Guiver and Atkinson share the spoils in dramatic first Ducati TriOptions round at Silverstone
- Atkinson takes early championship lead
- Blood, sweat and tears for Guiver
- Neary secures podium double
Changeable weather and cold temperatures at Silverstone circuit was the backdrop for a dramatic weekend of racing with Phil Atkinson taking the win in race 1 and Rob Guiver producing the ride of the weekend with a brave win in race 2.
It was a dramatic start to the Ducati TriOptions Cup with rain coming down as the riders formed on the grid ready for race one. What had been expected to be a dry race despite the ominous grey clouds, changed suddenly with rain and hail delaying the start. Race control declared a wet race and soon the grid was a flurry of activity as the teams hurried to change their wheels to wets.
Some riders ran out of time and were forced to complete their wheel change from the pit lane while five riders failed to make the start. A surprising starter was Rob Guiver (Hyside Motorcycles) who had suffered a nasty injury to his right foot in qualifying.
After two sighting laps the race finally started with Sean Neary (Zoek Racing) taking the lead ahead of Phil Atkinson (Highsparks Motorsport). Almost immediately the two made a break from the rest of the pack with Mark Cheetham (Highsparks Motorsport) in third. This remained the status for the first three laps until Robbie Brown (Boast plumbing) began his charge taking third place from Cheetham on lap four as Atkinson and Neary were embroiled in a fairing bashing scrap. Soon Atkinson prevailed with Neary under pressure from Robbie Brown. Neary dropped back to third and then fourth as Leon Morris (Carl Cox Motorsport/P&H Motorcyces) set the fastest lap of the race and moved into the final podium position.
Atkinson was holding off the charge of Robbie Brown with just 0.336 seconds between them when disaster struck for Brown. The Boast Plumbing rider raised his hand indicating to the riders behind him that he had a problem and Atkinson, Morris and Neary took advantage to claim the front three places. Brown limped home in fourth with gear selection issues ending his hopes of a podium finish. There were some great rides further down the field with Jon Waghorn (JW Smart Services/Laguna Motorcycles) claiming his best ever finish in 8th, Peter Hasler (AOR/Zero) who started from the pit lane finishing in 10th and a brave ride from Rob Guiver earning valuable points with a 12th.
Philip Atkinson 1st
“On the first two sighting laps of the restart you could see that half the track was wet and half dry but by the end of the second lap you could see that it was too wet for drys. I got off the line well but when I saw Neary come past I could see that he was quicker in the dry parts so I followed that. But to be the guinea pig out in front seemed like a life time so I was happy to keep it together and bring it home.”
Leon Morris 2nd
“I am happy with the finish, before the start top five, top six in those conditions I would have been happy with especially as I have not been on the bike for six months. It took a long time for me to find my feet, it was really hard to suss out where it was wet and where it wasn’t. I think we had the speed to win that, I reeled him in but I couldn’t have pushed any harder and my main aim in that race was to bring it home so 2nd was spot on.”
Sean Neary 3rd
“It was horrible out there but it is has been a while since I was on the podium so I am happy with that and more of the same tomorrow.”
After the havoc caused by the wet weather the previous day it was with relief for many that today’s action was held under a blue sky. Leon Morris (Carl Cox Motorsport/P&H Motorcycles) started from pole after setting the fastest lap in Race 1, with Robbie Brown (Boast Plumbing) and Race 1 winner Phil Atkinson (Highsparks Motorsport) making up the remainder of the front row.
As the lights went out Brown made a poor start and lost several places. Morris made the most of his starting position until Atkinson passed him on the second lap to take the lead. Meanwhile Brown was making up for his earlier error, posting the fastest lap of the race at that time and passing Mark Cheetham (Highsparks Motorsport) to move up to fourth.
By lap 3 the top 5 riders of Atkinson, Morris, Neary, Brown and David Ferns (Team DFR) had pulled a 3 second gap over he next group of riders. But despite racing with a heavily bruised foot after a nasty fall yesterday, Rob Guiver (Hyside Motorcycles) was on the move, bringing the lap time down once again eventually moving up to 4th on lap 4.
At mid-race distance Atkinson had a tussle with Morris and Guiver. He ran wide onto the grass. Despite keeping his bike upright the incident denied him any chance of getting a second win and allowed Neary to take the lead.
By Lap 6 the leading trio consisted of Guiver, Brown and Neary with a gap of almost 4 seconds over Jonathon Railton (Boast Plumbing) in 4th. Technical problems saw pole sitter Morris dropping down the pack, while Wesley Pearce (777 Racing/P&H Motorcycles) pulled out of the race altogether at Chapel.
The last couple of laps saw Brown looking for a way past Guiver but he ultimately lost out by just a couple of bike lengths as Guiver took the chequered flag. Neary finished comfortably in 3rd with an 8 second gap over Railton.
Rob Guiver 1st
“What a weekend it has been, I did not expect that this morning with my foot. It was like a balloon, black and blue. I went out on the sighting lap before the race, felt pretty good. I had some pain killers and after the first couple of laps I thought this is alright, but the last few laps the pain just kicked in. The foot was just throbbing and throbbing and I had problems keeping my foot on the pegs around the turns and I expected Robbie Brown to come past so I just gritted my teeth and just tried to hold on. When I was coming round the next bend I thought, you know what I can win this. The emotions were incredible. I was crying my eyes out at the end, so pleased for everyone all the effort they put in rebuilding the bike, it’s all paid off, it’s fantastic.”
Robbie Brown 2nd
“If we look back 12 months I started off the podium on both races so I can’t complain if we carry on like this. I just think we need more dry time on the bike. Early on in the race I was just trying too hard, but I regrouped and had good pace and caught Guiver up but he is just a demon on the brakes. I saw him hanging his foot out on the straight and I thought he is in a lot of pain and he will die out but he didn’t and he deserved that win.”
Sean Neary 3rd
“I am really made up with that and it has made a big difference having Ducati Coventry setting the bike up, it has made a difference in a good way. There are a few areas we need to work on the bike, but the lads at the front just had that bit more on me so fair play. But we will keep working and hopefully we will get there.”
The next round of the Ducati TriOptions Cup takes place at Brands Hatch 20-22 May