The Devitt RC Express Racing Kawasaki team returned to the Isle of Man this week for the annual Southern 100 road races and it proved to be a highly successful meeting for the Bristol-based team with Ivan Lintin taking six podiums from seven starts, including two wins, and Alan Bonner securing two newcomer's awards in his two finishes.
However, the latter was an innocent victim of another rider's error in Thursday's Senior race and unfortunately crashed out suffering a broken wrist and hand.
Aside from the incident. the two team-mates had been in the thick of the action, which commenced on Tuesday evening with the Senior race. The initial race was red flagged after Dean Harrison crashed out, fortunately without injury, but when it was restarted, Ivan took an excellent second place behind Michael Dunlop with Alan an equally excellent sixth on his circuit debut.
Moving onto Wednesday and it was a lot busier night for Ivan with three races in store, the evening also being a lot busier for the team as rain fell making tyre choice difficult. In the opening Senior race, Ivan had to settle for third on this occasion behind Dunlop and Dan Kneen whilst Alan took ninth, a few changes to the bike not working out as he'd hoped although he was again comfortably the first newcomer to finish. Ivan then took a dominant win in the Supertwins race before enjoying a race long battle with Harrison in the Supersport 600cc race. A last corner overtaking maneouvre looked like it had given Ivan the win but Harrison outdragged him to the line and won by the miniscule margin of 0.037s.
Thursday saw perfect weather conditions on the island and all round the 4.25-mile course but in the opening Senior race, Alan crashed out after a rider in front of him missed a gear leaving him nowhere to go. The race was stopped as Alan was attended to, eventually being taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with the aforementioned broken arm and wrist.
That meant Ivan's first race of the day was the Supersport race but on the first lap he overshot a corner and dropped all the way outside the top 15. However, lapping at a similar pace to race winner Harrison, he tore through the field to finish an excellent fourth and then went back out on track for the Supertwins race where he took yet another win. That just left the feature Southern 100 Solo Championship and although Dunlop proved unstoppable, Ivan took an exellent third place behind Harrison and with it recorded his best ever lap of the circuit at 111.980mph.
The team also had another Superstock bike out at the meeting with Jamie Coward on board and the Yorkshire rider had a great week, taking fourth and fifth in his two finishes, also lapping at a best ever 111.007mph.
Ivan Lintin: "I can't fault the week at all and to come away with six podiums from seven starts and three fastest laps is excellent - if I'd have been offered that at the beginning of the week, I'd certainly have took it. It was my own error that prevented it being seven podiums but I just got into Cross Four Ways a bit deep and had to run on. Michael was on fire in the big bike races and none of us could get near him but I was pleased with my riding and to set my best ever lap was also pleasing. The Twin races were relatively straightforward and my plan of getting to the front early on and controlling the race from there worked out on both occasions. Like I say, it's been a brilliant week and another great Southern 100 meeting."
Alan Bonner: "I'm absolutely gutted the week ended how it did as I was having such a great time. I loved the circuit and was pleased with my results, especially the opening night when I took sixth and lapped at almost 110mph. We changed a few things on the bike for Wednesday's race which didn't quite work but we changed things again for Thursday and straightaway it felt better. I was looking forward to a strong ride but, unfortunately, a rider in front of me missed a gear coming out of Cross Four Ways and I ploughed into the back of him at about 70-80mph, slamming into the ground. My injuries could have been a lot worse but I'm just gutted not just for myself but also the team who've given me so much support this season. Hopefully, I'll heal quickly and be back on the bike as soon as possible."
Ben Constable, Team Owner: "It's been a mint week here at the Southern 100 and in the very first race, we took second, fourth and sixth place finishes which set the tone for the rest of the week. Ivan's a different rider this year to last and he rode brilliantly in all of his races, especially the 600 which surprised us a little bit not because of Ivan but because of how well the bike performed. It was the best it had been all year and that bodes well for the Ulster GP and Scarborough Gold Cup. He set his best ever laps on the big bikes to get some great results behind Michael and Dean and he had two great rides on the Twin so we couldn't be happier with his set of results."
"Alan was making his debut here at what's recognised a tricky circuit but to get sixth first time out on Tuesday and lap at the speeds he did was mega. He loved the circuit and was impressing everyone so it's a real shame what happened on Thursday. It was a racing incident but no fault at all of Alan's and we're all gutted for him that he's injured. Obviously it could have been a lot worse but it's cruel luck for him and whilst we don't know at this stage how long he'll be out for, the bikes will all be ready for him at the Ulster next month."
The team will be back out on track next weekend with Ivan contesting the Barry Sheene Festival races at Oliver's Mount, Scaborough.
Pictures by Stephen Davison - Pacemaker Press International