Padgett's Supersport rider John Crockford bounced back from the disappointment of his DNF at Snetterton with a hard won third place at Thruxton this weekend.

Meanwhile team-mate Adrian Coates underlined his determination to stay in the championship hunt by finishing sixth, despite having to cope with a damaged bike after a clash with Mark Burr half-way through the race.

A delighted Crockford said: "I really enjoyed the race, especially as it's the first chequered flag I've seen this year after the race at Silverstone was cut short and not finishing at Snetterton.

"I had a fairly major off during first qualifying and the team did a great job in getting the bike sorted for the race; which was just as well because I don't think I had one lap where I wasn't fighting for position, first with Adrian and then with Simon [Andrews] and Tom [Sykes]. It allowed Stuart and Karl to break away, but I'm happy to be going away with third in the championship, especially as it's Oulton next and I think we'll be really strong there."

After his best qualifying performance so far this season, a heavy collision with the Yamaha of Mark Burr meant the race became an exercise in damage limitation for Coates.

The Ulsterman said: "I was defending third position from Crocky when he managed to get under me and we went wide, Mark tried to get through at the same time and we ended up coming together, I was able to keep going but unfortunately it ended Mark's race. Not only did it make it difficult to change gear, but more importantly I was struggling to reach the brakes, which meant I had no chance of getting back on terms with the fight for third."

Team manager Clive Padgett is eagerly anticipating the first Padgett's win of 2003, saying: "Stuart Easton was really flying here today, but we're now going to circuits where we expect the 4-cylinder bikes to be more than a match for the Ducatis and we've already shown we're capable of leading races. With Adrian and John trading lap times and young Danny in the 125s becoming a regular podium visitor, it's not just a matter of how soon before we get a win, but also, which one of the three it will be!"



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