COLLIER LOOKS AHEAD WITH OPTIMISM AFTER DEBUT WIN WITH EHA RACING

RIDER FEATURE - JOE COLLIER

EHA Racing Aprilia mounted Joe Collier, took his debut win for the Irish team, which was also his first in the Pirelli National 1000cc Superstock class, last time out at Snetterton – moving the rookie into second place in the 2018 series standings aboard the In Competition prepared RSV4 RF.
Very much the quiet thinking man’s racer, the 24-year-old full time electrician and part time racer, very much signalled his championship credentials with that Norfolk victory on the Jewson and KGN backed EHA Racing Aprilia, which he is having a lot of fun riding.

“Yeah the Aprilia is a great package and the EHA Racing team do a great job putting the whole job together for me,” said Collier, who is developing a tangible propensity for Italian two-wheeled hardware, having won last season’s Ducati Cup series.

Last season the mild-mannered Leicestershire based rider had a couple of Stock 1000 outings on BMW machinery at Oulton and Brands Hatch towards the end of the season, and his experienced stand-in crew chief for those races Phil McLaughlin, said straight away, ‘that kid will win races in the Superstock class’.

Collier is racing under the watchful eye of Ian Newton, the former racer [and owner at In Competition who prepare the bike], who is Aprilia UK’s racing guru, as well as the ‘maestro di corse’ on the Superstock side of the EHA Racing garage. So young Collier is in very good hands within Edward and Gail Allingham's EHA Group supported team.
Just thirteen points behind championship leader Billy McConnell [2014 British Supersport Champion], and five ahead of Tyco BMW’s Keith Farmer, the reigning British Supersport Champion and former Superstock 1000cc series winner and Juniorstock champion, it would be fair to say Joe in racing in pretty decent company this season.

If we add in his EHA Racing team-mate Andy Reid, who is also a race winner this season, with two top-steps in the class, and former championship Alastair Seeley and Josh Elliott also on the grid, Joe should feel pretty satisfied with the opening seven races of 2018.
“It’s probably gone a bit better than even I expected,” he said honestly. “The depth of field in the class is there for all to see, so to have come in and done so well, is satisfying for sure. But we need to keep going in the same direction and keep ourselves in title contention.”

Having ridden the BMW at the back end of last season, Joe also tested the In Competition prepared Aprilia RSV4 RF at Oulton park with Ian Newton on the spanners, and despite less than perfect conditions, his mind was immediately made up for 2018.
“The RSV4 RF Aprilia is an easier bike to ride and an easier bike to race,” he said candidly. “Once you have it set-up to your liking it seems effortless. It’s only when you are racing with others, that you realise how good the power delivery is and how well the chassis works. So yes, I’m pleased I’ve gone down the Aprilia route and delighted to be working with EHA Racing,” he said unequivocally.
Speaking of Edward and Gail Allingham’s team with the Irish heart, which is based in Essex and the bikes being prepared in Lancashire – with team members from all over the UK and Northern Ireland he said: “It’s a great team atmosphere. Everyone gets on and so far, it has been magic. It’s an Irish team for sure, but I think on race weekends the Irish are outnumbered two-to-one, so we have some good laughs.”
Of his crew chief, he added: “Ian [Newton] is obviously a big help and I’m really enjoying working with him. It’s a big team effort for sure; Ian is the Aprilia guru and is well supported by the lads on both my side of the garage and Andy’s. It’s working well, and everyone wants to win.”
Speaking of his new team-mate Andy Reid, whose gregarious personality is on the opposite end of the spectrum to Joe’s quiet approach, he added: “Andy and I get along really well. We are complete opposites but that seems to work. On track we have both been right up there and that’s great for everyone at EHA Racing and for Aprilia. Of course, you want to beat your team-mate – that’s for sure – but we also don’t want to be knocking each other off, so it’s nice to have strength in numbers challenging Billy and Keith this season.”
Joe was at the International North West 200 for the first time supporting Alastair Seeley on the EHA Racing Supersport machine recently, and loved every minute of it, but his focus is now fully on the next round at Knockhill on July 6/7/8th, where he believes he can again challenge for the top step.

“I do think Knockhill will be a good circuit for the Aprilia,” he said of the In Competition prepared EHA Racing RSV4 RF. “Yes, I think the usual contenders will be up there, and I’ll expect to see a few others like maybe Seeley and Elliott joining the battle, but that’s what makes the class so interesting for the fans. But I’m sure Andy and I will be doing our best to put both EHA bikes on the podium.”

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ZOEK RACING SNETTERTON

Snetterton played host to round four of the Ducati TriOptions Cup this week with Sean Neary finishing his first race in fourth place but retiring from race two with a technical issue.
His Zoek Racing team mate Craig Currie was 14th in race one and 13th in the second race.

After qualifying on pole position for the first race, Lymm rider Sean Neary didn’t get the best of starts and completed the first of two laps in race one on Saturday in third place. Phil Atkinson demoted him to fourth on lap three but Neary powered back past to reclaim third one lap later. But his progress was short lived as on lap six Atkinson went past again and although there was less than half a second separating the two riders the red flag brought the race to a halt on lap eight and a result declared on positions on lap seven.

Neary commented: “The race didn’t go our way today as it was cut short which didn’t do us any favours for a podium however we didn’t have the pace to win.”

Neary lined up on the front row for race two on Sunday morning but things didn’t quite go to plan as, although he was running in fourth place for the first few laps he was forced to retire at half race distance with a technical issue. He said: “As race weekends go it was pretty poor!!  A technical issue with the bike meant we didn’t finish race two. Not ideal but on the positive side it can always be worse! We will work hard and come back strong for Brands Hatch. Thanks to the team for all their hard work.”

With a non finish to his second race Neary has lost his series lead but is holding a strong second place on 108 points.

Meanwhile Newark rider Craig Currie went well during qualifying to start the first race from the middle of the second row. He held eighth place on lap one but began to drop back and completed the 10 lap affair in 14th place to pick up two championship points.

Starting race two on Sunday from the fifth row it was always going to be a challenge to get up into the top 10 but Currie made headway and completed the race in 13th place to secure another three championship points.

Snetterton was a positive weekend for the Nottinghamshire rider as he got his first points of the new season on board and has made good progress with the Ducati.



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COLLIER TAKES MAIDEN SUPERSTOCK 1000cc WIN FOR EHA RACING & APRILIA 

Joe Collier took his debut win for EHA Racing on Sunday in the Pirelli National 1000cc Superstock Championship during round four at Snetterton in Norfolk. It was also the 23-year-old’s maiden win in the class, with his 25-point haul moving him into second place in the championship standings, just 13 points behind Billy McConnell whom he headed home for the victory.
Collier and his team-mate Andy Reid both started from the front row of the grid in second and third place respectively, but having had a spell at the front, Reid crashed out in the opening laps, leaving Collier to fly the solo EHA Racing flag in pursuit of victory.
 
Speaking after his win, Collier said: “After Oulton Park and our second place, we knew the win was coming, and although Billy got a bit if a gap after Andy had crashed today, I was able to claw him back in. It was a tough but enjoyable race and once we got to the front it was a matter of keeping it clean and holding him off for the win. 
"We’ve also closed the gap at the top of the table and taken the fastest lap today, so I’m really happy. Full credit to the whole EHA Racing team and the RSV4 RF Aprilia. The biked worked perfectly again this weekend. Thanks also to all my personal sponsors and as always, Jeff from KGN who was there once again this weekend on my pit-board. The plan is to build on this at Knockhill in a few weeks’ time.”
Andy Reid said afterwards: “I’m obviously really disappointed as we had the pace this weekend for a podium at the very least. It’s another no scoring round for me, and as much as we are not a million miles away, we cannot afford to allow the guys at the top of the table to get too far ahead of us. Congratulations to Joe on his win today.”

Team Manager Gail Allingham added: “We’re obviously delighted for Joe to have picked up his first win of the season, which is the third for EHA Racing and the Aprilia RSV4 RF. Joe has been showing his credentials since the start of the season and after his performance at Oulton we knew it wouldn’t be long before the win would come. He rode faultlessly today and again showed great maturity and composure throughout. Andy will obviously be disappointed, but the pace he has shown once again this weekend, proves he is more than capable of closing that gap in the coming rounds and adding to his podium tally. Thanks as always to our sponsors for their support and a special mention to Jeff from KGN who is also a personal sponsor of Joe’s. He was delighted today and rightly so. Finally to our team, well done guys, the hard work is paying off.”  


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Lintin claims best ever Superbike TT finish

Ivan Lintin claimed his best ever Superbike finish at the Isle of Man TT races when he took an excellent eighth place on the Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R in Saturday’s six-lap race, also setting a new personal best lap of 128.672mph.

With good conditions all week on the island, the Lincolnshire rider had enjoyed a good week of practice on all bikes around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course with a lap of 126.821mph placing him 19th on the Superbike leaderboard.

However, both he and the team were confident of improving upon that in the race and, sure enough, an opening lap of 127.218mph saw the 33-year old cross the line in 15th place. The hot weather of practice week had given way to cooler, cloudier conditions and it suited Ivan well as a second lap of 128.176mph enabled him to jump up to 11th place.

A superb pit stop by the team got him back out in double quick time and by the end of lap three, half race distance, he moved up into the top ten as he held onto tenth place. Another 128mph+ lap on lap four, 128.114mph, saw him climb further up the leaderboard into an excellent seventh place and another good pit stop meant he consolidated his position.

The final two laps looked like they would see Ivan finish in seventh but although a flying lap in excess of 130mph by Martin Jessopp on lap six pushed him back to seventh, the Bardney rider set a new personal best lap of 128.672mph to secure a brilliant eighth place, bettering the tenth he took in the 2016 Senior race.

Ivan Lintin: “I’m over the moon with eighth place today and also with my personal best lap so it couldn’t have gone any better really. I got settled into the race and caught Sam West and Shaun Anderson in the early stages, opening up a bit of a gap over the both of them and I had no issues at all during the race. I saw a pitboard at Sulby which said ‘+10’ so when Sam came back past me on the final lap, I thought it was him that was behind me and not Martin so I could have maybe pushed a bit harder on the final lap and be sitting here now with seventh. I’m really happy with eighth though and it’s a great start to the week.”

Ben Constable, Team Co-owner: “In all honesty, we weren’t expecting a top ten finish today with the competition being so intense so to be sitting here now with an eighth place is simply superb. Ivan’s been riding well all week, getting plenty of laps in on each machine, and we felt confident of giving a good account of ourselves today.”

“Ivan put together a really consistent race, and with three 128mph+ laps, he moved up the leaderboard all race and with two mega pit stops by the team, we got ourselves into the top ten. It’s been a big team effort and Ivan put it all together in the race and although we missed out on seventh by just a few seconds, we’re all delighted with eighth.”



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COLLIER TAKES SUPERSTOCK 1000cc DOUBLE WIN AT BRANDS HATCH

Joe Collier’s double race victory aboard the EHA Racing/In Competition Aprilia RSV4 RF was the highlight of the weekend for the EHA Racing squad on the Superstock 1000 side of the garage – with Andy Reid reduced to spectator status at the Brands Hatch GP circuit, having sustaining a fractured wrist at Knockhill a fortnight earlier.

Collier led the championship standings on Saturday night with his perfect 30-point haul, that included 5 bonus points for his double-race win. But having posted his first non-finish in Sunday’s third race, when he crashed out on the opening lap, he left the Kent venue holding second place overall in the series standings, just 13 points off the lead.

Collier’s performance on Saturday was nothing short of outstanding, taking into consideration, that he was taken out by another rider during qualifying, which left his bike very second hand and in need of major repair by his crew, with Joe battered and bruised and carrying a suspected broken thumb.

Joe Collier:
“Saturday was eventful to say the least, but to come back and take two wins after what happened in qualifying is testament to the work put in by Ian Newton and everyone in the EHA Racing/In Competition team.

“In both races I battled through from outside the top three, but was confident that if I found my own rhythm and looked after my tyre I could attack in the closing stages. In race one we came from eight place to the win and in race two, we also had to fight hard. Tom Neave did his best to stop me getting past with a few hard moves, but I wasn’t settling for anything less than the win and those extra five bonus points for the double victory.

“Apologies to the team for the mistake in Sunday’s third race. I made a bad start and was trying not to lose time out of turn two. I was just too eager on the throttle. It’s disappointing, but we are still well there is the championship standings and can go to Thruxton, knowing we have enough in the package to challenge for the win.”

Gail Allingham – Team Manager:
“Joe rode superbly on Saturday in both races, taking into consideration that the team were left to rebuild his bike and he was nursing a thumb injury, as well as being more a little second hand. Sunday's incident was unfortunate but with the nature of the aftermath, we are just glad Joe didn't get seriously injured. He's done both himself and the whole EHA Racing team proud and we can now look forward to Thruxton, where we will be back to a two rider strong team, with Andy Reid set to re-enter the fray. Thanks as always to our sponsors and those family and friends who turned up to support us this weekend."



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ZOEK RACING BRANDS HATCH GP

The two Zoek Racing riders Sean Neary and Craig Currie were at Brands Hatch last weekend for round five of the Ducati TriOptions Cup where Neary rode to a brace of podium finishes, a second place in the first race on Saturday and third on Sunday while Currie was unlucky for his Ducati to suffer a technical issue in the first race but he bounced back to finish race two in 13th position.

Neary from Lymm in Cheshire completed his qualifying in third place and began the first race on Saturday from a front row grid position. He passed Josh Day on the opening lap and settled into second place behind Rob Guiver. Although he was within 0.2s from his rival in the early stages he was unable to pass him and completed the 12 lap affair in second place.

Starting the second race on Sunday from the front row once again, this time he didn’t make the most of his start and completed the first lap in fourth place. He was racing ahead of a group of five riders all challenging him for fourth place but he didn’t intend to give up his place without a fight. On lap eight he was holding fourth but challenging Day for third place with three riders in close company behind him. On the final lap he finally made his move and snatched third place from Day and very nearly took second. As they crossed the finish line Neary took third place but was just 66 thousandths of a second away from Lewis Rollo in second place.

Neary said: “Phew that was close! I had a problem in the early laps as I thought I had oil on the foot peg so dropped back a bit, but then I realised it was ok and pulled it together. By then of course it was too late but we gave it a go and we got a couple of podiums so I can’t complain.”

Currie from Newark began the first race from a third row grid position and was circulating in 13th place for a while. He was elevated to 12th on lap four when a rider ahead returned to the pits after receiving a ride through penalty for a jump start but Currie encountered a problem with the brakes and retired to the pits at two thirds race distance.

Starting the second race on Sunday from the sixth row The Nottinghamshire rider was down in 17th place on the first lap. On lap two he passed Danny Huskinson and was elevated to 15th when Paul Slade crashed out ahead of him. He then overtook Michael Tustin on lap four and chased after Dave Mackay passing him on lap six to take up 13th place.

Tustin also overtook Mackay and then snatched 13th place from Currie but Joe Morphett crashed out of the race gifting 13th place back to Currie once again which he held to the chequered flag to secure three championship points and equal his best finish of the current campaign.



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