BSB | Donnington Park
Below is the real time update, SCROLL DOWN FOR BRADS RACE REPORT
9am on Friday morning saw 55 superstock 600 bikes roll onto Doningtons race track for a 25 minute practice session. The track conditions were quite greasy which meant that lap times weren’t quite as fast as expected, but Brad continued to improve as the session went on. Finishing the session in 2nd place, Brad was on cloud 9! A few hours went by, and Brad was back out on track for Qualifying 1 at 13.25pm. Cloudy skies made for consistent track conditions and Brad set a provisional 3rd place start ahead of Qualifying 2 tomorrow.
Fred Clarke popped into the tent this morning, congratulating Brad on a mega day today and got some information from Brad and the team. He was surprised to hear that he’s a privateer and has a bike that’s almost 5 years old! He wished us luck and it must have worked! Out at 12.20pm for Qualifying 2, Brad was confident that he could do well, and hoped to end the session in the top 10. Battling against the time he lit up the timing screens, no lower than 4th throughout the whole session. Finishing 3rd, Brad starts the race tomorrow on the front row at his maiden race in this class.
Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship qualifying
"Mason Law, with a lap in 1m 33.767s, comfortably powered his NMT No Limits Kawasaki, onto pole start for the opening round, running half a second faster than Benjamin Currie on the PacedayZ Trackdays Yamaha with Brad Jones completing the front row on his Kawasaki. Tom Ward, Malachi Mitchell-Thomas and Andrew Irwin completed the top half dozen on the leaderboard.”
With so much support at Brad’s first meeting, there was no shock when he was shouted out on the radio numerous times by riders, the commentators and fans. He’s clearly building a great fan base and is already well respected within the BSB paddock! We are extremely excited for tomorrow and more so, the rest of the season!
Day 3 saw warm up at 9.15am and sprits were high at camp. Brad went out and ended up 13th with a time of 1.36.604 in comparison to his 1.35.453 in Q2 yesterday. Upon returning to base, Brad said he didn’t run in any clear air which was the reason behind the 1.2 second difference. Nerves were kicking in – for both Brad and his fans watching, as he lined up on the front row at 12.35pm for his maiden race. Launching off the line well
and being held by the safety car saw Brad drop to 4th and he had a close battle with Twyman as he closed in from 5th, briefly swapping places, Brad regained 4th and crossed the line 1.220 seconds ahead. Finishing just off the podium was an amazing achievement, and we look forward to Brands Hatch Indy in less than 2 weeks time.
Easter Weekend, British Superbikes Round 1 at Donington. After a winter full of preparation we were ready to go. The weather was set to be improving throughout the weekend making Monday the hottest day of the year.
Saturday: Free Practice, after some rain on Friday the track was still damp in a few places and it was a bit chilly. For free practice I just wanted to find my feet and get my head up to speed. The pit lane opened and I headed out to do some laps and just get a feel for everything, I did 5 steady laps and then came into the pitlane to have a look at the timing screens to see how much people were pushing. After a brief look at the timing screens I knew I could push on a bit more. After one out lap one of the front runners came past me, I thought I would just follow him for a few laps. I definitely learnt some lines from him and I went much quicker, quick enough to put me 2nd overall in Free Practice. The session ended I went back to the awning to analyse my riding and see if we could change anything on the bike. We came to the conclusion to leave the bike where it was as the conditions for Qualifying 1 would be much different. After this session that left me feeling positive and confident.
Qualifying 1, new tyres and much better track conditions. Before this session my best lap time around Donington was 1:36:098. Within 3 laps I broke straight into in the 1:35’s so immediately I was feeling very comfortable with the bike. On lap 6 I put in a banker to put me 3rd but the rear end was sliding to much round hollywood and down to craner so this was something I wanted change for Qualifying 2. After that lap I came and looked at the timing screens to see I was 3rd which was very overwhelming. After exiting the pits I did 1 slower lap as I had traffic to get through then on lap 10 I did 1:35:453 which put me pole for a few minutes, then I went back to 2nd. After putting in this time I came across lots of traffic and started making a few mistakes as I was trying to get through some traffic and get a clear lap. As the session finished I was provisionally 3rd for the race. This was unexpected and I couldn't quite believe it but it gave me more confidence for Qualifying 2. After a debrief we decided to make a few changes to the rear end to make the slides I was having more controllable, we did this by giving me less grip meaning I could control the slides with the throttle. Its quite hard to get your head around at first but it definitely works.
Brads race report
Sunday: Qualifying 2, with some new changes and more new tyres I wanted to break in to the 1:34s. Straight away I had lots of traffic and no clear laps. I was getting frustrated so on lap 4 I came the pits to get away from a big group of riders. As I went back out of pit lane a few more riders came past, I picked my way through them after two laps then I had some clear track. Lap 6 I set my fastest lap time of the session with a 1:34.773 and on that lap I could really feel the benefits of the changes we had made. Again I came upon a bit more traffic and I wasted 3 laps getting through them all, but this is expected with 55 riders on track. After lap 6 I went no faster but this was enough to put me 3rd on the grid and front row for the race, I was over the moon. We decided to make no changes to the bike after this session as everything was working well.
Monday: Warm up, the sun was shining but at 9:00 when my warm up started it was still chilly so I went out and done a few steady laps as I didn't want to crash it and then be on the back foot for the race.
The race. I was nervous but that’s normal for me, it was very weird to be sat on the front row and look behind and see so many riders and teams. As the lights came on my nerves disappeared, I made a good start just like the two riders next to me. I held 3rd in to turn 1 and all the way down to turn 4 when one nipped underneath me. I held 4th all the way down to foggys and then I lined 3rd up into Melbourne loop and I ended coming out of the loop in 2nd but they soon nipped past me just before the safety car came out. We followed the safety car for a few laps whilst the marshalls sorted out a few incidents. As the cars lights went out and it pulled into pit lane I missed the
jump and the three in front gained about 1 second gap on me, this annoyed me and fired me up and on that lap I did my fastest lap of the race and weekend with a 1:34.5. As the race progressed the front three pulled a comfy gap which I was trying to bridge. On lap 8 one rider came past but after following him for a lap I got him back on the brakes into foggys chicane. From this point on I found a very good rhythm and was hitting every braking marker and apex till the end of the race. By doing this I pulled a 1.2 second gap from 5th place and crossed the line in 4th. I was so pleased with this result as it makes all the hard work and effort that my Mum and Dad, sponsors and myself put in worth while.
Overall Round 1 went extremely well and coming away with a 4th is great. Also going 1.5seconds faster than my previous best lap time is very positive and gives more confidence for round 2 at Brands Hatch on the 17th,18th and 19th of April.
I would just like to say a massive thank you to all my sponsors for their support and I hope I can keep repaying them wit h results like this. Roll on Brands Hatch!
Big thank you to Kerry Rawson Photography for all of the photos (unless specificially credited)