Benelli Make History at Laguna

Glenn le santo
by Glenn le santo
Peter Goddard took the Benelli Tornado Superbike to a fifteenth place finish at Laguna Seca Raceway in the USA today to score the team's first championship point.

Andrea Merloni, the owner of Benelli, was very pleased with the result,"This means we are now in the manufacturer's standings, a great result after only two meetings on a brand new bike. Our aim today was to get our first finish, so getting into the points is very satisfying."

Despite the success he still has his feet firmly planted on the ground, "We know we have a lot of work to do before Brands Hatch as everyone is going to expect us to improve for that meeting."

It almost didn't work out for Goddard, though. He had passed Broc Parkeslate in the race to move into the championship points but then missed a gear losing so much time that Parkes was able to retake the position. "I'd been having trouble with the gearshift for most of the race," said Goddard, "it had a lot of play in the lever and must have cost me five seconds in the race because I kept getting false neutrals." When it looked like the Benelli team would have to wait longer for that all-important first championship points finish, Giovanni Bussei made a mistake in the last turn of the final lap and crashed out. Goddard managed to avoid Bussei's fallen machine to cross the line in fifteenth and score one championship point. "Now we have our first point, one of many more to come I hope."

Team Manager Max Zani joined in the celebrations but was overcome by the achievement, "I am speechless," he said shortly after the race. "We'll have a big party tonight!"

Now the team have to pack the two Tornado Superbikes and all the equipment away and head home to the team's San Marino headquarters to prepare for the next challenge at Brands Hatch on July 29th.

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