Wednesday 29 June 2016

The King of Croft retains his crown

Saturday morning's practice sessions showed that the cars had good pace with the lap times improving as the morning went on. The afternoon's qualifying session saw double BTCC champion Colin Turkington dominating from early on and gradually improving his times throughout the 30 minute shoot out and showing an outstanding performance being the fastest out of the four Subaru Levorg GTs with a time of 1m 23.608s.

This was Colin's second consecutive British Touring Car Championship pole position start for Silverline Subaru BMR Racing, placing him in the hot seat for the opening race of the day for round 13 on Sunday. There was disappointment for Warren as he fought hard to be the highest placed of the Subaru Levorg GT's and ended up having a brief sideways off into the wall, however the car was repaired and he completed the remainder of the session. James was also left deflated after setting an impressive time of 41m 24.20s before having it disallowed for track limits. Jason set the 4th quickest time with Warren in 21st and James in 25th with a gap of just 1.4 seconds between the quartet.

The opening encounter on Sunday brought a historical 1-2 finish for Silverline Subaru BMR Racing, during a race that was plagued with incidents and three safety car periods. Starting from the pole position, Colin had a great start with 2nd place starter Daniel Lloyd attempting a move around the outside of the circuit into the first corner, however Lloyd turned in too early and across the nose of Colin that resulted in contact with the front of the Subaru which subsequently sent the Honda into the tyre wall. Thankfully Colin escaped without damage and retained his lead. The incident also caught up a number of other cars and brought a safety car to the proceedings. Jason had an equally impressive start to the race moving to the inside line and tucking up behind Colin and settling in 2nd place.

When racing resumed on lap 3, Colin held off Jason with both cars setting superb lap times, with the fastest of the race set by Colin on lap 5. By lap 8 there was a second safety car period after Mark Howard lost control into the first corner and went hard into the tyre wall. With Warren running in 18th and James in 23rd racing resumed on lap 10, but it was short lived after Kelvin Fletcher first tagged Dan Welch at the hairpin, that resulted in Fletcher spearing James off on the outside of the track ripping the wheel and suspension off the rear of his Levorg and putting an end to his race.

The third safety car period began on lap 13 to retrieve the stricken Mercedes of Aiden Moffatt. The safety car came in at the end of lap 16 so Colin did all he could to make a break from the now bunched up chasing pack and led home the Subarus for a 1-2 finish with a gap of 1.3 seconds to Jason. Warren came home in 16th place and just one place short of a point scoring position. 

A delighted Colin collected the winner's trophy for the 38th time in his BTCC career and a second time for us at Silverline Subaru BMR Racing. An ecstatic Paul Tunnicliffe, Managing Director of Subaru UK, also took to the podium for the second time in 2016 to collect the winning manufacturer trophy for Subaru UK.

Following on from the superb results from the opening race, Colin would be lining up on Pole Position once again albeit with an extra 75kgs of success ballast on board, with Jason alongside him on the front row with 66kgs. Warren would start from 16th with James having plenty of work to do from 26th after the team did a stellar job repairing the rear of his Subaru Levorg GT. 

As the lights went out it was Jason who got off to a flyer and shot into first place as Colin tucked in neatly behind him in 2nd. Further down the field the usual first corner mayhem struck again and once again James was forced off the circuit and into the gravel trap that resulted in yet another short safety car period for the next lap. 

Jason set the fastest lap on the restart at the end of lap 3, and led by six tenths of a second before Colin retook the lead on Lap 5.  With the rear wheel drive BMW’s of Jack Goff and Rob Collard looming ever nearer and hot on our tails, the pressure was on and with our Silverline Subaru BMR Racing drivers having a ‘free to race, no team orders policy’ the battle continued for the lead until lap 8 when Jason went for a gap in an attempt to pass up the inside of Colin at Tower but the two cars made contact sending Colin sideways, which in turn slowed up Jason and Goff, allowing Collard through from fourth to take the lead forcing Jason back into 2nd and Colin into 3rd.  Warren was running in 19th until contact on lap 12 sent him into a spin at Hawthorn, however he managed to re-join the race before further contact from Kelvin Fletcher caused yet another spin on lap 15.  Jason doubled up with another podium in 2nd with Colin right behind him in 3rd. Warren finished the race in 26th place in his rather battle scarred Levorg.

The reverse grid draw selection was made by Team BMR guest and 23 times Isle of Man TT Champion John McGuinness. Number 8 was pulled out of the bag placing Sam Tordoff on pole Position. Colin would be the highest placed Subaru in 6th, with Jason in 7th. Warren would take his finishing position from race two placing him 26th with James at the back of the grid in 32nd after his non finish. 

As the cars took to the grid the rain started to fall, and with it only being light the stewards hadn't called a wet race so it was up to the teams to choose which tyres to run, so a few took a big gamble 
and ran on slick tyres. However, all four Subaru Levorg pilots elected for wets and it soon became apparent that was the right choice as the heavens opened early on in the race. 

Once again all four made a great start, but unfortunately it was Warren this time that was forced wide and into the gravel trap on turn one bringing an early safety car.  Colin had made his way up to 4th, as Jason lost a few places and sat in 11th. James remained at the tail of the field having not made any advantage thus far.

When racing resumed on Lap 3 Colin found a way past the BMW of Goff around the outside moving up to 3rd.  With Jackson on slicks he and Moffatt made contact on lap 5 the safety car was deployed once more whilst Moffatts Mercedes was lifted to safety.   At the end of lap 9 Ash Sutton made a move in the MG making contact with Colin which then gave an advantage to the BMW of Collard and forcing Colin back into 5th place.  

The safety car was deployed once again between lap 14  and lap 17 to retrieve the car of Hunter Abbott after contact with Jeff Smith bunching up the field once again.  The last two laps would be a sprint to the line with Colin finishing in a great point scoring position of 7th, Jason 10th and James 21st.   Rookie Sutton took the win, the first of his BTCC career.

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship now takes it annual summer break and reconvenes at the testing twists and turns of Norfolk’s Snetterton Circuit in six weeks’ time over the weekend of the 30th and 31st of July.

In the meantime Jason Plato will be attempting the Hill Climb at Goodwood this week with Colin Turkington’s’ car on display at the Subaru UK stand.

Quotes from the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing drivers:

Warren Scott  – “Once again I am absolutely over the moon with the results for the team over the weekend, I think it really shows how far the guys have brought the Levorg’s on.  We’ve still got a lot to do in the second half of the season but we’re feeling very confident with the challenge that lies ahead.”

Jason Plato - “Another great weekend for us, we are making great progress with the Subaru Levorg. To be as competitive as we are at this early stage in the cars development is very exciting as we know there is still so much more performance to unlock.   Race one was another historic milestone for the team with our first one-two, it was a shame that Colin didn't see my move for the lead in race two as I'm sure we would have had produced another one-two.   The wet race three was a learning curve for me as it was my first wet race in a rear wheel drive touring car. After the first few laps I re-calibrated my driving style and was thereafter setting fastest laps.  I can't wait for Snetterton to come, I really believe the second half of the season will belong to us.  Huge thanks to everyone in the team, our success is a result of their huge efforts. Cheers boy’s n girls.”

Colin Turkington - “I'm really pleased to continue my race winning form at Croft and make further strides with the development of the Subaru Levorg.  We did the hard work on Saturday claiming another pole position and that helped set me up for a good race day. Wins don't come easy in the BTCC and I had to work really hard for this one, especially with three safety car periods.  Croft was a track that played to our strengths, but it was still an amazing job by the team to turn up and deliver the results that everyone expected.  Two podiums in any race weekend is a good return and overall I'm happy to walk away with a good haul of points and another victory."

 James Cole - “I received a tweet on Sunday night from a Subaru fan, saying ‘If James didn’t have bad luck he’d have no luck at all…’ couldn’t have summed it up better myself.  It’s amazing how your weekend can be shaped by one decision.  From being seventh in qualifying with a minute to go to twenty fifth sixty seconds later because of a judicial decision is a tough pill to swallow.  My aim for Croft was to qualify solidly inside the top ten and get three solid results, which would have been a great step forward from Oulton Park.  The positives to take out of the weekend are we achieved our aim only to get it taken away.  With the championship being as competitive as it is, it was always a tough ask to carve through the field, even with a proven place.”

To learn more about the Subaru Levorg sport tourer, visit
 Photo credits MJP Media

Monday 13 June 2016

Rachel makes history by taking her 10th consecutive World Cup

Rach pedals into history but Gee's shoulder injury forces him to settle for 15th while Taylor is a disappointing 77th

UCI Downhill Mountatin Bike World Cup, Leogang, Austria, 12th June 2016

Rachel Atherton took her 10th consecutive World Cup win in Austria and now hold more consecutive World Cups than any rider in the history of the sport, beating the record set in 2001 by French rider Anne-Caroline Chausson. 

Leogang is not one of Rachel's favourite venues; in the past she's criticised the track as "bike parky" but substantial work by organisers over the last couple of years has ensured there's plenty of challenges with ultra-fast straights, rocks, roots and plenty of drops, and tunnels. But it's the weather in Leogang that probably presents the biggest challenge. Fluctuating track conditions saw riders practising and racing their qualifiers in ankle-deep mud one minute, then in drying loam and dust the next. Adaptability would prove to be key – and Rachel’s G5 2.5s!

As fastest qualifier, Rachel rode last. When she came on course, fellow Brit Tahnee Seagrave was in the hot seat with a time of 4.14.764. The track had largely dried out though there were slippery mud patches hiding in the woods. Rachel started as she meant to go on, cannoning out of the start-gate to go 1.8 seconds faster than Tahnee by the first split. It wasn’t a textbook run; Rachel washed out in a couple of turns and made a mistake in the roots section that cost her time but she extended her lead at every split - 3.223 seconds up by split 2, 4.779 seconds up by split 3 and 5.927 seconds up by split 4. She gained about a second with a courageous straight-line through the rock garden and finished her run with a massive jump to cross the line 5.3 seconds clear of the field in 4.09.394.
Rachel said: “I can’t believe it, I’m so tired and so happy. I honestly thought I might crash today, I was so nervous that I threw up in the trailer! That run was so wild and loose, I knew that I had to pull out all the stops! Massive thanks to my team who always believe in me, my brothers, my mum and dad and the awesome sponsors who make sure I have the best of everything! And to the fans - hearing them shout my name is what keeps me upright.”
By the time, the men came on course the track was even drier. Taylor Vernon had qualified in 67th so was first up for the team, hoping to improve on yesterday’s run. But it wasn’t to be, two crashes, one in the middle woods section and one in the technical bottom rock section put paid to his hopes. He crossed the line in 3.59.16, enough for an eventual 77th place.
When Gee Atherton came on course, Connor Fearon was in the hot seat. Gee looked as if he’d found a lot of flow and was just 0.788 back at split 1, 1.6 back at split 2. Given that he is such a powerful rider and one of the fittest on the circuit, he should have had no trouble pulling back that time on the lower sections; he made up 1.3 seconds to go just 0.32 down by split 3 and maintained good speed through the rocks with a more daring line than anybody had taken before but fading strength in his shoulder, injured in that huge crash at Fort William last week (and bashed again during a practice tumble!) meant that he couldn’t make it count and despite a textbook-looking run that left commentators scratching their heads as to where he’d lost the time, Gee crossed into 5th – enough for an eventual 15th place.
But it was the top 7 qualifiers who were to bring the action this afternoon. Seventh-qualifier Troy Brosnan put in a huge run to knock Brit Greg Williamson off the hot seat by more than 4 seconds. Brendan Fairclough’s early mistake put him out of the rinning then Greg Minnaar was on course. Greg was back 0.7 by split one and put in an unusually loose run with a mistake on a steep right-hander and uncertainty through the rocks costing him time, enough for an eventual 5th. Danny Hart had UK fans on the edge of their seats when he showed in the green at split 4 but he lost his advantage in the final section to cross the line 1.2 seconds down from Troy, enough for an eventual 4th. Mike Jones went down in the top section then only Loris Vergier and Aaron Gwin were left on course. The crowd went wild as Loris was up at split 1, 2, and 3, and 4… he crossed into the hot seat a second clear, what could Gwin do? The American was down at splits 1 and 2 but he powered into the lead by split 3 and the race was his - he crossed the line in 3.28.68, an amazing 3.13 clear of the field.
Gee said: “I’ve struggled a bit this weekend with a shoulder that’s a lot sorer than I’d realised. That was all I had in my arm for strength, I didn't leave anything up there, it was touch and go whether I'd be able to ride so I'm happy really. Now some serious rehab before Lenzerheide."
Images: Sven Martin 

Friday 10 June 2016


After three previously challenging weekends in the opening rounds of the BTCC series, the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing team made some changes to the chassis and engine after withdrawing from the proceedings at Thruxton.  A two day test followed in Wales to ensure that the gremlins were put to bed before travelling to Oulton Park.  Speaking of the test Team Manager Alan Cole commented “Recent progress was made with the chassis and engine after a two day test at Pembrey.  We would like to thank Mountune who have put in a huge effort to produce a competitive engine in such a short space of time.”

The Silverline Subaru BMR Racing team then backed that up when they entered the history books at Oulton Park at the weekend with Double Champion Colin Turkington scoring the team’s first Subaru win in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
With all four cars having shown good pace in the two Saturday morning free practice sessions, the team went into the afternoons qualifying session feeling confident of a good result.  Colin Turkington delivered the goods producing a blistering 1m:26.264s lap around the 2.26 mile Cheshire circuit, setting the team’s first Silverline Subaru pole position.  Jason was running in 2nd place for the first part of the session and eventually qualified in an impressive 6th with a time of 1m:26.366s.  James set the 18th quickest time with Warren qualifying in 23rd and just 1.025s adrift of Colin’s benchmark time.

For the opening race of the weekend Colin made a great start from pole position fighting off challenges from Sam Tordoff in the BMW during the opening stages, before stretching his lead with a lights to flag victory and making it the team’s first ever win in the Subaru Levorg GT sports tourer.  Jason endured a great battle with Honda’s Gordon Shedden after finally making the move on lap 12 and placing him in 3rd position, making it a double podium for the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing team.  Warren and James both drove a great race and finished in 17th and 18th respectively.  The team were also handed the manufacturer win that was greatly received by the Managing Director of Subaru UK Paul Tunnicliffe.

For race two all four drivers would start in their finishing positions from the opener.  With Colin back on pole and Jason set to line up in 3rd, both drivers made a great start but Tordoff immediately took the lead leaving Colin and Jason battling for 2nd.  Colin held off Jason and took the place ahead of his team mate in 3rd, making it another outstanding double podium with celebrations all round for the team.  Warren brought his car home in 19th as James retired from the race after suffering a hit from behind causing him braking issues.

The reverse grid for Race 3 would see Honda’s Matt Neal drawn on pole position with Jason set to line up in 5th, Colin 7th, Warren 18th and James 31st.  The 15 lap final shoot out was a great end to the day with an exciting battle for 3rd position between several competitors including Jason and Colin, which lingered throughout the entire race.  A last gasp opportunity at Lodge corner would see Jason passing around the outside of several drivers that produced a hat-trick of third place finishes.  Colin held onto a fantastic 7th place as both James and Warren pitted dropping them both down the order and as the flag fell Warren crossed the line in 24th with James retiring in pit-lane.

Silverline Subaru BMR Racing were awarded the Team Trophy for the weekend.
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship now moves on to Croft in Yorkshire in two weeks’ time (18th & 19th June).

Paul Tunnicliffe Managing Director of Subaru UK commented “After the disappointment of Thruxton this result tasted very sweet indeed.  We always had faith in the car, the team and drivers, and knew that this day was bound to come.  With scope for more development, we are confident that this will be no flash in the pan.”

Warren Scott commented “Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to Subaru UK, Jason, Colin, James and everyone in the team at Silverline Subaru BMR Racing along with all of our sponsors for getting us here.  I am very proud of everyone involved in the project and everyone should remember that these cars are only six months old and we have just won our first race.  We are all absolutely delighted”. 

Colin Turkington commented “Oulton Park was the moment we’ve all been waiting on and worked so hard for.  The true potential of the Subaru Levorg finally came to the fore and it was a weekend none of us will forget in a hurry.  I’m so pleased for everyone involved and I hope in some small way this repays the incredible efforts over the past five months.   It was a special feeling to make history and deliver the maiden win for Subaru in the BTCC and in truth it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.  I can’t imagine anyone expected such rapid progress, but we knew it was only a matter of time.  It’s even more encouraging to see the cars run so well with success ballast after Race 1 and we’re even more convinced the Subaru Levorg will become a real championship challenger.”

Jason Plato Commented “What a fantastic weekend for everyone at Silverline Subaru BMR Racing.  We should be enormously proud of our successes at Oulton Park.  We really have arrived in some style.  The future is very bright for us all and I can’t wait to get back in the car for Croft.

James Cole Commented “is it Croft yet!!??  I cannot wait to get back in this fantastic car and tackle the next circuit.  A massive congratulations to Colin, Jason and the rest of the Subaru Silverline BMR Racing team on such an amazing weekend.  Sadly for myself the cards didn’t fall for me like I’d hoped.  Oulton Park is a circuit I know well and really expected better.  A few issues pre-qualifying put our car on the back foot going into qualifying, which in reality at the moment effected my whole weekend.  We have a fantastic car, we just need to make it a little faster in race pace; if we can do this we will be such a force to be reckoned with….. So, is it Croft yet!!??”

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Rachel Atherton takes her 9th consecutive World Cup win!

Rachel takes her 9th Consecutive World Cup win  - but Gee crashes hard.  Race Report: World Cup  2016 Round 3, Fort William

Fort William is known as one of the toughest on the World Cup Circuit. It’s a track that Rachel loves and yet for years she had to settle for second place here. She had to wait until 2013 to take her first World Cup victory on home soil, but today she made it a hat-trick of Fort William wins, at the same time equaling the record for most consecutive World Cups, held since 2001 by Anne Caro Chausson.

Gee and Taylor both fell foul of the Fort this weekend – Taylor failed to qualify by just 0.1 second but Gee took the qualifying win – only to crash out in spectacular style on his Finals run.

It was a blisteringly hot day at Nevis range when the Women racers came on course. Rachel had qualified in second place after a small crash at the entrance to  the woods. When she came on course for her Finals run Tracey Hannah was in the hot-seat with a time of  5.23.268.

Rachel rocketed out of the start gate. By the first split she was 4.41 seconds ahead of Tracey and by split 2 that lead had stretched to an amazing 12.83 seconds. There was a moment of trepidation for Rachel’s friends and fans as a small mistake caused her dab a foot but she held her bike up to edge up to 12.44 seconds clear by split  3, then 13.02 seconds at split 4, crossing the line in 5.11.219.

Only Manon Carpenter was left on course but she couldn’t match Rachel and was down 1.5 seconds by split 1. Through the woods the gap increased to 9.2 seconds, then disaster struck as a small crash put her off the bike. With true Welsh grit she climbed back onto the bike and pedalled for the finish line to take 3rd place .

Rachel said – I am so happy Fort William is the best!! I struggled to win here for a long time and then it clicked that to win here I’d have to take my brain out at the start gate! Fort William is the only track I race completely out of control!

Gee was also racing for his Fort William World Cup hat trick today and the team were optimistic after his first place qualis run.

Greg Minaar has won more World Cups at Fort William than anybody else. He had flatted in qualifications but as a protected rider he raced today – 19th from poll position. He put in a storming run of 4.35.601, would it be enough?

Greg was still in the hotseat when the time came that Stevie Smith would have been on track. With Danny Hart  and Laurie Greenland who’d crossed in 2nd and 3rd he held up the Canadian flag as the stadium fell silent to honour Stevie.

Into the top 5. Adam Brayton looked sketchy the whole way down but crossed into 3rd  to the great delight of the crowd, Troy Brosnan crossed into 4th then Aaron Gwin blasted through into 2nd place. Surprise 2nd place qualifier Ed Masters’ luck ran out and he crashed hard twice, crossing the course tapes to get tangled in vegetation and end the race in 77th.

Only Gee was left on course. He came out of the start gate 100% committed and the crowd held their breath as he showed up 0.47 seconds on Gwin at split 1, he dabbed a foot on a corner but looked to be fully recovered until a slip put him down hard, ending his hopes for the weekend.

Gee said “ That was a stupid slip and it hurt! But I’m stoked to be back up to speed.”

Elite Women Results

1 Rachel Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 5.11.219
2 Tracey Hannah Polygon UR 5.23.268
3 Manon Carpenter Madison Saracen Factory Team +12.049
4 Katy Curd 5.41.024 +29.8025
5 Morgane Charre Bergamont Hayes Factory Team 5.43.049 + 31.830

Elite Men’s Results

1 Greg Minaar Santa Cruz Syndicate 4.35.601
2 Aaron Gwin The YT Mob 4.38.958 +3.357
3 Danny Hart  MS Mondraker Team 4.39.596
4 Adam Brayton 4.39.647 +4.046
5 Troy Brosnan 4.40.335 +4.734
61 Gee Atherton Trek Factory Racing DH 5.02.144 +26.54

Overall Rankings

After 3 rounds Rachel leads the World Cup Standings by 190 points (730 to Manon Carpenter’s 540). Gee sits in 8th with 264 points to Aaron Gwin’s 560.