Despite a lack of track time due to the cancellation of the official qualifying sessions, the Padgett's Supersport team of John Crockford and Adrian Coates (pictured) managed to put the disappointment of Brands Hatch behind them and finish the Rockingham weekend with fourth and seventh places respectively.

Due to problems with a lack of grip on some recently painted track markings, the organisers were forced to abandon some of the sessions for the main classes and ultimately cancelled the non-televised support races while they removed the offending lines.

With the track ready for action on the Sunday, the Supersport field lined up in Championship order as a result of the missed qualifying sessions. Because of Leon Haslam's promotion to the Superbike class, Coates was delighted to find himself with a clear view of the track from the front row, while team-mate Crockford lined up directly behind him in eighth place.

When the start lights went out 2001 British 250 Champion Coates made good use of his advantageous position and forced his way into second place behind Honda's fast-starting Championship leader Karl Harris.

Unfortunately the lack of set-up time showed when, despite his best efforts, Coates found himself unable to stay ahead of the chasing pack and by lap eight Stuart Easton, Dean Thomas and Crockford had managed to slip past.

The two team-mates ran together until lap thirteen, when Coates was severely punished for a slight error as Simon Andrews and Michael Laverty pounced to snatch fifth and sixth places. The top seven then held onto their positions until the chequered flag.

"I was really pleased with my start but straight away I was struggling a bit with the rear tyre which meant it was impossible to keep in front of Stuart, Dean and John," said Coates. " During the middle section of the race things settled down and I thought I'd be able to hold onto fifth but then I missed the clipping point going into turn two and next thing I know I've lost two places. It would've been nice to go to Mondello with the extra two points but this weekend has given me the confidence to make the most of racing in front of all my friends and family in two weeks time."

2002 Superstock runner-up Crockford added: "I got a good start and made up a place straight away, then it was a matter of finding a rhythm and passing people as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, when I got into fourth place the front three had already pulled out a gap so I just rode as fast as I could without risking throwing away 13 points.

"The bike was fantastic all through the race. I know if I can qualify well at Mondello there's every chance of getting my first win for the team. It's going to be like a home circuit for Adrian, so he's definitely going to be looking for a podium. I reckon you can expect plenty of excitement that weekend!"

 

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