CHRISSY Rouse  has hailed the Crowe Performance team’s ‘Herculean effort’ which helped him power to two second places in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship races at Silverstone after a dramatic engine switch on Sunday morning.

The maths teacher from Burnopfield near Newcastle remains in strong contention for the championship – just six points off the leader – after narrowly missing out on two wins at the Northants track.

After topping the timesheets in Friday’s free practice aboard his Crowe Performance Racing BMW, Rouse qualified third for Saturday’s race and got a good start, quickly finding himself in the mix with both Tom and Tim Neave in the battle for victory, which was eventually won by Tom on the Honda as Rouse followed him home in second place, five seconds ahead of the third-placed rider.

But disaster looked to strike in Sunday morning’s warm up when his BMW S1000RR suffered a serious mechanical problem, forcing Phil Crowe and the team into a last-minute engine switch as the clock ticked by and the countdown to the race began.

However, the fast and precise work of the crew meant Rouse’s bike was ready to go in time for the second race, and once again the Geordie was straight on the pace. With a quick getaway from the second row, he was up to third by lap two and soon hit the front before a battle ensued with the other Neave twin, Tim, on the Suzuki.

It soon became a two-rider race and unbeknown to anyone but Rouse, he was starting to suffer a small oil leak. However, he rode around it and after a race-long battle with Tim, he was right on his tail as the pair crossed the line, ending the race second by a mere 0.062secs.

While it may not have been the win he’d been looking for, Rouse admits it felt as good as considering the work the team had to do just to get him on the grid.

“I got what I consider to be a really safe second in the first race, I didn’t really have an answer to Tom on the Honda so it was almost an emotionless second – it was what it was,” he explained.

“But in that second race, the emotions were all over the place! We’d had this serious mechanical issue in warm up and had just a few hours to swap engines and the team was just incredible.

“I really have to thank everyone in the team for the Herculean effort, led by Phil, the lads – Piggy, Andrew Lund, Alan Towell and Gabriel – were just amazing and that second place was a real team result.

“The drama wasn’t over though, because in the race I had an oil leak. I wasn’t sure what it was or how severe but because we were in such a strong position I just took the decision to ride through it as best as I could. The crucial thing was to beat Tom and the Honda and we did that.

“It genuinely felt like a win after everything we’d been through, I was over the moon. I honestly can’t big up the team enough for everything they did. It was amazing and we’ve come away just six points off the championship lead which is brilliant.

“I’d also like to thank Alan Carter who’s been a great help this weekend, he’s really helped me in general and his calming influence is keeping me calm and a lot more rational on the bike. It would’ve been mega to get the win but with the extra issue of the oil leak, it felt like a win just to finish and the podium was an absolute bonus.”

*Images: Bonnie Lane