The weather this weekend at Donington was a real mixed bag, often leaving riders with the dreaded tyre dilemma as they faced the potential of competing on a drying track.
One man who was able to stay consistent all weekend was Team Baxi Yamaha’s John Dieterman, who went into the penultimate Thundersport round with a formidable lead over second placed Ryan Strafford, also running on Continental, in the Golden Era Superbike championship.
With a guest appearance by Terry Rymer on his own Yamaha OW01, the rest of the field were left fighting for the remaining two podium places. John was the closest to ‘Too Tall’ Terry in qualifying to cement his familiar front row position on the grid, with Ryan not too far behind him in fourth place on the RC-51 – the pair both working their Continental race tyres hard.
With two well earned 2nd places on the Saturday, John secured the Thundersport GB Golden Era Superbike title with six races still to go, and followed it up with two further 2nd places on the Sunday as he tried to hold on to the back wheel of Rymer. Meanwhile in the RS Racing camp, Ryan took a solid 5th place in the opener before the second race saw the team suffer an electrical issue with the Honda’s CDI unit before they could make the grid. Two further top ten finishes on the Sunday saw Ryan consolidate his hold on second place in the championship, although he will still face a challenge from Ritchie Thornton and Richard Harrison at Cadwell Park next month. Switching back to Continental for the final race at Donington, Kawasaki mounted Richard Blunt also took a hard fought 3rd on the podium.
In Golden Era Supersport class, Ryan Cooper was unlucky to miss out on the podium over the weekend on the Race HQ prepared Yamaha R6. Qualifying in 6th, Ryan climbed up to 4th in the first race, and also took 4th place in both of Sunday’s races as he took more solid points in the series. EB Racing’s Martyn Bloomfield teamed up with Richie Harrison for the latter’s first ride in the class, and on Continental tyres. In the ever changing conditions, the pair qualified 13th and 14th respectively, with Martyn pushing into the top ten in his first three races, and Richie climbing as high as 9th as he looked to find a good base setting for the bike looking ahead to Cadwell Park.
Golden Era Steelsport title contender Dave Langley, supported by Continental race dealer Tyres 4 Bikes, started well by qualifying in pole position on the DL Racing Honda. Langley then went on to follow that up with two excellent race wins on the Saturday, as he looks to overhaul Mark Biswell in the series. On Sunday Biswell turned the tables, with Dave having to settle for 3rd and 2nd place in the final two races respectively. Fellow Continental rider Lee Ewbank of #WeR1Racing also just missed out on the podium, with two 5th places and a 4th. With one more round to go, there is still everything to play for in this championship.
Moving on to the Continental sponsored Pre-National Sport 600 championship, Sam Holme was flying in qualifying to take 2nd place on the grid. He then took a superb 3rd place in the opening race, but bike issues and a collision in the next two contests saw him fail to finish, despite taking the holeshot in the latter. The final race saw Sam climb back up to 6th place. California Superbike School’s Martin Plunkett also dropped 1.5 seconds off his personal best lap times at Donington, and was rewarded with an excellent 3rd place after an epic tussle between the leading pack in the second Pre-National race.
Congratulations to everyone racing at the weekend – we’ll see you at Cadwell Park in three weeks time!
Photo credit to Ian Boldy Superbike Photography (top) and Janet Whitham (centre).
Find out more about the complete Continental race tyre range here.