Round 6 of the Ducati Trioptions Cup was held at Thruxton over the weekend. Thruxton is built on the outskirts of a small airfield, so like Snetterton, is very flat.
Thruxton differs from any of circuit in the UK, with its unique surface, which is extremely abrasive and known for wearing tyres out quickly. It’s also the fastest track on the calendar, with some hugely fast sweepers that take some deep breathes and a few quiet words to your self to take them at the speed that’s possible.
We had one practice session on Friday, trying out the gearing that we thought would work. It turned out that it didn’t work, which was fine, as it gave us the right direction for qualifying on Saturday morning at 9am. More so than any other circuit, Thruxton offers amazing grip for 3-4 laps when a tyre is brand new. After that the rear starts to slide around a little more, just losing the edge of acceleration off the turns. We were able to capitalise on this in qualifying and get a good lap in within two flying laps. I managed to put it pole position and not wear out the tyres to much, as we knew we had to run the same front tyre all weekend, due to the tyre allocation allowed in our class. It was a good result for the team as the 3 BPS Racing riders put it 1-2-3 on the grid.
Race 1 was at 2:45 Saturday afternoon. In qualifying it was a really still morning with no wind around. The wind had really picked up for the race and altered a few braking points around the circuit. I got the hole shot and led the race for the first 4 laps. I was passed into the final turn to drop back to 3rd. I tried to hang with the front two but I was pushing to hard in certain areas, causing the rear tyre to spin, which then lost me more time. I bought it home in 3rd position, another podium and strong points. Looking back on the race, I knew where I had gone wrong and where I needed to improve.
Sunday was looking like another nice day and our race was last on the timetable, just after the final Superbike Race. I was starting 3rd on the grid for race two and we made a few small changes to the bike to help with the issues we had the day before. I got the hole shot again and led for the first 4 laps. Our pace was quicker than Saturdays race with some great slipstreaming happening down the back straight. We ended up in a 3 way battle for the lead for the final 4 laps. Collier ran on at the final chicane on one lap, which after the race was deemed he had gained a slight advantage and was given a 0.5 second penalty Sean Neary and I were in his slipstream coming into the final lap, and I managed to get a run on Neary into the final chicane. I made an attempt to out brake Sean, but got it a bit too sideways and ran it wide, allowing him to slip underneath. The three of us crossed the line within 0.3 of a second of one another, and with Colliers half a second penalty, saw Neary take the win with me snatching 2nd by 0.15 of a second. I am really pleased to have picked up 2nd place, although being so close to the race win gives you a lot to think about after the race and perhaps things that you could have done differently! But all in all I’m very happy to take a 3rd and a 2nd from Thruxton. My team work so hard all weekend, to give me the bike I ask for and I couldn’t do it without them, and my amazing sponsors who make my racing possible. My wife and family always stick by me and support me as well and I would like to thank everyone who supports and follows my racing.
I would like to send my condolences to the family of Mark Fincham, who sadly lost his life in the Superstock 1000 race on Sunday at Thruxton.
By Levi Day
Photo Credits: Bonnie Lane