RICH Energy ambassadors Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau, Alvaro Bautista and James Hillier were in action last weekend, racing across Europe on two and three wheels. Sidecar World Championship pairing Reeves and Rousseau were in action in Croatia while Bautista and his Honda World Superbike Team took on Navarra in Spain as Road Racing and Rally Raid man, James Hillier, had an unexpected call-up at Cadwell Park for the RICH Energy OMG Racing team to replace an injured Kyle Ryde.

Hillier was present at Cadwell Park for son Monty’s MiniGPUK races at the circuit in support of Round 6 of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship on its return to the iconic Lincolnshire track. As any great racer does, if they’re at a race circuit, they take their leathers, just in case they’re needed. Hillier was no exception and after an unfortunate spill for Kyle Ryde during testing, the team drafted in super-sub to ride the now pilotless BMW M1000RR for the weekend. Qualifying for the three races was an achievement after two years off a superbike and over eight years away from Cadwell Park. Three races across the weekend brought three finishes for the Isle of Man TT rider and a huge smile at the end of it all.

In Croatia Reeves and Rousseau were looking to improve on their World Championship standings as the season enters its last phase. Qualifying 2nd on the grid the experienced pair were in the mix right from the start as a freight train of outfits battled around the tight Rijeka circuit. Despite a strong showing, the pair were forced to retire from the race with cooling issues but determined to make up for the disappointment in race two. A three-outfit battle thrilled the crowd in the intense heat of race two, with two laps to go held Reeves and Rousseau held a slim lead over Ellis and Clement with Schlosser and Fries within touching distance of the pair. Passes and re-passes, it was sidecar racing at its best over the remaining two laps before Reeves and Rousseau took the chequered flag. The top three teams were separated by just 0.160s as the flag dropped.

In Navarra, Alvaro Bautista ignored the rumours of a switch to Ducati next season, continuing his development work Honda and the strive for podium places. Qualifying 12th fastest at the tight Spanish circuit made life difficult for the former MotoGP man however as race one got under way Bautista made good progress before losing the front of his Honda CBR1000RR-R, ending his day. With two races on Sunday, it was prime chance for Bautista to improve his grid position for Race 2 later as the morning Superpole race dictated the grid positions. A battling 10th position in the Superpole race and an improvement to 8th in Race 2 after a big dice with Bassani and van der Mark left Bautista slightly less frustrated after the weekend.

He said, “We did not change too much on the bike set-up from yesterday, because in analysing the data we could not find a reason for the crash in race 1. But we did choose a different spec of tyre today and I felt a better with the front, so maybe we just didn’t make the best choice for race 1. I made a bad start in the Superpole race, losing several positions and despite recovering fairly well, I just missed out on P9 and so had to start from the fourth row once again in the afternoon.

I made a better start in race 2 but during the first half of the race I struggled to overtake, because we are lacking some traction when exiting the corners, especially when everyone is on fresh tyres and are able to brake hard. After a few laps, when the tyre performance begins to drop, I can be more effective, and in fact our pace at that point was very similar to the top five. Anyway, this was a tough track for us, and I think the upcoming races will be better.”

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