Bradley Ray made Donington a dream start to the season, taking his Buildbase Suzuki to a second race win, making for a full 50 points towards the championship lead, ahead of Haslam and Linfoot in race 2, and Bryne and Linfoot in the overall standings.
The Kent ace got off to a flying start in the drying conditions, leading the race from start to finish, despite initial pressure from Dan Linfoot and defending champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne. Danny Buchan meanwhile was moving up the order on the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki and he was soon piling on the pressure on the Be Wiser Ducati rider.
Haslam was determined to make amends for missing out on the podium yesterday and he made his move on Linfoot on the eighth lap, powering ahead and defending hard before edging out an advantage to bridge the gap to the chasing pack and trying to close down Ray.
“Yesterday’s win took a while to sink in to be honest, so to get another today is just unreal. The team have worked so hard over winter to improve the bike further, and we’ve really got a package we can use to fight for wins. After last season, the aim this year was to get closer to the front and try and consistently fight for the podium and hopefully some wins, so for not one but two to come right away is unbelievable. I felt like I could lead yesterday, and I wanted to be at the front. Shakey and Ellison closed up on the final lap, but we kept it together. Today, I just wanted to lead again, get through the damp areas first, get into a rhythm and try and pull a gap. The pace picked up as the laps went by, but I felt comfortable, could manage the gap; and could pick up another win. I must say ‘thank you’ to the team; the bike worked brilliantly. We’re not getting carried away but we’re going to Brands Hatch feeling confident.”
The ‘Pocket Rocket’ had to settle for second, but it was a positive end to his home race weekend for the JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider.
Meanwhile over the 18-lap race Yorkshireman Linfoot kept his CBR in podium contention and settled into a good rhythm at the Leicestershire circuit pulling away from the pack. Dropping to third mid-race, the 29-year old kept the podium clear in his sights and crossed the line 8.228 seconds ahead of fourth place.
Dan Linfoot – P3
“That was just what we needed in terms of points and a solid start to the year, where I have not crashed, not put the team back and haven’t dented my confidence. I’m really happy now going into round two with a fourth and a third behind us, as well as a decent championship position – with a bit of confidence back too. I’m feeling really good in myself and also with the Fireblade, we’re in a good place. The conditions out there were a little sketchy, I made a brave move on the first lap off the start, and to be honest I thought I was going down as I’d over-cooked it. Thankfully I managed to get stopped and when I looked up I saw Brad and thought, ‘lets do this!’ It took me a few laps to see where the grip was and wasn’t, and I got settled into a good rhythm. Halfway through I started to drop off a little and Haslam passed me, but all I wanted to do was focus on making sure I was on the podium, so I concentrated on that for the end of the race. A huge thanks to the team for all their hard work, it’s onwards and upwards now and I’m looking forward to getting to Brands Hatch and seeing what we can do there.”
Buchan continued his charge and despite an attack from Byrne on the final lap, he held fourth position.
Shane Byrne – P5
“It was quite a difficult day today with the weather, but it was great to end up with a dry race. I wanted to go one better than what I did yesterday, but I also had it in my head that the last two rookies to win, went on to do a double although I was mindful of not thinking about that too much! As it turned out, that’s what happened so massive congratulations to Brad, his commitment in the damp conditions on the opening laps was something else. I made a few mistakes during the race and as soon as you were off line, it was very tricky. You can’t win the championship at the first round, but you can lose it and to end the weekend second overall with some good points isn’t a bad place to be in.”
Christian Iddon moving up the order in the closing stages to finish sixth after an epic battle with Glenn Irwin, Luke Mossey, Jason O’Halloran and Michael Laverty.
It was a slightly frustrating race for O’Halloran who struggled with feeling aboard his Fireblade. Crossing the line ninth The O’Show collected further valuable points and leaves the opening round eighth in the championship.
Jason O’Halloran – P9
“After the race I’m a little disappointed with ninth place if I’m honest. I struggled a little within the group and getting out of corners, which was frustrating but I know we can learn from it and move on. We have a bit of a way to come when we’re faced with dodgy conditions and we do have some work to do to get a better feeling with the CBR; in the dry we showed we do have good pace and hopefully the next few weeks the weather will start to dry up! The track and conditions were good in the end, I didn’t think this morning I would be saying that, but it turned out OK. There were a few wet patches around the circuit and it was hard to pass at times as it was still a single line, but towards the end it was good. Huge congratulations to Dan on his podium, it’s great for him and the team, and really kicks off the season well – I know it won’t be long until we’re challenging for podiums.”
James Ellison and the Anvil Hire TAG Racing team endured highs and lows at the opening round, picking up third place in Race 1, and unfortunately crashing out in Race 2.
“I’m just purely frustrated, before race two the game plan was to get away on the clean line from the start. I knew I had good pace and I was strong out of the Melbourne Hairpin but as I accelerated out I must have ran slightly wider than normal because I hit a wet patch and I had a massive high side. I’m disappointed for the team, it’s been a good start to the season and I’ve got to forget the crash. The package is further on than what most people thought it would be, so I’m taking the positives out of this weekend and moving on from it.”
The championship now looks ahead to the second round of the season at Brands Hatch in just under two weeks’ time with Ray and Byrne locking out the top two positions in the standings ahead of their home round.
Bennetts British Superbike Championship, Donington Park, Race 2
Bradley Ray (Buildbase Suzuki)
Leon Haslam (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +3.450s
Dan Linfoot (Honda Racing) +11.444s
Danny Buchan (FS-3 Racing Kawasaki) +19.672s
Shane Byrne (Be Wiser Ducati) +19.903s
Christian Iddon (Tyco BMW) +30.176s
Glenn Irwin (Be Wiser Ducati) +30.177s
Luke Mossey (JG Speedfit Kawasaki) +31.108s
Jason O’Halloran (Honda Racing) +31.416s
Michael Laverty (Tyco BMW) +32.125s
…11. Josh Brookes
…18. David Johnson
Bennetts British Superbike Championship standings after Donington Park
Ben Currie (Gearlink Kawasaki) cruised to his second victory of the weekend, winning the second British Supersport race by 24.328s. Grabbing the holeshot, Currie was unchallenged throughout the 16 lap race, while behind him Jack Kennedy had a similar race as he took second place, 21.980s of Tom Oliver in third.
Race 1’s podium man Ross Twyman finished in eighth, behind James Rispoli in fourth, David Allingham, James Westmoreland and Tommy Philp. Tim Neave secured ninth place whilst Bradley Perie completed the top ten.
British Supersport Championship Race 2, Donington Park
Ben Currie (Gearlink Kawasaki)
Jack Kennedy (Integro Yamaha) +24.328s
Tom Oliver (SGR Racing Yamaha) +46.308s
James Rispoli (Everquip Racing Yamaha) +49.350s
David Allingham (EHA Racing Yamaha) +50.419s
James Westmoreland (Gearlink Kawasaki) +1:01.437s
British Supersport Championship Standings after Donington Park
Ben Currie (Gearlink Kawasaki) 50
Jack Kennedy (Integro Yamaha) 40
Tom Oliver (SGR Racing Yamaha) 29
Ross Twyman (EHA Racing Yamaha) 24
James Westmoreland (Gearlink Kawasaki) 21
David Allingham (EHA Racing Yamaha) 20
Superstock 1000 Race 3
Easter Monday’s Superstock Race 3 looked like it would be cancelled after heavy rain threatened the programme but it duly took place albeit in damp conditions.
Aussie Billy McConnell wasn’t able to repeat his Superstock Race 1 and 2 results, where he took the top position on the podium, however he did come home in a safe fifth position in tricky conditions, ensuring he retained his championship lead heading towards Round 2.
Race three winner was Andy Reid, who held a sizeable gap on second placed Joe Collier, with Keith Farmer in third a similar distance behind. Michael Rutter narrowly missed the podium in fourth, just ahead of McConnell.
Sam Clarke battled back from his crash the previous day and despite having no front brake, he managed to finish in 15th to claim what was certainly a hard earnt point, bringing his total to two championship points.
“It’s been a tough weekend and a tough opening round for sure as the bike proved very difficult to ride in the conditions and qualifying especially was horrible. I managed to get into the points in the first race and had fought my way up to ninth in the second before having a big high-side at Goddards which left me feeling very sore. I got back out for Monday’s race but, unfortunately, I had no front brake for the entire race which made it very hard indeed so I’m not quite sure how I managed to get in the points again! I’m glad the first round is out of the way and I’ve got some points on the board but I know we’ve got plenty more up our sleeve so am looking forward to Brands next time out.”
Superstock 1000 Race 3
Andy REID EHA Racing 22:36.268
Joe COLLIER EHA Racing 2.408
Keith FARMER Tyco BMW Motorrad 4.849
Michael RUTTER Bathams Racing 5.166
Billy McCONNELL Buildbase Suzuki 5.498
Josh ELLIOTT Morello Racing Kawasaki 11.298
Chrissy ROUSE Team IMR 22.734
Fraser ROGERS Mission Racing 27.397
Jordan GILBERT Team IMR 32.518
Dan KNEEN Tyco BMW Motorrad 32.961
…15 Sam CLARKE Morello Racing Kawasaki 56.456
British Superstock 1000 Championship Positions after Donington
Billy McConnell (Suzuki) 41pts
Keith Farmer (BMW) 37
Joe Collier (Aprilia) 31
Josh Elliott (Morello Racing Kawasaki) 29
Andrew Reid (Aprilia) 25
Michael Rutter (BMW) 20
…18 Sam Clarke (Morello Racing Kawasaki) 2
Ducati TriOptions Cup Race 2
Mark Cheetham (Highsparks Motorsport) made the most of his skills in wet conditions to take a decisive victory in the Race 2 at Doningotn Park today. Cheetham’s teammate Lewis Rollo managed to lead from pole before Cheetham, who had started 6th on the grid, made a pass on the race leader at the end of Lap 3.
The two riders started to gap the field and when Dijon Compton crashed out on the following lap, Phil Atkinson was promoted to a podium position with a potential Highsparks Motorsport podium lockout. But disaster struck on Lap 6 when Rollo crashed out from 2nd place at Foggy Esses.
Cheetham passed the chequered flag with a dominant 11 second lead ahead of his teammate Atkinson and Josh Wainwright (Boast Plumbing).
Mark Cheetham leaves Donington leading the championship with 34 points. Josh Wainwright sits 2nd with 29 points with Phil Atkinson a single point behind in 3rd place.
“I don’t know what it is about the feel that I get in the wet. Obviously, good setup from the amazing Highsparks team. I come from a dirt bike background and I’ve just got a good feel for it I think. Just got to be smooth, keep the corner speed up and just don’t snatch at the brakes or the throttle, just keep it rolling. Shit, I don’t want to give all my tips away here, what am I doing? Also, today parts of the racing line were like ice, so I was just moving off the racing line. Especially down into the Melbourne loop, I think there was something on the track because it was so greasy. So, I just went completely, totally on the other side of the track as if I was block passing somebody. People must think what’s he doing? But I was just trying to make sure I was staying on two wheels.”
Levi Day had an up and down weekend, opening the weekend with the Race 1 win, while the wet weather saw a much more challenging Race 2, as he struggled to gain confidence in his machine, finishing 15th. This leaves Levi fourth overall in the standings with 26 points.
“Today’s race didn’t go to plan and I wobbled around, but we learnt a lot this weekend about the bike in the wet. We have a good feel in certain conditions and no feeling whatsoever in others. The weekend as a whole has been great and a really positive start to the year! My first race win in Race 1 is a huge confidence boost to start the season off right. My team as always work so hard for me and I wouldn’t be anywhere without them.”
Ducati TriOptions Cup, Donington – Race 2 Results
Mark CHEETHAM Highsparks Motorsport 14:42.174
Phil ATKINSON Highsparks Motorsport 11.121
Josh WAINWRIGHT Boast Plumbing 11.729
Joe MORPHETT ASJ Racing 22.994
Michael TUSTIN TeamMTR Ducati Oxford 24.736
Daniel SHAW FML Motorsport 28.743
Sam COVENTRY AOR / YESSS Electrical Racing 29.200
Jon WAGHORN JW Smart Services Ltd / Laguna Motorcycle 29.650
Sean NEARY Zoek Racing Team 32.398
Dave MACKAY True Heroes Racing / Laguna 35.797
…15. Levi Day Boast Plumbing 44.156
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