Donington Park - Round 1, 2015
Donington Park - Round 1, 2015
I’ve been in England just on two weeks, after some major visa issues for the last couple of months which meant we weren’t sure if I was going to get over here to race this season. Thankfully it has all worked out now. I was fortunate to get a lot of riding on my Suzuki GSXR 600 in while back in Australia for a few months, which I feel has helped to come over here and be comfortable on the CPE Motosport Kawasaki straight away. Although they are different bikes, just staying bike fit is a huge positive.
This season we have moved up to the Supersport Evo Championship. This is run in with the main British Supersport championship, but we collect points separately, as well as main championship points if we are in the top 15 in the main Supersport class too. With the ever rising costs of running a competitive Supersport bike, the Evo class is being phased in as a cost effective Supersport class, with less engine specs available. There are 23 Supersport Evo bikes entered in the championship along with 12 Supersport bikes. We get two races each weekend, with a sprint race and a feature race.
With me getting over to England so late, our first time out on the bike was last Tuesday at Brands Hatch, which was a test to ensure the bike was all running as it should. We were then straight on to Donington Park over the Easter holiday weekend for the first of twelve British Championship rounds.
We had two practice sessions on Saturday, the first day at Donington Park. It was slightly damp for our first session, but I seemed to settle back in ok. It dried up completely for our second practice session and we were able to push the pace a little more to see what the bike really felt like. We didn’t seem to be a million miles away, and we posted the 4th fastest Evo time. I felt comfortable on the bike, and the bike was feeling really good. I was pleased that we were able to find a reasonable set up with little time.
Sunday was a big day, with Qualifying and a 10 lap sprint race. I was doing consistent times in qualifying but wasn’t dropping my times like I’d wanted to. I pushed hard managed to string a great lap together to go 1.2 seconds faster than any other lap I’d done, to post the 3rd fastest Evo time. I was really happy to be running great times and be at the sharp end of the Evo class with little bike time under our belts. In the 10 lap spring race, there was a crash mid-way though the race, which meant the red flag was bought out and it was restarted at a shortened 6 lap race. I was reasonably happy with the way I rode, although I lost the front Evo bikes earlier than what I wanted. I came away with 4th in our first Supersport Evo race, so I was stoked with that result. The way the grid is determined for the feature race the next day, is they take each riders fastest time, and grid you off that, not off your finishing position. So although I got 4th Evo, I had only posted the 11th fastest time, and with the other Supersports included, I was down in 21st position!
I knew the 18 lap feature race on Sunday was going to be tough. There were a load of fast riders, and with starting so far down the grid, I had to get away with them at the start. I felt that a 5th or 6th place could be possible perhaps, but I knew I’d have the race fitness to still be strong at the end of the race. I got a great start and was up to 15th overall and 6th Evo by the end of lap 1. While the front guys got away, there ended up being a scrap with 6 Evo bikes and Guy Martin on the Smiths Triumph Supersport bike. We had a race long battle for 3rd place on the Evo podium with Bjorn Estment, Josh Day and Sam Coventry. I felt great at the end of the race, and my final two laps were my fastest of the race, and we were able to come out on top in the battle to claim 3rd position in the race
I’m so happy to have started the season off with a 4th and 3rd and my first podium in British Championship. With such little testing before the season, the team and I went in to the first round without any huge expectations, other than giving it 100% and so long as we knew we were improving each time we were out on track, then we were doing everything we could. I can’t thank them enough for giving me a great package over the weekend and I’m so glad I can reward all their hard work with a podium.
A huge thank you to all my sponsors and supporters, my Fiancé and my always supportive parents, all of whom continue to believe in me and back my racing here in the UK. I’m so excited for the next round at Brands Hatch and will continue the hard work and keep on progressing in the Supersport Evo Championship!