13th place was an appropriate finishing position for Padgett's Supersport rider John Crockford this weekend as the team suffered a run of bad luck in their quest to win this year's title.

A recalcitrant gear selector and a robbery conspired to upset the rider's preparations for the championship's 4th round.

Whilst Crockford suffered with the mechanical gremlins, team-mate Adrian Coates was thankful for the support of his equipment sponsors, who supplied new riding gear at the eleventh hour after the originals went missing from his caravan earlier in the week.

Ulsterman Coates said: "Losing all your gear is just what you don't need before a race weekend. Fortunately we had new leathers coming anyway, but I'd like to thank Arai and Daytona for supplying replacements at such short notice.

"As for the race itself, I got a good start but then got bumped going into turn one. By the time I'd picked up momentum again I was in ninth, so it was just a matter of getting my head down and trying to get back on terms with the leading group before they got away. In the end I was seventh, but only two seconds off of fourth place, so I guess I shouldn't be too disappointed."

Having arrived at Oulton expecting to add another podium to the two already achieved this year, Southampton-based Crockford found himself outside the top ten as a result of a reluctant gearbox.

The 2002 National Superstock runner-up said: "The bike was perfect in the wet sessions, but in the dry I was struggling with fourth gear. We thought we'd cured it Sunday night because it was fine Monday morning, but then it returned in the race and I just couldn't keep on terms with the others.

"It became a damage limitation exercise, but unfortunately I tried a bit too hard on the last but one lap, outbraked myself and lost another couple of places. All I can say is roll on Knockhill, I've won there the last couple of visits, so I'll be looking to make up some of the ground we lost."



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