Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 12 Aug 2014
Quattro Plant Kawasaki’s Dan Linfoot bagged his first ever British Superbike podium this past weekend at Oulton Park, finishing third in Sunday’s final outing behind Josh Brookes and Shane Byrne.
The Wetherby rider has been threatening to take a podium for a while after leading the first race at Thruxton for seven laps as well as achieving a number of top four results across the season so far.
Linfoot finished 5th in the first race at the weekend’s triple header before going on to match his best ever British Superbike result of fourth place in the second. With the threat of rain going into the final 18 lap battle, Linfoot outpaced more experienced rivals in Chris Walker, Ryuichi Kiyonari and Stuart Easton to move into third place before chasing down championship leader Shane Byrne.
“I took the race lap by lap” said Linfoot talking to Bike Social after the race. “When I was around Easton and Kiyonari I was struggling a bit but felt I had the pace to break away, especially from Stuart [Easton] but I knew Kiyo would be strong. An opportunity to get past Stuart arose and then it was just Shakey [Byrne] but he was three and a half seconds up the road so I didn’t know whether it’d be possible. The gap was coming down marginally each lap and that helped me believe I could chase him down and sure enough I got on to the back of him and knowing I was strong into Old Hall, I made the pass cleanly and got through!
“I made a really tiny mistake coming out of Cascades and the rear spun up as I opened the throttle allowing Shakey to come straight back past me and that was it as he stuck his foot down after that. I was pleased to have had the race I’d had up until then and I knew Kiyonari was coming on the last lap, he’d been strong all weekend, so it was nice to hold him off for third. It’s a great feeling, it’s been the aim for so long, I’ve had a few fourths and fifths over recent rounds so the next aim was to get on the podium and it was nice to achieve that, it’s a monkey off my back!
“Shakey, Brookes and Kiyonari are very experienced BSB racers and to be mixing with those is mega for me. I’m fairly unproven when it comes to race results so being able to fight for them gives me a lot of confidence and belief that I’m nearly as good as them.”
Linfoot is no spring chicken to the British Superbike series, making his debut for the now departed Rob Mac Racing in the final two rounds of the 2009 season. Remaining with Rob Mac for the 2010 season, Linfoot achieved a best result of 5th place but lacked the consistency to make any real impact. Moving to SMT Honda for 2011, he showed hints of becoming a front running contender but was ousted from the team in favour of James Ellison after just five rounds. The 29-year old says his BSB attempts since 2011 have been plagued by a lack of continuity, either through injury or leaving teams mid-season. In 2012 he got chance to ride for the MSD Mahi India Kawasaki World Supersport team for whom he achieved a podium at Magny Cours before being unceremoniously ditched from the team for the next season.
“If I’m honest, I’ve never really had the continuity to get to this point before” explained Linfoot. “In 2011 I started with SMT Honda but only lasted five races because of financial issues, in 2012 I was with Buildbase BMW for five races until I broke my hand and then in 2013 I broke my pelvis! This is the first real opportunity I’ve had to build on my results and make something of it.
“As a team we get on well, we’re a relaxed bunch of people who all want to do well. There isn’t loads of pressure so it’s a nice environment to be in. We are all there for the right reasons, we’re not the most professional team out there but the passion is there in abundance. My guys will work covered in sh*t all day long to make my bike better. The biggest thing from my point of view is that they all believe in me, in the past I sometimes felt that the teams around me didn’t believe in me but these guys do.
“Everything seems to be coming together this year; I’ve had some good results. I’ve only finished out of the top ten once and that was when I crashed in wet qualifying at Brands Hatch and had to fight through from a really poor grid position. We’ve been consistent which is important as the plan has always been to get into the showdown and to do that consistency is key. My aim was to be as close to the top six as I can to accumulate as many points as possible but if there was ever the chance to chase better results, as there has been at the last few rounds, then I’ll go for it and push that bit harder."
After strong outings at Thruxton and Oulton Park, Linfoot currently sits fourth in the British Superbike title chase and looks set to secure a spot in the three-round title showdown for the title. The Kawasaki man is under no illusions that he’s capable of fighting for the title but is keen to make the most of the opportunity to learn as much as he can about running with the front guys.
“We’ve had a bit of luck with Ellison being out through injury but that’s the same for Chris [Walker], Bridewell and the others. I’m trying not to think of anyone else and just keep my points tally as strong as possible. We’ve got two races at Cadwell and Donington before the cut off so I need to have two strong races at Cadwell and then at least one strong race at Donington to concrete my showdown spot. I do like Cadwell, I’m not very strong on the mountain but I like the rest of the circuit. I’m looking forward to going there on my Quattro Kawasaki as everywhere we’ve been this year I’ve enjoyed so much more as my bike is competitive and I’m sure Cadwell will be the same.
“I do not think I’m in a position to fight for the championship. We are in a position where we can make progress over the next few rounds but I don’t think we’re in the position to take the title. It’s a fantastic achievement for me and the team to at least get into the showdown and put ourselves among the top five, six guys. That takes the pressure off going into the final few races; I can go in more relaxed and show the series what I can do to fight for a job for next year. I want to stay in BSB and move towards the front to try and win the series but right now my focus is getting into the showdown.”