ASBK

Ben Burke claims more podiums at Hidden Valley

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Ben Burke and the BCperformance by Bikesconnect team claim more podiums at the Northern Territory‰Ûªs Hidden Valley circuit in the Australian Prostock 1000cc championship during a hot and humid weekend. Patrick Lee joins the team for a second time this season.

The Top End‰Ûªs only Australian National Championship road race was held at Darwin‰Ûªs Hidden Valley circuit. The fast and flowing circuit is well known for its great racing, huge crowds and hot humid weather, meaning riders Burke and team sponsor Lee would have to be in a good physical condition for the 4 days of on-circuit action.

Three 12-lap Prostock races were spread over two days with Race 1 on Saturday and Races 2 and 3 on Sunday. Local motorcycle dealer Holeshot Kawasaki joined the team as a sponsor for the event.

After two days of practice on Thursday and Friday, both Burke and Lee spent the time familiarising themselves with the circuit and gained set-up data for the qualifying sessions that were held on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Riding his Kawasaki ZX-10R, Burke set a fast lap time of a 1:08.782 during Fridays first Qualifying outing, dipping under the current race record by a massive 0.336 and placing himself in 2nd behind series leader, Matt Walters, who was 0.589 faster again.

The second outing held in cooler conditions on Saturday morning gave Burke a chance to close the gap to the BCperformance supported rider, Walters and put in a super-human effort to close the gap to 0.267 with a 1:08.460, consolidating his 2nd position and setting himself up for a good front row start.

Aprilia RSV4-mounted Lee, who had never visited the circuit before, put in a good showing to claim a fourth row start in 14th position with a personal best time of 1:19.413.
Saturday‰Ûªs Race 1 was held in the forecasted humid heat that Darwin is accustomed too and both Burke and Lee were ready for the challenge. The race got under way and Burke got a great start, slotting himself into 2nd position just behind series leader Walters and set about settling into his race when he made a mistake on lap three by running straight on into turn one.

Burke rejoined the track in 6th position and fought his way through the pack with some determined riding and was sitting just behind 2nd place on lap ten when he leant his ZX-10R over that little too much and lost the front end, crashing out of the race. Lee also had a DNF where he had to pull out of the race on lap seven with a gearbox fault.

Again, the weather was perfect for Sunday with a little breeze keeping it a little cooler than the previous day.

Burke got off to a perfect start in race one leading the race out of a busy turn one when the red flags came out due to a first corner pile-up. The restarted race saw Burke 2nd into the first corner and battled throughout the race with BMW‰Ûªs Nicholson for position, eventually keeping his competitor at bay crossing the line in 2nd.

In the third and final race of the weekend, Walters ran away at the front and Burke battled for 2nd again with Nicholson and Sean Condon, again getting the better of them and crossing the line in 2nd place.

Lee, now riding with a fixed gearbox, had a much better day than the previous with a 10th and 12th in the two races and setting a best lap time of 1.18.539 in the final race which was a great achievement for the ever-improving rider.

‰ÛÏI came into the Darwin round excited,‰Û
With the first race DNF hampering his overall score Burke still sits 4th in the Championship. Lee improved his Championship position to 22nd by finishing 12th overall for the round."

‰ÛÏIt is our first time to the Hidden Valley circuit and although we had no previous data to go from, Ben and his Kawasaki ZX-10R gelled nicely from the word go, he put in some very impressive lap times during free practice and qualifying." Team manager, Kelvin Reilly, reflected after a great weekends racing.

"If it wasn‰Ûªt for the unfortunate crash in the race one, we could have had a better overall round result but that is racing and Ben is getting faster and more confident with the bike every time he rides," he added.

"It is also great to have Patrick in the time, he brings a lot of enthusiasm and tries hard every session and that reflected his last race where he posted his personal best time‰Û

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