Donington Park Round 3 Roundup
Round 3 at Donington was a bit up and down for us, with the results probably not reflecting the progress we know we made over the weekend.
With a win and two second places in the Street Stocks class (arguably our main focus) we lost 1 point in the championship to second place Dave Irons who came away with a third and two wins. Our lead is down to just 7 points now with the next round at Cadwell Park marking the halfway point of the season.
I don’t even want to check exact results from the Open 600 but from memory it was something like an 11th, 13th and 10th. Championship leader Ross Walker however suffered even more than us, coming away with 5 points from the weekend versus our 14, so despite the relatively poor finishes we actually closed the gap on the lead on of the championship from 12 points back to just 3. The top 4 in fact are now covered by only 8 points, with Max Symonds and Owen Hunt finding some serious form after bad starts to the year.
The main positive we’ll take away from Donington though, regardless of points or finishing positions, is that come Sunday afternoon we had started to feel like we’d finally found some proper dry weather pace.
The first meeting at Brands Hatch in March was an amazing experience with 5 wins from 5 starts across both classes but the reality was that they all came in wet, horrible conditions across Saturday and Sunday. The Friday test had been warm and dry and we were not even close to the top 3.
Arriving at Brands we had only covered about 60 racing laps between September 2017 and March 2019 after missing most of last season through injury. The reality is that while you don’t lose your feel for the bike sitting out on the sofa all that time, you do lose some confidence to let the brakes off that bit earlier and run in faster and you most definitely lose that extra little bit of brain power that allows you to compute everything at the speed you need to be able to ride quick.
The wet weather knocks 4 or 5 seconds off your lap time and gives you that bit of extra time to figure things out which is why we ended up with 5 wins at Brands. The congratulations were nice and duly accepted but everyone had overestimated the progress we’d made and I left the circuit on Sunday happy but deep down knowing it would have been a different story had it been dry.
Donington is always a busy meeting and being two weeks before this year’s British Superbike round this one was especially so, with 40 riders lining up in the Open 600 both days on a sell-out grid. With 4 national level riders in the field we knew already on Friday that a top 5 finish was going to be an excellent result, and so it proved to be.
All weekend 5th through to 14th was a tight group with as close a field as I’ve seen at NG. My 10th place finish on Sunday was only 1.4 seconds behind 5th place and I lost a place on the last corner where I could have easily have made one up with a little bit better luck with a lapped rider on the second last corner, anyway that’s racing but it was nice to be up there in the second group.
So as I was trying to get around to, the positives from the weekend. Our fastest lap of the meeting came in the last race of the weekend on Sunday afternoon on a rear tyre that was 6 races old by that point, with a 1m14.6. We never go fastest on Sunday afternoon as both me and the tyres are usually spent by that point. But moreover that lap was 0.2 seconds faster than my previous best on our last visit to Donington in 2017. This was the first time I’d gone quicker than before getting injured. I was also feeling more relaxed on the bike finally and feeling an enjoyment and clarity of mind out there that only comes with a bit of confidence.
So overall not the headline grabbing result you might hope for but some steady results championship wise and definite personal development.
It was great to catch up with Simon from our sponsor WSC Performace.co.uk, thanks for coming along and thanks for the support, hopefully some more silverware next time you’re out for the racing. If any of you need any bits for your bikes from brake pads to oil, lever guards, chains and sprockets etc check out www.WSCperformance.co.uk and give Simon a shout he’s a top guy supporting a few riders on the club scene and he’ll sort you out.
Roll on Cadwell Park.
Thanks as always to all of our sponsors;
WSC Performance - www.wscperformance.co.uk
Wincanton Motorsport - www.wmstuning.com
HEL Performance - www.helperformance.com
GetGeared - www.getgeared.co.uk