We as a nation love our sports, and have a lot of enthusiasm for our sporting heroes, but we’re not often left feeling victorious. There is one area of sport however that the brits are thriving! In the world of motorcycle racing. British riders are at the sharp end, and right now we are seeing some very special racing, racing that will be remembered, and Derby will be a part of it.
Derby is blessed to have the world class race circuit Donnington Park within its borders, very easily accessible to boot and this coming weekend they are hosts for the World Superbikes Tournament. WSBK as it is also known sees domestic champions from the world over, race at circuits around the globe and Donnington hosts the British leg, this year and every year. Each round consists of 3 days of action made up of Supersport and junior championships along with free practice and qualifying sessions. To accommodate Donington now offers camping right in the centre of the track! Donington is well known for letting fans get close to the action, but this is a real treat
Competing there this weekend will be Local boy Alex Lowes former BSB champion on his Pata Yamaha YZF-R1. Big weekend for Alex, this is his home race and he isn’t having the smoothest of championships, crashing out in the rain soaked last round at Sepang and now has to contend with a broken collar bone, and will be fighting to stay within the top ten. Alex expressed his hopes and thoughts to me at a pre-race event;
“the collar bone isn’t that bad, I’ll go out there and give it go, if it gets too sore then I will have to come in.”
Regarding his progression through the ranks on the new Yamaha.
“the lads are working really hard and we are making progress, it is a new bike and we’re getting to know it so we expect to get stronger”
Alex exciting enough, is not the only brit racing at Donington. Far from it. The top three riders in WSBK are brits and they’re on fire, Johnathan Ray current world champion leading the way with 257pts on the very successful Kwak fending of team mate, 2014 world champion Tom Sykes with 187pts in 3rd, separated by Chaz Davis with 215pts on a Ducati. The next brit on the table is Leon Camier in 8th just ahead of local hero Alex Lowes with 73pts on the Augusta. That’s all 5 Brits making up half of the top ten in the standings!
The motorcycle talent coming out of this country is incredible but it’s not only racing aces like Johnathan, Chaz, Tom, Leon and Alex who get to experience the thrills of motorsport as Donington Park open up its gates for motor racing enthusiasts to use the track on track days. Better still another Derby local and now legend “Rocket Ron” Haslem has a ridding school at Donington where they will provide you with a bike and coach you. If this is all a bit racy for you they have running and cycling evenings where you can go around the 2.5mile track.
We really shouldn’t overlook this very special venue, important in motorsport history, boasting one of the largest and best F1 museums in the world containing hundreds of cars but also the future of motorsport as a lot of Formula E development occurs right here in our very own Donington. This weekend is going to be Epic, all the best to Alex, we’re rooting for you buddy.
Picture 1: Current world champ Jonathan Rea at Donington
Picture 2: Alex Lowes getting in the zone on the grid at last years Donington round
Picture 3: Lowes in action at Donington last year
The MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship takes place 27 - 29 May 2016.
Written by guest blogger Reuben.