Monday, May 3, 2010

Ducati 848 Challenge - Round 1


Sorry for the delay in the update from round one. The weekend didnt go as planned i’m afraid!

The weekend began with taking advantage of a ‘Hottrax’ track day on the Thursday to really give the bike a full shake down before the race on sunday. This was the 1st time we had run the maxton suspension, race gearing and racing pads together, all of which didnt disappoint!

There were a few big crashes in the morning sessions which cut the amount of track time on offer on the brand new international circuit. Things began to settle down in the afternoon so we got our heads down and made the minor adjustments to rearset positions and suspension.

We also had chance to see the opposition, Ducati Coventry were also testing their Buildbase 848′s! Both guys looked fast especially Leon Morris who I managed to tag on a couple of laps!

With the tyres we were on now completing almost 3 trackdays we didnt push the bike too hard in the final sessions, the last thing we needed was to repair a crashed bike 2 days before the 1st round. I’ve added some pictures of the bike below after its new sticker job from Rage Designs in Warrington. I think its going to hold its own in the paddock in terms of looks alone!

Round 1 – Silverstone started with a bit of an anti-climax, after signing on we received the entry list for the series which was a little disappointing, only 10 riders down for the championship! Not the original full grid as anticipated when I registered! Due to the low numbers we were grouped with two other race classes being the Dutch Ducati’s and the sound of thunder, all of which were on the bigger Ducati 998, 1098, and 1198′s among other manufacturer’s of bigger twins.

We decided to go into the 1st session, timed practice (most people would call this qualifying) with a different tack to how we usually do it, no pit board! The reason for this is that I didnt want to go out chasing other people and times in the first session out with everyone. I wanted to understand how I performed on my own, no pressure from other riders or a pit board saying I wasnt as fast as I felt!

I managed to get to the gate, ready for our session 1st, and was let out straight away meaning I was 1st on track. As the track was drying I built my speed lap after lap until I felt I had good rhythm, I could feel the back wheel spinning up on the back straight so I knew I wasnt slow. The chequered flag came out and I came in knowing that the bike felt perfect and wondered how quick we managed to be on our own.

Receiving the time sheets 10 mins later confirmed we were second quickest in the challenge, only second to the Ducati Coventry rider Darren Fry, a little over half a second faster. This didnt worry me as I wasnt pushing the bike 100% and knew I could go a little quicker come the first race! We were also 4th fastest overall, faster than all of the bigger Ducati’s!

The race began with a poor start to be honest! The front wheel rose straight away, and I had to briefly shut the throttle to regain control. The row behind were soon behind me and I managed to place myself in 5th into the 1st corner. We all passed through the next flip flop of corners and approached the sharp right hander leading onto the back straight. I tipped into the corner and just as I began to wind the throttle back open I was T-boned by a rider who had to go deep into the corner. I remember seeing the sky and tarmac but that was about it.

I woke up on the grass, well away from the track side and the race had been already restarted in my absence! I think I was out for about 10 mins, all I remember is not being able to work out where I was on the circuit and I couldnt remember what corner I was at!

A quick ambulance ride to the medical center and a good go on the oxygen mask, I was checked over and after an hour had passed my memory began to return along with a head ache from hell!

Due to the fact I was knocked unconscious I wasnt allowed to start the second race, there are no points thus far in the championship! Still looking at the positives at least I’m ok to race again, the next round is at Assen in the Netherlands as Oulton Park is being rescheduled to another date. Until then, please check out some of the photos from the weekend, taken by British Sport Photography and some from the start line by Karen Whitesmith.

More pictures at:

Thanks for the support,


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