2019 British Superbikes
Round 11 Donington Park – Sunday Report
The Bennetts British Superbike Championship Showdown continued with Scott Redding dominating the proceedings, claiming wins across both Superbike races at Donington ahead of Josh Brookes and Tommy Bridewell, and taking a 28-point lead into the Brands Hatch finale ahead of Aussie Brookes.
After three previous podiums finishes, Chrissy Rouse and the Morello Racing Kawasaki finally got to stand on the top step of the podium in the Pirelli Superstock 1000 class when they claimed a brilliant win, from Richard Cooper and Jordan Weaving. Aussie Levi Day finished in seventh, with Brayden Elliott 19th.
Jack Kennedy also doubled up on the Supersport wins, fighting off Brad Jones for the win, with Rory Skinner completing the podium. In the Superstock 600 class Ben Luxton claimed top honours, from Storm Stacey and Eunan McGlinchey.
British Superbikes Race 1
At the start of the opening race Brookes had launched off the line to lead the pack into Redgate for the first time ahead of Redding and Christian Iddon, with Bradley Ray and Tommy Bridewell in close contention.
Brookes was heading the pack for Be Wiser Ducati until the third lap when Iddon went for a decisive move with the pair touching at Starkeys Bridge. The move unsettled Brookes and dropped him back to fourth and into the clutches of Peter Hickman.
Redding then had the advantage from Bridewell and Iddon, and started edging out a gap to try and break the pack. The championship leader had been able to set a consistent pace to break Bridewell, but at mid-race distance the rain flags were shown and the Oxford Racing Ducati rider pushed to bridge the gap.
Redding though was able to keep his cool to give him the edge at the chequered flag, but behind him the battle for third had turned into a three-way fight between Iddon, Brookes and Hickman.
Iddon was holding the position for Tyco BMW, but as he exited Goddards he lost a footpeg and then had to try to deliver a damage limitation performance which saw him end the race in sixth place as Brookes took advantage of the situation.
Brookes held off Hickman for third with Andrew Irwin fighting his way through from 14th on the grid to claim fifth place for Honda Racing, pushing Iddon back with two laps to go as he continued to try and fight on.
Xavi Forés was seventh ahead of Ryan Vickers, who scored another top 10 finish for RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki following a fierce battle with Luke Mossey and Danny Buchan who grabbed tenth place ahead of Jason O’Halloran and Tarran Mackenzie.
Fellow Australians Billy McConnell and Ben Currie came home in 18th and 19th respectively in Race 1.
British Superbikes Race 2
In race two Brookes was determined to come out and try to take the fight to his teammate. At the start of the race, the Australian got a flying start off the line to lead into Redgate for the first time ahead of Iddon and Redding, with the second placed Tyco BMW rider trying to dive for the lead at Craner Curves before the 2015 champion instantly cut back into the lead.
As Redding moved into second a lap later to force ahead of Iddon, further down the field Billy McConnell crashed out unhurt at the Esses, leaving gravel across the circuit. The BMW Safety Car deployed and as the pack lined up Brookes had the advantage from Redding, Bridewell, Peter Hickman, Iddon and Buchan as the Showdown Title Fighters were locked together.
On the restart though Redding had initially dropped back from Brookes to try and force more heat into the tyres and it worked; Brookes ran wide into Redgate and Redding had the opportunity he needed to make a pass for the lead.
Redding then pushed to bridge a gap but the advantage kept changing, later the championship leader admitted he was suffering with a gearing issue that was causing him to be less consistent with his lap times. Brookes had been reeling him in over the closing stages but it wasn’t enough to make a move on his teammate and he was forced to settle for second place ahead of Bridewell.
Buchan had maintained his fourth place after a tough opening race at Donington Park to fire the FS-3 Racing Kawasaki ahead of Iddon on the Tyco BMW and Bradley Ray, who overcame the disappointment of a technical retirement in race one to hold off a hard-charging Irwin for sixth place.
Irwin had been also battling with his Honda Racing teammate Forés, who had to settle for eighth place with the McAMS Yamaha pairing of Tarran Mackenzie and O’Halloran completing the top 10.
It was a disastrous race for Hickman who had been battling for the fourth place when he lost the chain for the Smiths Racing BMW, ending his race prematurely.
Race 2 saw Aussie Ben Currie improve on his Race 1 efforts into 18th, while Billy McConnell recorded a DNF.
Scott Redding – 1-1
“I felt comfortable in race one, so I was able to manage everything quite well. I felt settled leading the race but when a few spots of rain began to fall, I eased off a bit as I didn’t want to get caught Scott Reddingout. When it became clear the rain had stopped, I was able to set the fastest lap of the race and pull away again, so it worked out well in the end. The second race was tricky too as I had a problem with the gear-shifter which meant the bike was pushing me wide into the corners. Josh upped his pace too, which I knew he would, and the gap came down, so I was pleased to bring the bike home and get the double.”
Josh Brookes – 3-2
“I made the ideal start to race one, but I knew immediately that something was wrong as I couldn’t find an apex and it was a bit confusing as to why the bike wasn’t working like it had done in qualifying. I lost a couple of places, but I managed to regroup and keep a good pace to come through to take a solid third. I improved to second in race two which I should be pleased with as many riders would Brookes & Reddinggive anything to be in that position but I’m smiling through gritted teeth as I don’t feel like I’m riding as well as I can. I don’t feel like I’m getting the best out of myself so I’m disappointed with the results but there are still 75 points available, so we’ll see what happens at the final round.”
Tommy Bridewell – 2-3
“Another positive weekend for myself and the Oxford Racing Ducati, Moto Rapido Racing team, with the ever changing weather we just struggled to find the sweet spot, but as always the team worked flawlessly and we’ll take the positives into the final round at Brands Hatch in a few weeks time. Thanks for all the support people show me trackside and on the socials, we’ll keep fighting, it’s not over yet.”
Tarran Mackenzie – 12-9
“As we didn’t get a dry warm-up, we couldn’t try something different so we went into race one a little blind. The bike didn’t feel the best and I struggled a lot on the front. We made a change for race two which definitely helped the bike, I had a lot stronger pace and was a lot closer to the guys in front which was good. I’m feeling better in myself and on the bike and gaining a lot more confidence. Brands was good for us earlier in the year until the crash so hopefully we can end the year on a high.”
Jason O’Halloran – 11-10
“That was one of the more difficult weekends. We struggled all weekend. Friday was wet, Saturday was dry and both races today were dry. We generally struggled to find a feeling. I struggled for grip in the first race and in one of the biggest surprises, I really struggled on new tyres. I got stronger towards the end once the tyre went away and did my fastest lap on the last lap of the race which is a bit backwards. Race two was better but I struggled with wheelie on the stop start corners, I’m having to use the rear brake so much we’re just getting beat on the straights. We need to see what we can do to improve it to see if we can finish the year off good.”
Peter Hickman – 4-DNF
“Results-wise, it’s been a bit of a mixed day but, overall, our pace has been strong throughout. We’ve made more improvements to the bike which has helped us get closer to the front group. In the first race, I made a slight mistake early on when the bike went into neutral at the Melbourne Loop, but I regained the lost places pretty quickly although I didn’t quite have the pace to get onto the podium. Race two was going equally as well and although I had a few slides after the safety car had gone in, the lap times were good, and I felt strong in fifth. I was hanging on a bit to the front group but then the chain snapped which was unusual to say the least but it’s just one of those things and nothing the team could have done so we’ll look to end the season strongly with three strong rides at Brands Hatch.”
Bradley Ray – DNF-6
“We wanted to prove Oulton wasn’t a fluke this weekend. Obviously we know we were quick at Cadwell but the results didn’t come, then we were on the podium at Oulton but struggled at Assen a little bit, going in the wrong direction over the weekend with the bike. Here we were strong again and I think we could have taken the fight to the front guys a bit more but we had the issue in race one and that meant not only did we miss that chance in that race it also ruined race two for us, having to come from so far back. It’s a shame, but I think the performance in race two was good, to come through from that far down. Hopefully we can get the luck at Brands and finish strongly.”
Bennetts British Superbikes Results/Standings