Donington Park race report
Talan Skeels-Piggins #83
After a successful trip to Le Mans, it was back to British soil and Donington Park. Work prevented me from attending Saturday, so I brought two bikes and entered the Thunderbike Sport along with the MRO600.
ThSp - it was the first outing on ‘Boris’, a bright yellow 1998 CBR600F, which is replacing Doris as the dry bike. With a better exhaust system, Boris has a few more bhp, and therefore a better choice for the dry weather. Sunday warm up meant I managed three laps on the bike to ensure the basic controls were in the correct place, and we were able to begin to bed the new brake pads in as well. I planned to be careful and potter around at the back for the first race, which lasted as long as it took for the lights to go out! I managed to enjoy a race (without heavy braking) but suffered from false neutrals due to the wrong position of the gear shifter. The second race of the day on the bike was a really good one, with the shifter sorted and brakes bedded in I was able to push harder all around the track and managed to get myself from 37th up to 17th overall and dropped down to a 1.21 lap.
MRO600 - The nimble GSXR allowed me to carry great corner speed around the flowing track and I improved on my previous best lap time by over three seconds. Each of the two races saw me battling with a ZX6R (different ones in each race), with some laps seeing us pass and re-pass each other up to five times. All the issues from La Mans had been cleared up and the bike performed very well, giving me the confidence to keep pushing harder. However, the memory of breaking my sternum/pelvis/foot at the Craner Curves in 2016 made me use a little bit of caution when rolling over onto the left hand side of the tyre at the part of the track.
Andy Houghton #333
This was to be Andy’s 3rd race meeting of the year it looked like it could have turned in to another wet one but after a damp practice session on Saturday, the rest of the meeting was dry for all classes.
Qualifying saw Andy able to finally test the new Bridgestone VO2 slicks (the previous rounds were too cold or wet to run them) moving away from the Pirellis that had served him well for the past couple of seasons. The tyres worked a treat as Andy built up speed lap by lap and finish on a time of 1.17.747 which put him 31st out of the 45 bikes in the session. The BMCRC Powerbike grid is a daunting place to be, it seems that there is no such thing as a slow rider in this class and as Andy lined up for race 1 of the weekend in his mandatory slot at the very back of the grid (for the safety of his launch crew) it was clear that the task of picking any riders off from the tail end of the pack would not be easy because in these perfect conditions the pace was going to be fast. The lights went out and Andy had a great start and was immediately in a tight fought battle in a group of 5 riders. Through the first half of the race Andy made up another 2 places after his useful start but was starting to get tired and the hard work of the first half was undone with a couple of lapses in concentration allowing those same two bikes through in the closing laps. Race 2 was a similar story with a great start but not being able to finish the race as strongly. In preparation for Race 3 Andy made some changes to the ZX-10R, the soft Bridgestone on the rear was dropped to 24 PSI and the rear shock softened by a click. The result was a far more manageable bike, more forgiving and more grip. Another great start and Andy lept from the back of the grid and 21st in class up to 15th, by the end of the 1st lap he was in 14th and working hard to get past the KTM in front. In a move on lap 4 Andy dived up the inside on the brakes into the final chicane before the start straight. 13th! And enough time left in the race to close down on 12th! Andy took 3 laps to close up on to the back wheel of the next rider and then in a carbon copy of the last overtake Andy was into 12th. This time Andy was determined not to slack off at the end of the race and kept full on the gas for the last 3 laps securing the 12th position. A fantastic, exciting fun race that put a massive smile on Andy and the whole Talan Racing Team’s faces --- Now that’s what racing is all about!!!!
The next races will be Brands Hatch GP over 6-8 July. We always welcome a visit from you. Many thanks goes out to all the support crew and sponsors. FWR Ltd BDS Racing Held Rider Equipment Motul