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Character Building weekend for Hawk Kawasaki

Round 2 Donington Park - 9th April

The Hawk Kawasaki riders Dean Thomas (33), Craig Coxhell (23) and Peter Hickman (19) experienced a difficult weekend at the second round of the British Superbike Championship at Donington Park on Sunday (9th April). With varying weather conditions throughout the weekend, race day was no better with wintry showers hitting the Leicestershire circuit.

Conditions were worse than they have ever been at a British Superbike meeting for the last five years and this effected the Hawk riders dramatically. Australian Coxhell qualified 10th, the best of the three riders with Thomas in 15th and Hickman 19th on the grid.

A huge crash into the first corner in the first race saw the safety car despatched onto the circuit for three laps to enable the marshals to clear the debris. All the Hawk riders managed to avoid getting tangled up in the melee. Race one finished with Thomas in ninth, Coxhell in 11th and a DNF for Hickman.

Sheffield based Thomas gradually worked his way through the field from his 15th place start and manoeuvred his way through to tenth. He became locked in a battle with Rizla Suzuki's James Haydon and Vivaldi rider Scott Smart. As Thomas and Haydon were side by side on the exit to Coppice Corner and with the rain just beginning to fall, the Rizla rider crashed out missing Hawk rider Thomas by inches.

Coxhell was running at a steady pace throughout the race still learning the Hawk Kawasaki and adjusting his riding style. Peter Hickman who celebrated his 19th Birthday on Saturday was running in a strong 14th position and lost the front end into Coppice, which saw an end to his chance of his first Superbike points.

The race was red flagged on lap 13 due to the increasingly bad weather conditions, with it rapidly getting worse as the day progressed. The second race was almost a wash out with 13 of the 29 riders crashing or retiring including Thomas and Coxhell. Hickman was the sole finisher for Hawk who finished just outside the points in 16th position, a very creditable position under the circumstances. It was later revealed that Craig Coxhell has a broken collarbone and will be fighting to get fit for the third round next weekend at Thruxton.

A disheartened Thomas said "I had to pull in from the second race as I had no rear grip what-so-ever. I'd already seen Craig crash and didn't fancy joining him. We had a 15-minute wet session before the second race and I suffered a pretty hefty crash in that, which has certainly left me feeling a little worse for wear. I was happy to have finished 9th in the first race but we have to sort some issues out with the bike before Thruxton."

Coxhell, who was certainly suffering in pain, was still upbeat saying "I was gutted to have crashed as I was up to 5th and had the front runners in my sight. I set two fastest laps, one after the other and I know that if I had stayed on then there was a good chance I would have been on the podium. I guess I was a little eager and the bike just came round on me and flung me over the bars. I landed heavily and had it confirmed that I have broken my collarbone. I'm gutted as we have a back-to-back weekend and I might have to miss the next round if it's not healed."

Rookie to the series Hickman said, "This certainly is the worst weather conditions that I have ever ridden in. The first race was a bit of a nightmare and I had a small off, I was determined that I just wanted to finish the second race in one piece. The conditions certainly didn't make that job very easy but I got there. I'm still enjoying it but it's very difficult, I was gutted not to have scored any points but hopefully it won't be too long coming now."

Race One Result

1) Gregorio Lavilla 13 laps, 2) Ryuichi Kiyonari +0.134, 3) Leon Haslam +5.246, 4) Michael Laverty +9.361, 5) Shane Byrne +9.591, 6) Karl Harris + 10.540, 7) Michael Rutter + 11.533, 8) Jonathan Rea +20.235, 9) Dean Thomas +22.451 (Hawk Kawasaki), 10) Scott Smart +23.216, 11) Craig Coxhell +23.881 (Hawk Kawasaki)

Race Two Result

1) Scott Smart 15 laps, 2) Leon Haslam +0.576, 3) Gregorio Lavilla +2.297, 4) Gary Mason +5.943, 5) Jonathan Rea +30.786, 6) Tommy Hill +33.586, 7) Michael Laverty +36.829, 8) Ollie Bridewell +59.273, 9) Chris Martin +59.297, 10) Malcolm Ashley + 1:04.142, 16) Peter Hickman + 1:33.684

Overall Championship Positions

Lavilla 82
Kiyonari 58
Haslam 56
Harris 41
Smart 33
Laverty 31
Rea 30
Byrne 26
Rutter 25
Thomas 23
Mason 23
Hill 20
Coxhell 18

The next round of the British Superbike Championship is Easter Weekend, 14th, 16th and 17th April (No Track Activity on Saturday) at Thruxton Race Circuit. For more details go to www.hawkkawasaki.co.uk
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