BATTLE OF THE BRITS AT DONINGTON
It was a battle of the Brits on Sunday when the two best teams in the world went head to head for supremacy in the second round of the FIM World Sidecar Championship held on home tarmac at Donington Park, Ben and Tom Birchall missed out on the win by the narrowest margins at the end of a gruelling 19 laps although they retain their series lead and added yet another lap record to their profile.
In the dry conditions on Friday Mansfield brothers Ben and Tom Birchall were the fastest by over three seconds and went on to again head the leaderboard in the first qualifying session on Saturday. But the weather prevented them from sealing pole position as, although it was dry when they began the final session, it started to rain as they were half way around the circuit on the first lap. Then the heavens opened and torrential rain prevented any further track action leaving Ben and Tom to start the race from the middle of the front row alongside Reeves/Cluze and Hegarty/Neave.
As the lights went out it was Reeves who got the hole shot swiftly followed by the Birchall brothers and the pair soon began to pull away from the pursuing pack. The two former world champions battled it out, circulating in close company until the Mitchells of Mansfield supported duo hit the front on lap six of 19. They began to pull a gap on Reeves but at the half way stage of the race backmarkers came into play which allowed Reeves to once again latch onto their back wheel. On lap 12 Reeves managed to get ahead at the Melbourne Loop and the pair were side by side as they headed towards Goddards. Throughout the remainder of the race the two top teams in the world stuck together with Ben showing Reeves his front wheel on numerous occasions and on the last lap they were once again side by side as they exited Goddards. On the drag to the flag they were virtually level but the win was awarded to Reeves who broke the beam just nine hundredths of a second ahead of Birchall. Steinhausen/Kolsch was the third team home over 31 seconds behind the battling Brits which shows how fast the pace was.
Ben and Tom retain their series lead over Reeves and also take the credit for putting in the fastest lap of the race 1m 34.767s which sets a new lap record.
Ben said: “We led the race for six laps and had stretched out a fairly comfortable lead. But then we came across some backmarkers which slowed us sufficiently for Reeves to catch us. Tim then tried every trick in the book to get past us and finally overtook us on the brakes at the Melbourne Loop. The gap between us was never more than 0.3s and in the end we missed the win by a mere 0.099s although we did set a new lap record in our efforts to regain the lead and we are still leading the championship. We were quickest in free practice and first qualifying but the changing weather conditions caught us out in the final session. But we were happy enough with a front row start and enjoyed a cracking race. Thanks to all our sponsors for their continued support and we hope to repay them with a win next time out.”
The next round is at Rijeka in Croatia on June 14 but prior to that Ben and Tom will contest the Isle of Man TT where they took their first win last year in the second of the two sidecar races where the action begins on Monday evening with the first practice session.
More, from a press release issued by Nitron USA:
David Anthony Scores Second on Nitron, Against Pro Racing’s Best at Miller
Tooele, Utah: Privateer Pro Superbike racer David Anthony, of Aussie Dave Racing, earned second place in Round Three, the Arai Mountain Nationals, of the GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout presented by Yamaha, at Miller Motorsports Park. This was Anthony’s best Pro Racing finish of the season, and his best ever in any season, against factory riders with only one of them between him and a win.
Anthony qualified in fourth, on the front row, on his SIC/Motul/Fly Racing GSX-R1000. But the “West” track by Sunday, according to reports, transformed into a hot and greasy arena, catching some riders out. Riding hard but smart, Anthony, on his Nitron shock equipped Suzuki, took advantage of other’s mistakes, moving up to second place after two riders dispatched themselves from the track. After taking second, Anthony remained unchallenged for the closing laps, finishing arrears of only Josh Hayes on the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha.
With this astounding performance, Anthony also doubled his podium appearance at Miller, earning third place for keeps, in the three-race Superbike Shootout championship series.
After Anthony’s incredible finish, that once again confirmed the performance of the Nitron Race Pro shock, he said, “As far as any lack of traction, I did about the same lap times, maybe a couple tenths slower, than in practice. I was the only one on a soft rear for the race. I think I made the right tire choice. I didn’t find any loss of traction. It’s my style track, so I should have been even faster. So, I was lucky, but you also have put yourself there to take advantage of the situation. I know that we’re better prepared than ever, the whole team is fueled by our momentum, so my goal for Road America is to be again on the podium.”
This coming weekend Anthony will be back in the AMA Pro Series at Road America, challenging for the elusive, but in focus, top finish against all of USA’s biggest teams, where he sits in a solid fourth place, with as many factory racers behind him as in front of him.
Nitron USA is the exclusive assembly facility/distributor in the Americas for Nitron Racing Systems Ltd., creator of high-quality dampers for performance, touring, adventure, twin-shock, and American V-twin motorcycles, and selected performance automobiles. Through the application of modern materials and manufacturing processes, Nitron’s mission is to create and service suspension products of incomparable form, function, and feel. Nitron USA, Miller Motorsports Park, 2901 Sheep Lane, Unit 704, Tooele, UT 84074; 801-663-7436; www.nitronusa.com; www.facebook.com/nitronusa; firstname.lastname@example.org.