Padgett’s ace Smrz denied double finish

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Padgett’s racer Jakub Smrz was cruelly denied two points finishes in the fourth round of the British Superbikes Championships at Knockhill.

Not for the first time this season, the Czech rider was making his circuit race debut but his Batley team were hopeful that Smrz could emulate the successes achieved in earlier rounds of the championship.

A test session at the undulating Dunfermline circuit was the sum total of Smrz’s experience of Knockhill but he was in terrific form in his first qualifying session and booked his place in mid-grid alongside the likes of James Ellison, Michael Rutter and Karl Harris.

Smrz dropped a couple of places in the opening stages of the first race but recovered well and got the better of World Supersport podium finisher Robbin Harms to take a well deserved 13th place.

In the second race, Smrz once again found himself racing with Harms and, lying 14th, in line for a second points finish.

However, when Harms’ bike failed at the hairpin the two riders came together and the unfortunate Padgett’s racer was forced into retirement on lap 26 of 30.

It was only the second race of the season in which Smrz has failed to score points and, despite limited experience of the track, he posted times equal to those set by BSB race-winner Ian Lowry when riding for the team.

John McGuinness endured a frustrating return to the short tracks fresh from scooping his 20th Isle of Man TT title.

With team-mate Bruce Anstey, McGuinness helped Padgett’s take its tally to 17 podiums from the last 19 races on the island, but it was a different story for the TT legend in the Superstock 1000 class at Knockhill.

Having qualified on the sixth row, McGuinness had his work cut out and the effort of hustling the big Superstock bike around the twists and turns took its toll, ultimately causing him to retire with arm-pump after eight laps.

Next on the Superbikes calendar is the super-fast Snetterton circuit on the weekend of July 5-7. Padgett’s will be aiming for top-10 finishes for Smrz on the wide, flat track.