Round 4, Donington Park WSBK
It was that time of year again where we join the World Superbike paddock at Donington Park for the 4th round of our season. The whole team were feeling eager to get out there and see what we could do. The first practice session consisted of Matt getting used to and re-setting up his bike after having his bike wrote off by another competitor following the end of the race at Brands the weekend previous. This was quite a challenge as it was basically a new bike. Kurt on the other hand began turning a few heads in the paddock as settled into the weekend in the top 10 before completing the session in P1 and being the only one to enter the 1.34’s. This was a brilliant confidence boost for Kurt and the team.
This weekend we only had one qualifying session therefore it was extended to 45 minutes long. Matt made some big changes to the bike in the attempt to get into a rhythm and settle down as he found himself fighting against it. Kurt continued his pace into the second session of the weekend which put him in pole position early stages. This remained for the majority of the session as mid-way through he stopped in the pits for a new rear tyre before going back out to set an even faster lap time. Unfortunately, Kurt dropped to P2 and immediately started pushing to reclaim the number 1 place. After setting some impressive sector times but struggling to complete the whole lap, Kurt cleared the first sector 0.4 of a second faster than the new leader but then running wide down Craner Curves he crashed out of the session. He was okay but because of having to sit out the final stages of the session he dropped down to P7. Matt also came in to the pit for a new rear once the session was underway as getting the grip wasn’t easy, he was caught in the mid-group battle pulling together a lap time only 1.5 second from pole leaving him to start the race in P27.
Both, Kurt and Matt were feeling eager to get going for the race and both had their own personal goals in their minds. As the lights went out for the start Kurt headed down the outside of the front two rows and tipped in to the first bend in 4th. Matt took an opposite approach going up the inside entering turn 1, after the initial couple of laps Matt fought his way to 13 before the safety car was deployed due to an incident at the Melbourne Loop. At this point Kurt had sustained a series of near misses with losing the rear exiting 3 of the right hand turns each time setting him back before he settled into 8th. The pace car left the circuit on lap 3 and after settling down Kurt began taking back the positions he initially lost. The race finally came together for the number 66 machine of Kurt as he crossed the finish line in 3rd place taking his first podium at British Superbikes. Matt sustained mechanical difficulties with his clutch slipping which progressively got worse throughout the race. Despite this Matt managed to bring it home in P15 taking the final point of the round.
The weekend has been a brilliant achievement for the team and is a huge leap in the right direction. We aim to continue this development and consistently challenge for a podium finish.