RACE REPORT

Bennetts British Superbike Championship Donington Park Leicestershire

Ryde the storm out!

The British Superbike Championship moves to Donington Park again this weekend, this time all the action takes part on the Full International circuit, were as the first round back at the beginning of August was just performed on the shorter National track.

So, after a disappointing weekend at Oulton Park a couple of weeks ago, Kyle is now looking to make amends with hopefully a good performance on his home circuit.  The last time Kyle was here he had a good qualifying round but after a DNF in the first race, he did manage to accumulate his first ever points in the Superbike class with a good fourth & seventh place in this fast pace hard hitting championship. It later proved to be good for his learning curve on this new machine to him and he eventually went on to have some serious podium finishes at Silverstone in later rounds.   There have now been eight different winners in this Blue Riband Class, so there are numerous riders who are looking to win this prestige Title, Kyle is currently in 7th place behind Taz Mackenzie, 53 points behind the series leader Glen Irwin, that’s how close this championship really is.

“We knew that some weekends were going to be tough… but Oulton was very tough! We’ll re-group and roll on at Donington.”

Kyle’s weekend  of racing always starts on a Friday and this one was going to be slightly different to the usual race schedule. As due to the imminent arrival of storm ‘Alex’ coming across from the Atlantic, the Race Director decided to have two free practice sessions instead of the usual one on the Friday.  So; Kyle was out on circuit, around lunchtime still in dry conditions and was settling down well on his relatively new Superbike machine, posting some good laps times on the full International circuit and was feeling quite confident finishing the session in 10th place on the timing board behind Aussie racer Jason O’Halloran.

However ; the afternoon free practice two session, was later in the afternoon and with the wind picking up and storm ‘Alex’ starting to look like it was going to arrive any minute, Kyle was going out on to the circuit for a further 40-minute session.

The rain & wind started to become heavier & stronger, but Kyle settled down and soon got into a good rhythm in these awkward conditions and was slowly creeping up the timing board again. So; by the end of this rather wet session, Kyle was beginning to show good pace and came in a respectable 9th place again behind seasoned rider O’Halloran. A good start to the weekend in these wet conditions considering Kyle has never ridden a Superbike in these conditions before.

“Enjoyed today. P9 in FP2 and happy with how we worked through this wet session! Whatever the weather now I feel ready”

Kyle managed to get out in the earlier re-scheduled morning warm-up session and during this 15-minute slot he went from lingering down in 12th to 14th place to actually finish 5th fastest on the timing board by  the end of it! Which just goes to show how confident Kyle is becoming, with riding this 200+HP motorcycle in the wet!

His Saturday race had been re-set for lunchtime, however; the rain started to fall rather heavy again at this undulating circuit and so the race was postponed for around an hour and half, to give the track time to dry a little.  The riders went out and lined up on the grid only to be delayed again! Eventually they ventured down the pit-lane again and did manage a sighting lap, but once lined up on the grid several riders put their arms up signaling that they weren’t happy to go! So; the race director Stuart Higgs called an end to today’s meeting and has rescheduled a three-race event tomorrow for the Superbike class, as the weather looks at the moment to have a slight improvement on todays.

With storm ‘Alex’ easing over night the Sunday race schedule got off to a good start bright and early. Again, they had a warm up session for the Superbikes & Kyle was 10th quickest behind Lincolnshire rider lee Jackson. So; the first Superbike grid of the day lined up and the grid and Kyle was in a good position on the third row, but in these current conditions it was a guessing game for the tyre choice, as the weather conditions were constantly changing.   Kyle and the team decided to go with an intermediate tyre choice, as opposed to full wets or slicks! However; this gamble didn’t appear to pay in the beginning and Kyle just got mobbed from the off, by around half race distance he was lingering down in mid-pack around 14th.   But eventually the tyre choice started to give Kyle more confidence and he eventually crossed the line in 8th place behind Kennedy and in front of Buchan.    As Kyle’s confidence grew, so did his lap times and he managed to set the second fastest lap of the race to be placed on the front row of the grid for the second race of the day after lunch.

Kyle was determined to monopolize  on this good grid position and wasted no time in taking control of the race at the front of the pack as they all descended down the infamous ‘Craner Curves’ he managed to do this for only two laps and as he came towards ‘Foggy’s Esses’ he just carried straight on down the slip-way and coasted towards the pit-lane on the other side of the track, Kyle’s second race of the day was now over, due to technical problems with the bike.

Kyle’s team worked really hard during the afternoon, in order to install a new engine in time for the final race of the day and Kyle was looking to re-pay their hard work by trying for a good finish in this race, in what again has proved to be quite a traumatic weekend.

The lights went off and as the pack all banked around Redgate corner to head towards ‘Craner Curves’,  Vickers went down! but him and his bike managed to avoid any other riders and the pack from this point started to split up into groups rather than the usual train! Kyle was in one of the back bunches of riders and he never really gained his momentum back, after the disappointing races earlier in the day.

“Unfortunately, it never felt the same Bike in race 3, and this resulted in a bad feeling with the handling. I’ve got one more shot of it at Brands so hopefully I’ll be able to put things right and have some better luck.”

Kyle is now 9th overall in this very tight and hard Championship.

Kyle’s next & final outing of the British Superbike Championship season is on the full ‘International’ circuit of Brands Hatch in Kent on the weekend of 16th to 18th of October.