BRANDON PAASCH WINS, EXTENDS LEAD IN 2019 HEL PERFORMANCE BRITISH MOTOSTAR MOTO3 AT DONINGTON PARK
Brandon Paasch faced challenging weather and a technical difficulty with his KTM Moto3 race bike during his first visit to the Donington Park Circuit for the penultimate race weekend in the 2019 HEL Performance British Motostar Championship. Wet weather for the first practice session meant that he had to find his lines on the track while keeping the bike upright, under instructions from Team Owner Adrian Mason. The second session was even trickier, with a wet track on some sections and dry in others. After a few laps assessing the grip, Brandon came in and put on a set of slicks and set the second fastest time as the track dried.
Qualifying on Saturday morning was chilly, and Brandon found a few spots for improvement as he secured fourth position for the start of Race 1, just 0.21 seconds off the pole time. A poor start in the race meant he had to work hard to catch up and get back to the front of the pack. A race-long battle ensued with the front four riders swapping positions every lap, with Brandon making a move into second place with just a few laps remaining. A small mistake saw him slip back to third, where he completed the race for another podium finish. But the biggest surprise came when the team picked up the bike from parc ferme and discovered that the ECU and wiring harness had been fried during the race. After searching the paddock for a spare, the team had to make a six-hour roundtrip drive to get a secondary ECU from home base. The team all chipped in and had everything ready to go on the KTM Moto3 race bike by midnight for the race the next day.
Warmup on Sunday showed that the bike was ready to go, as Brandon lead the group with the fastest time. However, Race 2 was marred by rain and a number of riders falling off. It was a clean start for Brandon this time, and he quickly moved into the front group and followed the leaders to plot his strategy for the end of the race. On Lap 7, after a number of riders had crashed due to the sudden downpour of rain, the red flag came out to let the weather clear. The restart was a six lap dash to the flag, and Brandon was determined to be in the lead. With his best start of the year, he stayed right on the tail of the leader and made his move on the last lap. Now having a clear run to the checkers, Brandon put his head down to take the win with his fastest lap all weekend. With his two podiums over the weekend, Brandon increased his HEL Performance Moto3 championship lead, with only one other rider remaining within striking distance.
“That was a pretty good weekend all around, despite some of the big challenges that we faced with the track, the weather and the burnt ECU. Donington is a good track, one that I’ve wanted to race on for a while. With the wet weather it was a little tricky to sort out some of my lines, but things got better in each practice. I was just a little off in qualifying, and my start in Race 1 was terrible. But I was determined not to let the championship slip away, so I got my head down and pushed hard. I thought I had second wrapped up at the end, but I misjudged one of my brake markers and slipped back. I still kept it on the podium, but I was really worried when we found out the ECU got fried during the race. No one else had a spare in the paddock, so big thanks to Andy’s dad for making the long trip to pick up our team spare and get it back to the track. The rest of the team really pushed hard to have the bike ready for Race 2, and I was going to make sure that all that effort paid off.
Race 2 was a real mess when the rain came down. I was in a good spot for a run at the front at the end of the race, then a couple guys slid off and suddenly the red flag came out when the rain really came down. I was playing it safe to make it to the end of the race, but when the announced a six lap sprint, I knew I couldn’t just sit back. I finally got the launch I’d been working on all year, and I was right up there to go for it. I stuck it under the leader on the last lap and ripped off my fastest lap of the whole weekend, so I was really stoked when I took the win! I owe this one to Adrian, Andy, Dave and the whole crew for making sure the bike was ready to rip – thanks guys!” (Brandon Paasch)
“Well that was another crazy weekend – nothing ever seems to be easy in Moto3. I had strict instructions for Brandon to be fast but safe this weekend, as it was his first time at Donington, and I didn’t want to let the championship slip away. Brandon certainly was fast, and a big congrats to him for pulling out the race win on Sunday. But we wouldn’t have been able to race if Andy’s dad didn’t get that ECU for us, and then Andy and Dave getting the bike ready to race was another big effort. It really takes a team to win in this game, and I’m very proud of the whole FPW Racing crew. We’re all excited to get to the finale at Brands Hatch GP in a couple weeks, and we’ll be working hard to make sure we bring the championship home.” (Adrian Mason, Team Owner)
The final race weekend for British Superbike is October 18-20, where the 2019 HEL Performance British Motostar Championship will be decided. Fans and supporters can catch all the Moto3 practices, qualifying and race action through live timing and commentary at www.britishsuperbike.com or on the Bennetts British Superbike app, available in the Apple App Store and Google Play.
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Brandon Paasch is sponsored by Electronic Concepts, luxeStar VIP, Classic Car Club of Manhattan, NJMiniGP, Evolve GT, BJT Mechanical, Arai, and Spidi. Coaching and training provided by Birdhouse Training.
FPW Racing is an amalgamation of the Fireplace Warehouse and several like-minded bike enthusiasts to support one common goal – to establish young riders and to give them a leg up in their racing careers. FPW Racing is sponsored by The Fireplace Warehouse, Motul, Pro Bolt, Hel, Regina, Jennings Race Products. For more information, visit us at www.fpwracing.co.uk