Craig Jones scored a brilliant seventh place finish for Triumph ValMoto at Knockhill today in the British Supersport championship.

After taking pole position in dramatic style on Saturday, there was no way that the 18-year-old sensation was going to ease off for the race. True to form, he rode brilliantly and had it not been for one vital and entirely uncontrollable element he was almost guaranteed a place on the podium.

The result of the fifth race in the British Supersport Championship calendar was ultimately decided by the weather and no amount of skill or determination was ever going to change the outcome for Triumph ValMoto. In a ridiculously cruel twist of fate, the heavy black clouds that had loomed low over the Scottish hillside circuit failed to deliver their aqueous payload for the first time all day. Throughout Sunday every single race at Knockhill had received a comprehensive soaking, and after countless riders had fallen victim to the terrible conditions, wet tyres quickly become the only realistic choice for the Supersport race.

Given the conditions, the majority of riders opted for full wet tyres and Jones was no exception. Despite a bad start dropping him down to sixth place, he very quickly found his rhythm and rocketed back up to third place. With the skies getting darker by the minute and small drops of water beginning to fall, Jones looked set to claim Triumph's first factory podium for over three decades. He rode confidently and with exceptional skill to put himself well clear of his pursuers. However every lap that was run without rain took more and more out of his tyres.

Jones showed true grit as he wrestled with the unsuitable rubber but never at any point did the Triumph ValMoto Daytona 600 look out of control. The narrow dry line that snaked its way around the 1.3-mile circuit had broadened considerably by half-race distance but by purposely riding through the less and less frequent patches of standing water, he did his best to prolong the life of his tyres. Because of this he was not always able to take the fastest line, yet he still managed to give many dry-shod riders a real run for their money. However, towards the end of the 28-lap race he was unable to maintain his podium challenge and did well to take seventh position overall.

"After starting from pole position this isn't really the result that I wanted," said Jones. "That said, I'm really pleased with the way that the Triumph ValMoto Daytona 600 behaved, even with disintegrating tyres. It only really became hard work during the last six or seven laps and that was the only time that I got passed. I thought about changing to dry tyres after my warm-up lap but I'd seen too many other riders come unstuck today by making a last minute switch. It started to speckle towards the end of the race and I was praying for it to come down because if there'd been even light shower, I'd have been on the podium easily."

Jones' team-mate Jim Moodie was in fact one of the riders that did change his tyres on the grid. His choice of an intermediate rear seemed to be perfect, however it was more than negated by the soft wet weather tyre that he had on the front. Unfortunately, the drying Knockhill track made short work of this and he was forced to retire from the race after battling on for 24 laps.

Triumph ValMoto Team Manager Jack Valentine was philosophical about the way things had turned out.

"No one can complain about the way that Craig rode," he said. "He was right on the pace until his tyres went off. I still can't believe that it didn't rain - I have never seen clouds that dark that didn't drop a load of water. It's just incredible that our race took place during the only half-hour of dry weather since we got here. It was a massive gamble for Harris and that lot to risk dry tyres on a day like this but they got very lucky - one quick shower and it would've been a very different story. Even with shredded tyres Craig managed to hang on to seventh place and that's really encouraging for when we go to Brands Hatch in a few weeks time."

 

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