Round 8 Race Report – Brands Hatch GP
This weekend was a journey down to Kent for the eighth round of the British Superbike season at Brands Hatch. It was only Kurt competing at this event due to twin brother Matt being kept in hospital following the crash at Thruxton, the previous round. He is recovering quickly and is optimistic about a fast return.
Kurt and the team had a terrific beginning to the weekend starting with Fridays practice session, as Brands is not one of Kurt’s favorite circuits he was feeling skeptical about how the session would pan out therefore established a plan to gradually build throughout. He remained on track for the entire session, each lap feeling more comfortable and bringing down the times to a finish of P5.
The afternoon brought the first qualifying session which was structured similar to practice with the aim of building up to the final lap. Kurt managed to get into the top 10 before entering the pits for assistance from Mark, Go Racing Developments. A few changes to the Sorrymate.com Yamaha’s suspension set up saw Kurt obliterate his personal best lap time putting him in a P2 finish. This was a fantastic result especially because it was achieved on old scrub tyres, however, Saturdays qualifying times was guaranteed to improve.
We had no further changes to make to the bike for qualifying 2 in regards to the suspension as Kurt was pleased with the handling. The only change to be made was midway through the session Kurt planned to pit for a new rear tyre giving him the best opportunity for the final laps. After planning to use the front tyre from Thruxton’s race, we were disappointed to discover the tear in the sidewall meaning it could no longer be used. Thankfully, a supportive competing team in the paddock, Joe Goggins, gave us one of his used tyres for the session as our budget is already greatly stretched. Q2 began in accordance with our plan with Kurt warming up and entering the pits half way through. Whilst in the pits the red flag was deployed and around 10 minutes was deducted from the session meaning a 5 lap race to secure a strong qualifying position. After losing a few positions one of our final laps planted the team back on the front row with a P3 finish.
The lead up to the race was tense for us all as we had a growing determination to once again take that podium finish if not win. As the lights went out Kurt took to the inside of turn 1 temporarily taking the lead but immediately running wide opened the door to 4 of his rivals. The end of the first lap saw Kurt in 5th place with some hard work to do as he was chased down by another two. The battle continued as he pushed his way through to 3rd and even temporarily 2nd until running wide following the overtaking maneuver. P1 and P2 began to break away over the open GP part of the circuit where we struggled with the bike being down in the speed traps leaving a 3 man fight for 3rd. As we crossed the line for lap 11, Tom Ward put an overtake on Kurt into paddock hill bend to take the number 3 spot for a split second before Kurt pulled the bend exit tight and took advantage of the wide line Tom had taken to regain the position. Moments later the race was red flagged cutting the final 2 laps and putting us on the podium again in 3rd place for round 8 of the season. The whole team are thrilled with the close race and that once again we were able to spray the champagne.