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RACE REPORT – ROUND 3, DONINGTON PARK

Two Up, Two Down: Donington Park will be one to remember. Back in action soon after Round Two, TAG Honda arrived at the Teams local circuit, graced by glorious sunshine.

Free Practice Friday made for good reading; with Fraser Rogers setting a new speed trap record of 132.8mph through Craner Curves, Jaimie van Sikkelerus topped the Pathway Superbike combined timings meanwhile the Superstock riders Matt Truelove and Shaun Winfield both set new personal bests, closing the day in P6 and P8 respectively.

As the Superstock Series had only one race for the seasons first visit to Donington Park, Saturday was a short day of qualifying. Due to health reasons, Shaun Winfield had not completed the official test at Donington earlier in the year, meaning that as he exited pit-lane for the qualifying session, the team were still working to find the right set up for the bike. This resulted in a P13 grid position for Sundays’ race. Matt Truelove was a little more fortunate with existing data in place, however due to a crowded circuit of over 38 machines, Truelove didn’t get as many clear laps as he would like, qualifying in 10th and lining himself up on row 4 for Sunday’s race.

Narrowly missing out on the Omologato Superpole Top 12, Fraser Rogers knew he had a chance to secure his place in the top 15. Rogers valiantly claimed the P1 spot in Q1 ahead of Q2 where he took a row 4 grid position ahead of race one that afternoon in P12. Jaimie van Sikkelerus felt very at home at Donington Park, recording a qualifying lap time of 1:29.853 to start race one from P21 next to the factory Honda machine of Dean Harrison.

The 20-lap race one commenced later that day where unfortunately Jaimie van Sikkelerus lost to turn one at Redgate with a big high-side causing some injury. Rogers strongly pushed on to ensure there was a point scoring result, finishing in P13.

Following an early Sunday morning review in the medical centre, it was advised that Jaimie van Sikkelerus was unfit to ride due to a concern of a potential wrist fracture. Disappointed but not defeated, Jaimie remained with the team for the weekend and was delighted to see so many people during pit-walk. With two Superbike races and one Superstock race ahead, there was plenty to keep the team busy!

Race two of the Bennetts British Superbike Championship was a Sprint Race, consisting of 12 thrilling laps. Rogers chased down his first P8 position when a late lunge from the FHO BMW Motorrad of Josh Brookes forced Rogers to run off the track, undeterred and keen to come back, Rogers returned to the track and took his first top 10 finish of the season so far. Fueled to succeed, the lights went out and a defiant Rogers left from his P12 grid position to get in the mix of the front group. Despite a returning injury, Rogers held his own and raced right to the very end to finish in 12th, to close three point-scoring finishes of the weekend.

The Pirelli National Superstock race didn’t pass without its dramas, as Shaun Winfield crashed out at Melbourne Loop on his fastest lap – a very unfortunate end to what would have been a great opportunity for him to come back as his health continues to improve. All eyes were then on Matt Truelove who put in a fantastic stretch of consistently fast laps. However, due to the top 5 bikes getting away and Winfield crashing, Truelove found himself quite isolated with over 3 second gaps ahead and behind his Honda CBR1000RR-R SP. The drama continued to unfold as the 15 lap race was cut-short due to a premature chequered flag as the winning racers crossed the line causing some of the racers to roll-off for the in-lap on lap 14 of 15; Truelove seized the opportunity to finish 8th; this was then revoked to his lap 14 position of P9, picking up 8 points.

Jaimie van Sikkelerus said, “I really looked forward to the Donington race weekend, a track where I am normally strong at, and on Friday we showed that we could get good results here. Friday was a good day and it showed we had the pace, where on the Saturday I struggled with a stressful qualifier as I missed the corner and lost the front on the grass; because of the amazing response from the team, they were still able to get me back out again in the same session with only 5 minutes left I was able to get back on track for a P21 grid position. The Race One accident was so unfortunate, in order to avoid collision with another rider I had to tighten my line and on exit I lost the bike with a high-side. The medical centre staff have been incredible, and I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive of me during this disappointing weekend.”

Matt Truelove said, “Really happy with my weekend at Donington Park, in-and-

around the top ten in every session finishing the weekend with a P9 race result. I feel I am lacking a little bit of early-pace to stay with the lead group, but it’s something I am very aware of and will be working on that. Thanks to the whole team for a great weekend!”

Gary Winfield, Team Manager said, “There are a lot of self-inflicted pressures each of the riders place on themselves and for the team it’s ensuring that we work well with these strong personalities with such focus and determination. The energy the team brings to the riders is matched and we are very confident we are building a winning formula. It was so disappointing for Jaimie to do so well on Friday and to bounce back and go again in qualifier, we are definitely making great progress here despite his unfortunate spills. The same can be said for Shaun, who set a 1:30.1 ideal time before losing to Melbourne Loop. Fraser has secured three point-scoring finishes and at only Round Three; we see great things coming for him and the Superbike. An extended congratulations to Matt Truelove who has committed throughout the season so far securing another top result. Overall we are very pleased with the weekends results and look forward to going again in a few weeks time at Knockhill.”