Round 3 – Donington Park Race Report

Round 3 of the British Superbike championship took us to our local circuit of Donington Park where to begin with we had what seemed like the height of our summer shortly followed by true British rain.

For the first practice session, Kurt went out with the aim of getting used to the new bike after a difficult couple of weeks building the Sorrymate.com Racing supersport bike. He had several pit stops during the session in a bid to iron out any issues and despite the change of bike, Kurt managed to secure a P8 finish. Matt also had a fairly strong beginning to the weekend with a P11 finish to the session after also developing the bike setup to move forward with the recent progression over the previous two events.

Both riders made many changes to the setup of the bikes as we looked to improve for FP2, Matt wasn’t best impressed with the outcome as he gave himself more work to do when discovering that the changes he made brought new issues to the surface. As a result of this, Matt continued to visit the pits in order to make further changes in a better direction. On the final lap of the session, Matt pulled together his fastest of the session securing a P13. Kurt on the other hand had an excellent session as he battled it out for the top 5 before landing a lap time mid-session that saw him jump to P3. As the session came to an end, Kurt crossed the line for the final time to secure P5 putting the team in high spirits for the rest of the weekend.

Saturday morning brought a very sunny qualifying session as the great weather continued. The beginning part of the session was excellent for Kurt as he made his way up to the top 5 only a stones throw from the front runners, however, after struggling to get some clear space on track for the closing stages and having exhausted any ideas of how to improve the handling of the bike, he was demoted to P9 as he did not manage to improve his qualifying time during the closing stages. This was frustrating for Kurt as he had set high aspirations following the top 5 in FP2. Matt on the other hand had three separate stints on track during the session, each one setting a faster lap time during the latter stages of the stint. Each change he made opened up a new opportunity to go faster as he pushed on to secure his best lap time on the final one of the session putting him in P13.

For the opening race of the event on Saturday afternoon, the rain began to arrive as we lined up to take our grid positions. Kurt didn’t have the best start to the race as he lost a few positions entering turn one, however, Matt successfully managed to take advantage of the sprint from the line edging his way ever closer to Kurt. Both Kurt and Matt said that it was difficult to determine the level of grip from lap to lap as the marshalls had flags out to show which section of the track was raining but there was no time to take it steady despite being on dry tyres. As the race progresses, Kurt had a very lonely second half with a three second gap either side of him whilst Matt was in the same boat with his teammate in his line of sight. As the sprint race came to an end, we landed two top 10 finishes with Kurt in P9 and Matt P10.

The build up to race 2 on Sunday proved to be somewhat of a waiting game as nobody knew if it would be dry or wet for the forthcoming race. As the lads took to the grid with wet tyres, it soon became apparent that they would only have an advantage for the opening stages of the feature race as the track was drying rapidly. There were a mix of dry, wet and intermediate tyres throughout the grid which as the lights went out and the all riders fought for the dry line, fallers came rolling in thick and fast. Matt had an excellent start to the race as he rolled the dice on the wet sections of the track gaining him a substantial advantage over Kurt, however as the race progressed, Kurt came to his own with a better ability to ride the bike ‘loose’ as it moved around due to the wrong tyre choice. Despite the incorrect choice, both lads made their best effort to battle it out and collect as many points as they could whilst facing the biggest challenge of rubber that was rapidly tearing up with minimal traction. The final lap saw Kurt cross the line holding a respectable P10 along with Matt who nursed his Sorrymate Racing R6 home in P11. Matt overall had a great weekend with some of his best results and a confidence boost moving onto Brands Hatch. Whilst Kurt was a bit disappointed with the outcome of the races after having such a strong beginning to the weekend in the top 5, he is pleased with the consistency and strong return following his opening round with the new bike due to the 141mph crash a few weeks back at Oulton Park.