Get Your Neal Down – Donington R11 2019

Y’know, I have mixed feelings about this time of year. I love the misty mornings, those with a definite chill in the air as the summer greens turn to the reds, oranges and yellows of Autumn (yeah, and then the fallen leaves making it almost impossible to distinguish between leaf pile and something more sinister… eugh!). What I don’t like, REALLY (ooooh caps, get you!) don’t like, is the fact that it’s the twilight of the Bennett’s British Superbike Championship – yes, boooooooo, indeed – where just five more races remain to decide the destination of the biggest domestic championship in the world.

Assen was, maybe unsurprisingly given he topped every session including Warm Up, the Scott Redding Show. Imperious at a track he knew well and had made some fabulous memories at in his Grand Prix career, he really made it count and retook the top slot in the title race. If we look at circuits that hold memories for Scott, a return to the scene of his brightest memory as mentioned when this “wonderfully-written column” (thanks, mum!) began back in late May, there could be another giant leap forward again this weekend. But the massed ranks of the BSB grid will be out to stop him!

Jason O’Halloran found form at Assen, Tommy Bridewell was his usual threat to podium positions whereas Josh Brookes faltered in Race 2, not even making the podium. Danny Buchan will be looking to continue his push for third in the standings while Peter Hickman and a disappointing Tarran Mackenzie battle it out as the best of the rest. Honda duo Fores and Irwin put on a great show back in May so I expect more of a fight from those boys as well as Tyco BMW pair Iddon and Mackenzie…no not the little one, the taller blond one…he’s made the switch to the factory BMW team as well as campaigning the Batham’s BMW, too (nothing like getting your moneys-worth of track time, eh! Scottish to the bone, that lad…)

Rumours are abound of the movers and shakers for BSB 2020; is Leon Camier returning to the fold after blitzing everyone in 2009 and winning the championship with what felt like half a season to spare and subsequently causing the organisers to introduce the Showdown format thereafter. Will reigning champ Leon Haslam return? He was rumoured to be heading to Puccetti Kawasaki in WSBK but they’re looking for a sponsor first before announcing anything and time may not be on the Derbyshire man’s side. It’s a bit of a silly Silly Season so far, Irwin, G. departed Tyco BMW after Assen, Gino Rea (no relation to the other Rea #5star) returns on the MV Agusta and JE77 replaces JE10 at OMG Racing – ELL for ELT in telly timing terms. There are other moves afoot but I’d be shot at dawn if I told you now. Time will tell…

So, after a good close inspection of the track on Wednesday morning by yours truly and the Xpress Coffee crew at the Ron Haslam Race School, I can confirm that it’s all rubbered in and ready to go! Sadly upon cleaning the flies off the back of my helmet and putting the timing sundial away it was decreed that we’d leave the racing to the experts as my 2-minute lap aboard a Honda Fireblade apparently just won’t cut it…but it was a huge amount of fun, nevertheless. And wow do those boys work hard!

Enjoy it, wherever you watch from

PC

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