A difficult weekend for Aaron Clifford, competing in the opening rounds of the Masters Supersport Championship on March 25th & 26th, saw the County Meath teenager salvage two podium positions from his three races.
Having never climbed on to a Masters Supersport podium before this weekend, it is a measure of Aaron Cliffords’ ambition and how much progress he has made over the last year that he left Mondello Park with mixed feelings, despite picking up two third placed finishes.
Riding the Kingsbury Packaging Kawasaki ZX6 for the first time this year, Clifford started off brilliantly with third best qualifying time, less than two tenths of a second off pole position. Race one started well too, as the Duleek rider led a Masters race for the first time, only for his chances of a maiden victory to disappear due to brake problems at half distance. As he struggled to stop his machine for the remaining laps he dropped to third, which was still good enough to give him his first Masters outright podium.
At the start of race two the reigning Masters Cup champion was again challenging at the head of the field but got caught out by one of his rivals falling right in front of him and with nowhere to go he too crashed. Having been out of the race when the red flag flew, Clifford was excluded from taking the restart and had to sit Round two out.
Back on the grid for Round three, but starting ninth, Aaron looked to have his work cut out but an excellent start saw him cut straight through the field to run third by the end of lap one. Unfortunately the leaders had already built a gap and despite setting his fastest lap of the weekend Clifford was unable to close the gap and had to settle for third once again.
Speaking following his mixed weekend Aaron said “I’m both happy and disappointed. I know I had the speed to win here today but having had brake issues and a fall, I’m happy to have rescued my first ever Masters Championship podiums. I have to thank all my backers who helped me this weekend, especially Gerald Kingsbury who provided me with the bike. We’ll move on from here and look forward to our next event which is next weekend at the BSB season opener at Donington Park.”
Aaron Clifford returns to competition next weekend in the opening round of the British National Superstock 600 championship, the first event of his first full season racing at British Superbike Championship events.