James Westmoreland - 176pts
3, Ben Wilson - 110pts
4, Graeme Gowland - 105pts
=, Jack Kennedy - 105pts
6, Billy McConnell - 104pts
Picture attached courtesy of Ian Hopgood