Triumph Triple Challenge – Round One – Donington Park – 22/23 March 2008.
Following a successful test in Spain I was really looking forward to racing the Triumph at Donington, a favourite of mine, at the opening round of the Triumph Triple Challenge.
On the very first lap of qualifying the brakes failed going in to Redgate corner. This was a very scary experience I hope I never encounter again. I ended up in the kitty litter but only sustained a cut thumb. The bike however needed some work so we took the bike back to a friend’s garage, as it was freezing at the circuit. The next morning we woke to find deep snow covering the ground, thankfully this was not the case at the circuit and the races continued, albeit in very cold and damp conditions.
Permission to compete in Sundays races was granted and I was allowed to start from the back of the grid in the two main races for the TTC even though I’d not completed the two 15 minute qualifying sessions and a Super pole race.
The first race was damp but a drying line meant that the wets I was on were really moving about, a new experience for me as I don’t use them on the roads. It was so cold that people were crashing all around; the track temperature meant getting and keeping any heat in your tyres almost impossible, so you had to feel your way around. I was of course down on track time compared to all the rest and was completing my first laps of the weekend. I crossed the line 8th in class and was more than happy to collect my first points in the Triumph Triple Challenge series.
With snow and sleet showers hampering the day’s proceedings it was tricky to make a decision on tyres until the final moments before the race. We opted for dry tyres and put on a scrubbed front and a new rear I’d bought prior to my test on Tuesday from TTC organiser Tony Scott.
Again the track was freezing but with a dry track I was keen to improve on my finish in the previous race. I got a good start from the back row. My worries about brake failure had disappeared as I took a few more places in to the first corner [Redgate]. But an accident at McLean’s meant a red flag and we were all made to wait on the circuit until the accident had been dealt with [I hope the guy involved was ok]. By this time any heat from the warmers had left the tyres and as we approached the grid for the re-start I hoped for two warm up laps but my boyfriend signalled that there would be just one.
I didn’t get as good a start and tentatively rode around feeling for grip I was also suffering from a front end weave [we’ll be getting this sorted before the next round at Cadwell Park] but despite this I finished 6th in class. I was so pleased we’d salvaged something from what had started as a terrible weekend. I was then asked to do a lengthy interview for Motors TV who are covering all the rounds of the Championship [details for the showings will follow].