Saturday 28th brought the first 8 hour endurance race hosted in the UK at our local circuit Donington Park. We teamed up with 2 fellow riders with one being Phil Paxton, a Sorrymate.com employee looking to complete his time on the racing scene with a show.
From the word go the race was declared wet following a downpour through the night, this meant that we had a 1 hour open pit lane qualifying session to secure a strong position for the Le Mans style start. The race was divided by 600 and 100cc classes with all on track simultaneously. We qualified P1 for the 600 class 5th overall.
Kurt was voted to do the first stint so as Matt held his bike, Kurt took position on the opposite side of the start finish straight ready for the sprint over to the Sorrymate.com R6. As the Union Jack flag was dropped, the 33 riders made the charge for their bikes. Kurt had a strong start entering the first corner in 4thbefore spending the first half of his stint battling with two 1000cc machines. It became quite an entertaining element to watch due to his lack of straight line speed. The team tactic was to pit just before the bike ran out of fuel, therefore, as the fuel light came on Kurt completed his final three laps before heading into pit lane for a bike and rider swap. This bought the first stint of 43 minutes to a close, currently placing us in P1 overall for both classes.
Matt soon took over and started pushing his way forwards through the traffic on circuit. Due to the difference in rider experience on track, it was vital to maintain maximum concentration and anticipate the outcomes of overtaking manoeuvres. By the time Matt commenced his stint, the team had fallen a lap down but managed to complete his stint with consistent times and unwind the lap lost. This was potentially with the aid of remaining on circuit for the extra few laps, resulting in him running out of fuel and having to roll down pit lane for the next rider to take over.
Following the first hour and a half of predictable weather, conditions swiftly changed and the rain returned, creating somewhat of an unpredictable event. At one point in the race it seemed as though each time a rider was sent out, the opposing weather condition to suit their tyres prevailed. This left Kurt out on track for over half an hour with full wet tyres on dry tarmac. On his return to the pits with a rear tyre that was once a brand new wet, that now looked more like a slick, he swapped over with Matt who left pit lane on dry tyres minutes before it began to rain again. He was forced to complete a short stint, once again on the wrong tyres, as every few minutes the rain started and stopped.
Throughout the entire closing stages of the race, decisions relating to the weather were hit and miss but we managed to push through crossing the finish line on the 8th hour in P1 for the National 600cc Class and 4th overall in the National 1000cc Class. We completed 263 laps during the course of the race and thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
We’d like to say an extra special thank you to Sorrymate.com for entering in to the race, along with our team members for working hard through a demanding race of such a length.