Robbie Brown claimed the 2012 Ducati 848 Challenge championship title this weekend at Donington Park, with three races of the season to spare. The Ducati Manchester DMC Racing rider took the remaining points he needed to secure the title in the first race of the double-header after his nearest rival James Folkard (Minards Pavlou Solicitors), crashed out in the first race, handing the title to Brown.
Brown was not to have the race weekend all to himself as Lee Johnston, guest riding the Ducati UK TriOptions Finance machine, took both race wins despite two epic battles with Brown. Johnston of Millsport Racing Ducati had a weekend to remember also bagging a second place on the 1199 Panigale in the National Superstock1000 class.
Starting just behind Brown on the front row, Johnston immediately took the battle to Brown and led the opening laps. Brown wasn’t to sit back and take the required points though and was soon harrying the guest rider around every corner on the GP circuit. When Brown did find his way past Johnston, the pair clashed going into Foggy Esses as elbows and fairings bashed, and, backing it into the Melbourne Hairpin, Brown defended his line vigorously.
But the Northern Irishman was soon to get back past Brown and hold him off to take the race win by just one-tenth of a second. The ‘evergreen’ Mike Edwards (Ohlins P&H Motorcycle) completed the podium and Ed Smith (Ultim8 Racing) bagged his best result of the season to finish fourth. Brown had the points he needed and went into Race 2 with the 2012 Championship title in the bag.
Race 2 could easily have turned out like the first with Brown and Johnston again stretching out a lead. But behind them Edwards, Sam Coventry (Moto Rapido) and Dennis Hobbs (Hobbs Racing) were having their own very hard-fought battle for the third place on the podium. Edwards would eventually open up a 2-second gap on Folkard to take a brace of third places and jump him up to third in the overall standings. Out front, Johnston had edged out Brown to take the race win with an almost comfortable 0.9-second gap.
Although some of the gloss was taken off his title-winning weekend by an outstanding guest ride performance from Johnston, Brown once again proved himself to be a worthy winner of the Ducati 848 Challenge title with a maximum points haul to take him over the 300 points tally with two races still to come.
Double race winner and guest rider, Lee Johnston:
“It’s been a really good experience, and I’ve really enjoyed riding the bike. Obviously I’d like to say a big thank you to Ducati UK for giving me that opportunity. It was nice to get out on something different and hopefully we can do something like this again if the chance comes up. The bike was obviously a bit slower than my Superstock 1000 Ducati Panigale which meant I could be a bit more aggressive with it!”
2012 Ducati 848 Champion, Robbie Brown
“Really it’s been an awesome weekend. Technically we took maximum points despite not winning and took the championship so I can’t really complain! Or maybe I can as it would’ve been nice to take the wins, but in the first race we had bike problems and in the second race we had tyre problems, but it’s just one of those things. Ducati Manchester were a massive help last year and this year they stepped up to the mark again to help build a fantastic team around me. It’s been mega! I mean from session one of the whole year we’ve been up there and on the pace. All credit to DMC as without them we wouldn’t have had the bike and my mechanic Ben has been phenomenal. It’s been a year that I’ll cherish and hopefully it’s been something that can push me on to bigger things.”
Round Eight of the Ducati 848 Challenge will be at Silverstone GP BSB over the weekend of 28/29/30 September.
Race 1 Result: Johnston* – R Brown – Edwards – Smith – Coventry – Nutt – Cheetham – Beckett – Keen – White – Wyatt – Hasler – Neary –Poll – Jordan – Poyser – A Brown – Sarah Jordan – Broadway – Wilson
Race 2 Result: Johnston* – R Brown – Edwards – Folkard – Coventry – Hobbs – Smith – Cheetham – Nutt – Compton – White – Poole – Coulter – Keen – Beckett – Neary – Wyatt – Poll – Holden – Poyser – A Brown – Wilson – Broadway – Sarah Jordan
Championship Top Ten after Round Seven, Donington Park
Brown (300.5pts) – Folkard (168.5) – Edwards (157.5) – Fry (142) – Coventry (112) – Beckett (111.5) – Smith (101) – Cheetham (94) – Dawson (77) – Compton (71)