Oil spill delays superbike qualifying at Knockhill
The drama of Friday practice continued into qualifying on Saturday, with the Superpole session disrupted thanks to a massive oil spill that covered the entire length of the 1.25 mile circuit. The spill happened on the formation lap for the KTM RC Cup, when the bike of teenager Annabel Mae Thomas sprung a leak while she was making her way to the grid, causing the race to be abandoned while the track was cleaned.
The sidecars then took to the track, but it quickly became clear that the circuit needed more attention, as the session was red-flagged due to four separate crashes in just two laps. The organisers announced a delay to allow the track surface to be properly treated so that superbike qualifying could go ahead.
Earlier in the day, JG SPeedfit Kawasaki's Luke Mossey finished top of the timing sheets in FP3, with a 48.159 second lap, 0.2 seconds quicker than Shane Byrne on the Be Wiser Ducati. McAms Yamaha rider James Ellison had a low speed tip-off at the hairpin, but was uninjured, and returned to the pits to collect his spare bike and finish the session in third spot, 3/10ths down on Mossey.
When the Superpole session finally got underway on the freshly cleaned tarmac, it was Mossey who once again posted the fastest time with a 48.297 lap. Not his best time of the weekend, but enough to claim pole position for race day. But it was RAF Kawasaki's Jake Dixon who surprised everybody by taking second spot on the grid with his 48.398 sec lap for his first front row start in the Superbike class. Ellison grabbed the final spot on the front row by just 0.003 seconds from Byrne in fourth, with Jason O'Halloran and Josh Brookes completing the second row. Ex-World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli claimed seventh on the grid, ahead of Jakub Smrz and local hero Taylor MacKenzie.
Elsewhere, Keith Farmer qualified in pole position for the Supersport Sprint race, which he then went on to win ahead of Andrew Irwin and Jack Kennedy. Danny Buchan did the same in the Superstock 1000 class, beating veteran Michael Rutter and local boy Matt Paolo. In the Supestock 600 class, Tom Neave took pole from George Stanley and Jordan Gilbert . In the tightest of qualifying sessions, the top six places were separated by no more than 0.2 seconds.