Confidence inspiring weekend at Brands Hatch for Tom Neave
Tom Neave enjoyed a solid weekend at the fifth round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship at Brands Hatch over the weekend, with personal bests and points scored at the Kent circuit.
Returning to the GP layout for the first time since he was crowned the 2021 Pirelli National Superstock Champion last October, the weekend was his first time to the track aboard the Superbike-spec CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP.
Mixed conditions greeted the BSB riders for Friday’s two practice sessions, which saw Tom 22nd at the end of the day on combined times.
With conditions a stark contrast to those on Friday, Saturday saw wall-to-wall sunshine at the 2.4-mile circuit where Tom placed 20th in the final morning practice, and qualified 23rd for the 15-lap eBay Sprint Race later that day. During the race Tom made up six places to cross the line just outside the points in 17th, which placed him 19th on the grid for Sunday’s first race.
Sunday again saw glorious conditions for the days’ races and it was in Race 2 where Tom scored his best position of this season so far finishing 11th, just one place behind his Honda teammate Glenn Irwin, and ahead of experienced Superbike riders such as Peter Hickman, and teammate Takumi Takahashi.
Tom lined up 14th for the final race of the weekend and quickly started catching the four riders in front, lapping faster than them, and scored his best lap time of the weekend (1:26.382). Sadly Tom’s race came to an early end into turn four in the closing stages, with his rear tyre clipping the grass and sending him off track.
Despite the early end in Race 3, Round 5 was a positive weekend for Tom as he continues to build confidence in both the premier class and also aboard his Superbike machine, edging closer to the top 10 in the results.
The next round of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship takes place at Thruxton over 12-14 August, which is a circuit that seems to suit the Fireblade, with Tom enjoying wins there with the Superstock machine, and also Glenn with the Superbike.
“Considering how the weekend started I left Brands much happier! I set my fastest lap of the weekend in the final race and I was in a comfortable position. I felt fit and strong on the Fireblade and the guys in front were coming back to me with only a few laps to go. I was motivated to keep being smooth, consistent and try to hunt them down, which is a nice position to be in, where at the start of the race I was on my own a little. Unfortunately I took a little too much corner coming into turn four, my rear clipped the grass and sent me across the grass, which chucked me off. It could have been much worse, but I am OK and that’s the main thing to take away, and despite that we are leaving Brands with a lot of positives. In the final race I was in another point scoring position, and I think we’ve proved I’m gelling with the bike a bit more and I believe at Thruxton we can have a really good weekend.”