The forecast of snow for the opening weekend (31 March-2 April) of the Bennetts British Superbike didn’t materialise, but its replacement of rain, cold temperatures and more rain did affect nearly all race classes at the Donington Park race circuit. Although there was no race cancellations it did make for some cold, wet riding for qualifying, and the BSB and support races, with quite a few fallers at Craner Curves. Poor conditions even forced the organisers, with the teams’ approval, to bring forward the first scheduled BSB race from Easter Monday to the Sunday. Despite all of this, the end result was still action packed, close quarter stuff that BSB has become famous for.
The Evotech Performance supported teams had a varied weekend. It would be fair to say pre-season testing didn’t include cold, wet weather and Donington’s ups, downs and cambers. For all teams, it was a case of finding suitable settings to suit unknown conditions for new or uprated machinery for the 2018 season.
Paul Bird Motorsport’s Be Wiser Ducati team fared well on the Donington GP circuit. Shane “Shakey” Byrne collared a podium position in race one on his Ducati Panigale RS with second place, just 0.383s behind race winner Bradley Ray on the Buildbase Suzuki GSX-R1000. Glenn Irwin got a well-deserved sixth place. Race two also saw the pair inside the top ten with Byrne fifth and Irwin seventh.
Smiths Racing and its BMW Motorrad S 1000 RR riders of Peter Hickman and Sylvain Barrier secured eighth and 19th respectively in race one. Race two saw a change in fortune for Hickman who finished without classification. Meanwhile Barrier was 20th over the finish line.
Tyco Motorrad BMW saw their S 1000 RR BSB riders Christian Iddon and Michael Laverty finish race one with Laverty in tenth and Iddon 14th. Monday’s race two saw a reversal of the finish order with Iddon placed sixth and Laverty 10th. Meanwhile, Tyco Motorrad BMW’s Pirelli National Superstock 1000 riders, Keith Farmer and Dan Kneen, gave a good account of themselves to end the weekend with Farmer second in the riders’ points and Kneen eighth.
McAMS Yamaha riders Josh Brookes and Tarran Mackenzie on their R1 machines didn’t have the best of season starts but there are plenty more chances to make amends. In race one, Brookes rode to 12th overall, while Mackenzie came in six places adrift in 18th. Race two saw only Brookes make it into the result table with 11th overall.
This leaves us to say well done to all competitors and teams for their sterling effort in making the Easter Bank Holiday another memorable one for us bike racing fanatics.