Dogged Hopkins inside top twenty at Oulton Park
Sittingbourne Pirelli National Superstock 1000 rider Luke Hopkins endured a hard fought racing weekend in the splendid sunshine at Oulton Park. Despite a bruising encounter in race one he managed two 18th place finishes at the scenic circuit in Cheshire.
Luke Hopkins would line up on the start grid inside the top twenty after a really positive qualifying session for the Hollins Strategic Land team. His lap time of 1:39.188 on Saturday morning saw him clinch 18th spot. This was a two second improvement on his best lap time from the first free practice session.
Race One – 14 laps
Thirty-two 1000cc machines packed onto the Oulton Park grid for the first of two 14-lap races this weekend. It would prove a physical encounter for Hopkins. In the opening laps he was muscled down from 18th to 21st position after a rider collided with him on the second lap. The collision damaged his fairing and twisted his radiator.
Hopkins was able to continue and was in a 12-rider group battling for a points scoring position. On the narrow busy Oulton Park circuit, surrounded by competitive riders it was proving difficult to overtake. Despite another ill-considered move from the same rider later in the race, Hopkins recovered three positions to cross the line 18th at the flag, just ahead of the famous road racer Michael Dunlop.
Race Two – 14 laps
Hopkins started the second race of the weekend from 22nd on the grid. In the early laps he was able to maintain station. Under pressure from Shelton-Shaw he slipped back to 22nd as he and two other riders then battled for a place in the top twenty.
By the eighth lap Hopkins was running in 20th position and battling for 17th overall with Dunlop, Shelton-Shaw and Hopkins having closed down the Kawasaki of Lee Williams. A lap later and Hopkins was through into 19th before going on to finish 18th at the flag.
Luke Hopkins said, “It was an interesting weekend. In race one I was on the receiving end of some very hard racing from one rider in particular but we battled on. As I have said previously if I could finish in the top 25 in the races in my first season in this championship I would be happy and here we finished inside the top twenty again. So I am more than happy with our weekend’s work. A big thank you to my team Hollins Strategic Land and all my sponsors including HM Quickshifter and Scuff 2 New.”
The next round of the championship will be on the Donington GP circuit on 2nd to 4th October.