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Joe Francis races to first podium place of season

But technical problems deny Backford rider maiden victory

Joe Francis (left) on the podium after his third-placed finish at Snetterton(Image: Jon Jessop Photography)

It was a weekend of mixed emotions for Joe Francis as he earned a first podium finish of the season before being denied a maiden win.

Francis, from Backford, suffered disappointment at the previous Dickies British Supersport Championship round at Knockhill where he crashed out in both events.

However, better fortunes were initially to be had at Snetterton at the weekend as the Chester-born Movuno.com Halsall Racing ace powered to third place in Saturday’s sprint race.

But, given the rider who finished second, Alistair Seeley, races the Spirit Moto2 machine and does not score points, Francis took the runners-up points.

The 19-year-old then started in third position in Sunday’s feature race.

He enjoyed a clean getaway and took the holeshot to lead into the first corner.

As his rivals jostled for position behind him, Francis began to pull away at the front and had the best part of a second lead as the pack headed into the fourth lap.

Joe Francis leads Alistair Seeley on his way to a podium finish on Saturday(Image: Jon Jessop Photography)

But disaster struck moments later when his Yamaha R6 suffered technical problems, forcing him into retirement.

“I’m gutted we missed out, the team has worked so hard and they have given me a fantastic bike which would’ve won, but things like this can’t be helped,” said Francis.

“But I’ve got to be happy with Saturday’s result. Getting my first podium of the year was brilliant, especially after the tough time we had at Knockhill, and we’ve never been out of the top three all week.

“I got a great start and led from the start and the bike felt great until the problem struck. We would’ve won and I know that first win of the year is now just around the corner, and I’m excited about the rest of the season.”

Team owner Martin Halsall said: “These things happen and while it’s not the result we wanted, we need to look at the positives here. Joe was way out ahead and looking good there and we now know we have the pace to run at the front.

“He did a great job in the first race getting second place, and I’m certain that this is just the start of things to come. As I have said before, you have to get your bad luck out the way and hopefully this is it for us.”

Next up for Francis is Brands Hatch in a fortnight’s time.

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