Round 6 of the 2017 Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC Cup took place at a sodden Silverstone this past weekend (September 8-10) and saw 15-year old Matthew Bower from Sheffield claim his first victory in the series – joined by two other new faces on the podium.
A new circuit for many of the riders to learn, the long and fast Northamptonshire track was continually blasted with autumn showers to present even more of a challenge to the youngsters on their identical specification KTM RC 390s.
The best conditions of the weekend happened for qualifying, where series leader, Brian Hart from Brazil, took the fastest time 0.236 seconds ahead of fellow title battler and double winner last time out, Jack Nixon.
Rounding out the top 5 was Matthew Bower, Will Lathrope and Fenton Seabright. A respectful performance was also achieved by the two newcomers to the series for the weekend, Lynden Leatherhead in 13th and Oliver Johnson in 15th. Both riders were coming from an off-road background and new to road racing, taking advantage of the opportunity the KTM RC Cup provides.
The rain returned for the first race and Brian Hart made the best start from pole position, but the treacherous conditions would catch out many riders in the early stages, including Mitchell Searle and Annabel Thomas. But even before the first lap concluded, Hart crashed out while leading, promoting the chasing Nixon to the lead.
With a uncharacteristic no-score for Hart, Nixon played safe for the championship and was quickly caught by Connor Moody, Bower and Lathrope. Moody wasted no time in pushing to the front as Jordan McCord made a heroic ride to catch up to the leading quartet. McCord pushed past Nixon and continued his progress. As Moody and Bower jockeyed for position, often running deep into corners, McCord took advantage to snatch the lead on lap three.
The race then became a three-way battle between Moody, McCord and Bower, constantly swapping positons as they tip-toed around the sodden circuit. Moody, riding the #4 Steelmate machine, then pushed too hard at the start of lap seven, crashing unhurt but visibly angry with himself. But the drama didn’t stop there. Despite pulling out a huge lead, McCord outbraked himself on the final lap and handed Bower the victory moments before the chequered flag.
Bower, riding the Chris Walker-sponsored no.78 machine, took his first victory of the season to add to his podium from Snetterton and was flanked by two new arrivals to the podium, McCord and Lathrope.
Although the adverse weather conditions on Sunday could not dampen the spirit of the young racers, Race 2 – scheduled for 5:15pm – was cancelled on the grounds of safety reasons due to track conditions.
An extra race will be added to the schedule for the next round at Oulton Park this coming weekend.
With just two rounds and five races remaining, only seven points cover the top three in the championship. Hart still holds the advantage with a mere 2.5 points over Jack Nixon and Fenton Seabright only another 4.5 points adrift. It’s all still to play for.
Santander Consumer Finance KTM RC Cup Results – Silverstone, Race 15 of 20
1.Matthew Bower (Chris Walker Racing)
2.Jordan McCord (AJM Sales Ltd)
3.Will Lathrope (LRC Racing)
4.Jack Nixon (IXON Racing)
5.Connor Thomson (Steelmate Racing/Monroe Racing RSA)
Championship table after Round 6 of 8
1.Brian Hart 267
2.Jack Nixon 264.5
3.Fenton Seabright 260
4.Matthew Bower 168
5.Connor Thomson 131.5