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Strong start to 2010 season for Morecambe's McGuinness

John Freeman

John McGuinness got his 2010 season off to a strong start at Brands Hatch on Easter Monday when he finished in sixth place in the opening round of the Metzeler National 1000cc Superstock Championship.

The Morecambe man was in fine form all weekend on the Padgetts Honda and was less than two seconds adrift of second place at the chequered flag with the hard earned ten championship points ensuring his 21st year in racing is up and running in fine style.

Carrying on from where he left off at the end of the 2009 season, John was on the pace immediately and third in free practice signalled his intentions for the weekend. First qualifying was slightly damp, with the track drying throughout the 25-minute session but a slight mix-up towards the end meant that John didn't get enough time on a dry rear tyre and he had to settle for 10th. However, second and final qualifying for his group was dry and a lap of 48.616s saw John leap up to third overall and and 3rd in the group. When the qualifying positions for the two groups were combined, John lined up in 5th overall and headed off the second row of the grid.

The rains stayed away for Monday's 24-lap race although conditions were still very cool and after being shuffled back a couple of places at the first corner, John completed the first lap in eighth place, a position he maintained until lap 7 when race leader, and team-mate, Glen Richards crashed out.

Up into seventh, John was slowly reeling in the five-strong group in front of him but overtaking opportunities around the Indy circuit were limited as always so it was very much a patient game for the experienced rider. However, with less than two laps of the race remaining, he moved by Richard Cooper to claim sixth and here he stayed for the final lap and a half to get his season underway.

"It was a strong ride and I felt that I was as quick as anyone else out there, it was just the first half a lap that was my undoing>" John commented after the race.

"I definitely had the pace to be running second but I was a little bit lazy away from the line and it was ultimately my track position that conspired against me. I closed up to the boys in front of me quite comfortably but finding a way by someone on this circuit is never easy and whilst a couple of the boys made slight mistakes, they weren't big enough to allow me to find a way by.

"I was a bit de-tuned when I saw Glen go down but I got back into my rhythm and stayed strong until the end of the race so it's a solid start.

"The opening round sometimes throws up a few surprises but I've got some decent points on the board already and the bike's mega so we're well placed for another challenge for the title."

• The second round of the British Superstock 1000cc Championship takes place at Thruxton, Hampshire on Sunday April 18th.

• Report with thanks to Phil Wain • Picture by Glynne Lewis