|Sean Neary - edging nearer the podium|
After some strong results at Oulton Park myself and the Team were in a positive mood for Donington Park. In addition to that my bike had spent the weeks post Oulton Park at the JHP Ducati Coventry Workshop to resolve the power issues we were experiencing at Oulton Park. My engine was built by Jeff Green at GTEC Performance and there was no doubt that the engine was built to a fantastic standard. However that is only half the job and the bike has to be built correctly to ensure the engine can perform to its potential. Rick Hackett at JHP found a number of issues with the bike including a cracked exhaust manifold, blocked air tubes and a faulty power commander just to mention a few of the issues. With the assistance of JHP we gained another 10BHP which is an unbelievable gain in a one make series like the Ducati 848 Challenge. Massive thanks to Rick at JHP and also Jeff Green for building a bullet proof engine at the start of this season. It’s a little frustrating that we didn’t resolve the other issues earlier in the year as I’ve no doubt the season to date would have been very different had the bike been set up in this way. You live and learn as they say and it's safe to say I will never make a mechanic!
|Held wearer Sean Neary- on it!|
Practice on Friday at Donington was a complete washout so I went and did a few laps to ensure we had a good wet setup if needed. Qualifying on Saturday was interesting to say the least due to the mixed weather conditions. I opted for full wet tyres which in hindsight was a big error as the track was dry for the last 10 minutes of the session. I held 5th until the last 5 minutes when the teams on the dry tyres pushed me back to 12th which is as to be expected.
The bike was absolutely fantastic and credit to everyone involved as this is now a completely different bike to what I have been riding and I now spend my laps with a beaming smile as I still can’t believe the increase in performance!
I would have been better off getting my Mum to perform the start which I did in race 1!!!! Absolute shocker which saw me 20th in turn 1. I fought back to 7th and had a great race long battle with Deane Brown and Daniel Fowler. I missed a gear on the final lap which put paid to my challenge for 6th place. Given the start and the work I had to do I was reasonably happy with the final result and still buzzing about the performance of the bike. I also set the 7th fastest lap of the race meaning a promotion on the grid for race 2.
A much better start saw me 6th on lap one. I managed to get back past Ben Field on lap 2 and began to close in on the leading group. As I remember thinking we were in the hunt for some serious podium action I lost the front at the final turn on lap 2. Absolutely gutted does not do justice to the way I feel after that. These boys are the quickest in the country so I have to ride on the limit to be in with a chance. I don’t think my front tyre was quite up to temperature as they held us on the grid for a while but that said this was down to rider error, so I hold my hands up. I must say the Held Clothing kept me in great condition and I didn’t end up with a scratch. The Held Evo suit has had contact with the tarmac on more than 5 occasions over the last couple of years and they are still in 100% condition to protect me.
I was disappointed for the Team as for the first time this year that bike is capable of winning and I really can’t fault the effort of all involved. That’s racing as they say so we move on!
Assen is 2 weeks away and I can safely say I have never been so excited for a race in all my life! The bike is an absolute joy to ride and I am confident we can be challenging up front. Get me on that ferry now!
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