Donnington bsb - 17.09.14

Donington Park is one of my favorite circuits and I was looking forward to my first BSB round. We entered this meeting just see how I would compare to the fast competition and get a good experience. 

So I was all set for Free Practice late Friday morning, this was a 25 minute session. I went out of pit lane about mid-pack and was expecting everyone to take their out lap steady and then do a quick lap on lap 2 but as they soon as we are let of pit lane their off and going for it. This took a bit of getting used to but I soon felt myself going a lot faster than I normally would early on. Free Practice for me was about getting my head up to speed and feeling what the bike was doing. When faster riders came past I was able to pick up a few good lines which I knew would

© Kerry Rawson

help me in qualifying. I ended up 29th which was better than I was expecting for my first session, I really enjoyed the session and felt that I had a good rhythm. So we now sat down after this session and de-briefed and got ready for qualifying 1. 

Qualifying 1, this time I was ready to go for it from the off. After the out lap I felt good and ready to put in a banker lap. With 15 minutes to go I came in for a few tweaks on the suspension and to look at the timing screens, at this point I was 30th and knew I had to up my game. From this point in every time I came past the pit wall I kept my improving my time and position. As the session came to a close I ended 22nd. I was happy with this for my first qualifying but most importantly I felt as if I could rattle off consistent lap times which would be good for the race. After analyzing all of the sector times I could see where I loosing out most which then I could change my lines through that sector and try different things. 

Qualifying 2, I was ready to improve my time and position but I felt confident I could do this too. As I got down to pit lane it started drizzling with rain and it got worse the further I went on my out lap and dampened the track just enough to make it to greasy to not be able improve lap times. After about 10 minutes I came in and waited in pit lane, as did everyone else, after about 8 minutes waiting on the weather to change and it did so I went back out for few extra laps. No one improved their time so that seen me start 22nd for Sunday’s race. 

The Race, I was sat on the grid on the paddock stands and it felt so surreal as I have seen riders sit on the grid and prepare themselves on TV but I have never experienced that myself. So after the warm up it was the race start,I got a got a good jump and made up a few positions on the brakes into turn 1. I got bad drive out of turn 1 as I nearly hit a rider and had to shut off and then near the end of the lap I got run on the grass loosing a few positions, so not a good first lap. At the end of lap 1 the safety car comes out, which I have never experienced, after lap 2 the lights on the car where still on meaning its going round for another lap but it came in so there was a gap in front which frustrated me. I tried to bridge the gap but they where lapping just a little bit quicker than me and I couldn't make up the time, after a few crashes the race settled down and I got into a battle for 16th. When I was ready to make an attack I couldn't as the yellow flags where out meaning I couldn't overtake. Later on that lap I missed my apex by a mile at Mcleans and 16th place gapped me. By the end of the race I pulled him back but not enough to make a move so I had to settle for 17th. This was a good result for my first BSB race and I was happy with this. 

Overall, the weekend was a very good experience and I feel it has brought my riding on so it should help when I go back to Thundersport in two weeks and try and get some more wins. 

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Richard Guy