Durham's Barry Burrell celebrated his best results since coming back home to the UK as the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship crossed the channel to The Netherlands - but it was a bit of a baptism of fire for South Shields teenager Josh Corner, who crashed out of Sunday’s second Motorpoint British Supersport Championship race as he made his debut in the hard-fought class.
Burrell, 26, of Bishop Auckland, has not had the best comeback to the leading domestic championship as he has struggled to get to grips with his new Quattro Plant Kawasaki machine since his return last month.
However, he appears to have finally turned the corner after grabbing two top 10s as the series made its annual pilgrimage to the famous Assen circuit in the north Netherlands over the weekend.
After a solid start to the weekend, Burrell qualified 14th on the grid for Sunday afternoon’s opening 18-lap race.
Getting a steady start, he took a few laps to find his pace and then began to weave his way up through the order to finally cross the line 10th.
Setting the 11th-fastest lap of the race gave him a fourth row starting position for the second - and this time he was determined to go even better.
It was to be a dramatic race, with many riders crashing out. Burrell had a few problems himself to work around but finally crossed the line in 11th.
However, a move by winner Alex Lowes where he crashed into reigning champ Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne was later ruled dangerous and Lowes was excluded from the results, promoting Burrell to his second 10th place of the day.
He said: “It has not been too bad a weekend, I’d have liked to have scored even better but I can’t complain about two tenth places.
“That second race was just crazy. People were going off all over the place!
“As a racer, you never want to be capitalising on others not finishing but at the same time, to be in it you have to finish.
“The team have been working hard and we’ve done a good job trying to get to a position where I’m comfortable with the bike.
I’ve got to be happy with two top 10s and now I have to just look forward to the last two rounds at Silverstone and Brands Hatch where hopefully we can pull in some top six results.”
For 16-year-old Corner, the weekend marked not only his first race in the competitive Supersport class, but also his first time at Assen.
After qualifying in 30th position for Saturday’s sprint race, the youngster had a steady first race and crossed the line in 26th place, determined to go better in Sunday’s feature race.
However, it wasn’t to be. Getting a good start off the line, Corner soon found himself stuck in slower traffic and made a move to pass on the final chicane on lap two but was unable to make it stick and crashed out into the gravel.
He was unhurt and his MJJ Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-6R escaped serious damage.
Burrell added: “I’m a bit gutted to have crashed there because I think I could’ve got a decent result.
“It’s taken a few sessions to get used to the bike and particularly the new tyres since we’ve come from Superstock 600, but I was really feeling like I’d made good progress.
“In the first race I just wanted to bring it home safe.
“In the second I really felt I could go faster than the group ahead who were actually starting to hold me up.
“When I came to make the move I just tucked the front and there was nothing I could do – it just went and next thing I knew I was in the gravel.
“It’s a shame but the bike is okay.
“I’m fine and we can now concentrate on getting home and looking ahead to Silverstone in a fortnight.”