RD9 - Donington Park - MCE Insurance British Superbikes
This weekend the riders and teams of the MCE Insurance British Superbikes headed to Donington Park for the all-important showdown decider. With Shakey, Brookes, Kiyo and Bridewell all confirmed as title fighters it was just down to Dan Linfoot and Chris Walker to hold their nerve and keep Stuart Easton and the injured James Ellison at bay.
After an interesting qualifying session it was American John Hopkins who took pole position. Going well the Tyco Suzuki rider admitted he knew Donington like the back of his hand from his MotoGP days and that the GSX-R was well suited to the track, he aimed to gift his team a podium over the course of the weekend.
Even with his excellent grid position Hopper was not able to capitalise and dropped back to sixth after a very poor start in race 1 which let the big boys through to battle it out. Initially Shane 'Shakey' Byrne took the lead but his war for four rival Ryuichi Kiyonari was quickly on his back wheel. Stuart Easton who was aiming high to try and save his showdown chances had the perfect start placing himself behind Shakey and Kiyo with rising mega talent Peter Hickman in tow.
Only a lap in and the safety car was out after Mitchell Carr and Christophe Ponsson crashed out at Goddards, when it returned into the pits, Shakey attempted to get away but Kiyo and Easton followed closely. A few laps later Hopkins who was pushing hard to catch the riders at the front crashed out ending his podium aspirations in race 1.Before long Brookes who had a poor qualifying session was on the move and past Easton followed by his teammate Bridewell. On lap 12 Kiyo finally made his move on Shakey beating him on the brakes into the Foggy Esses. Shakey stuck with him and a few laps later made a pass at the old hairpin but Kiyo was having none of it and once again beat Byrne on the brakes going into the Esses.
Shakey continued to try and find a way past but Kiyo blocked his move every time with impressive defensive riding. On the penultimate lap Shakey repeated his earlier move at the old hairpin but Kiyo snapped back straight away at Schwantz holding the lead. The battle continued till the last corner where Shakey made a final attempt to pass the Japanese rider but ended up running wide and having to settle for second. Bridewell completed the podium ahead of Brookes, Easton and Josh Waters.
Race 2 and Kiyo was back on it. His Buildbase BMW charged off the start line and into the lead followed closely by Shakey who was also pushing to get the initial lead. This pushed him off line and his teammate Stuart Easton nipped past him and into second. Brookes stayed with the front pack this time and settled into fourth.
Shakey wasn't going to let Kiyo get away and passed Easton on the second lap so as to stay in contact with him; the two battled for the rest of the race with Kiyo holding the advantage all the way. Shakey was planning an attack on the final lap but after a mistake that forced him to run wide, he was left having to settle for second place once again. Brookes completed the podium after passing Easton ending his chances at a showdown spot.
With the top four title fighters already decided, Chris Walker and Dan Linfoot secured the other two showdown positions with careful but consistent positions in both races.
In amongst all the racing Club MCE members took part in fantastic VIP experiences including pillion laps, safety car laps in the Nissan GTR, a very revealing hang out with Josh Brookes, Official Pit Crew with Tyco Suzuki, Grid walks and more! To be part of Club MCE all you need is an MCE policy and to sign up here on the Club MCE app.
The TT Circuit Assen beckons next for the riders as we enter the showdown. The top 6 is set and the fight for the title is well and truly on! Can Shakey get back to winning ways or will Kiyo dominate the war for four? Can Josh Brookes finally lift the championship trophy in what could be his last year of trying? Or will the dark horses of Bridewell, Walker and Linfoot cause a surprise outcome? It all kicks off in two weeks at Assen! Keep up to date with Big Ed's Facebook or Twitter or Google+ for all the live updates, news and gossip around the paddock.
For more information on the series visit MCE Insurance British superbikes.
09.09.2014 - Big Ed