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FRANCIS DOWN BUT NOT OUT AS KNOCKHILL CURSE LIVES ON

Joe Francis and the Movuno.com Halsall Racing team have vowed to come back stronger after a tough weekend as the Dickies British Supersport Championship headed north of the border to Knockhill.

The 19-year-old from Chester headed to the Scottish track still riding high from a good weekend in the World Supersport series at Donington Park last month, as the British championship resumed following its now traditional TT break.

But the curse of Knockhill – a circuit which has never been kind to the teenager – proved to still be alive and well as he crashed out of both races, ending the weekend with a trip to the medical centre to get checked over.

Francis’ weekend got off to a good start as he ran in the top three in both free practice sessions before qualifying third for Saturday’s opening race. The youngster got a good start, moving up to second place at the first corner before taking the lead moments later.

He was passed by Andrew Irwin at the hairpin and forced down to second, but was ready to fight back and have a crack for the lead when he crashed out seconds later at Clark’s.

He was left a little beaten up but was back on the grid for Sunday’s race, this time starting from the third row in ninth place.

He got a steady getaway but soon found a rhythm he was happy with, and began moving up through the pack. With three laps to go he was in fourth position and closing in on third, when he crashed out again, this time at Hislop’s.

“I’m gutted,” he admitted. “I’m sore and fed up but at the same time I’m actually happy with my lap times because they were really good. We’ve been running well all weekend, and to crash twice and score no points is just a bit devastating really, for me and the team.

“The lads have worked hard all weekend and the bike has been perfect, but I think Knockhill is just unlucky for me.
“In 2013 I ended up in the gravel, in 2014 I had a big crash in practice, in 2015 my shock collapsed, last year I was taken out in qualifying and this year this happened. It’s just one of those things and we’ve just got to move on and come back stronger next time.”

Team owner Martin Halsall believes team and rider can bounce back, and says with most of the season still to run there is plenty of time for Francis to make amends.
“It hasn’t been the best of weekends for us, but you’ve got to get your bad rounds out of the way and I think we have done that, and now we can come out fighting at Snetterton in a fortnight,” he said.

“We tested there a few weeks ago and he was running P1 and then had a little off but was then straight back up there again, so he’s certainly happier and much more consistent with the bike now.

“Knockhill just isn’t his track, but he’s in good company as there have been a lot of riders crashing out this weekend, so we just have to take the positives and move on from here.
“This was only the fourth round and there’s a long way to go, so let’s just put this one behind us and look to the rest of the season.”

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Team News
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  • 19-06-17
    FRANCIS DOWN BUT NOT OUT AS KNOCKHILL CURSE LIVES ON Joe Francis and the Movuno.com Halsall Racing team have vowed to come back stronger after a tough weekend as the Dickies British Supersport Championship headed north of the border to Knockhill.
    Click here to read more...

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