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Round 1 Donington Park Review

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Kyle’s opening round is a strong learning experience

The opening round of this year’s British Superbike season started at the local circuit of Donington Park and the East Midland rider Kyle Ryde was taking his first full ‘dip’ into this very competitive International acclaimed Championship, battling against some of the very best riders in the UK & the World This will see Kyle in his first ever season on a ‘Superbike’ after spending the last two seasons in the World 600cc Supersport series, which is a support series to the World Superbikes.

Kyle’s return to his home domestic series saw him tie the knot with his old Team Owner /Manager Craig Fitzpatrick, who himself was a previous British Superbike rider.  Craig runs the CF Motorsport team with which Kyle won the British Superstock 600cc Championship and also came 2nd in the Supersport Championship prior to his move to the World Series, so they have a wealth of experience of working together.

(Free Practise) Kyle’s weekend started off with a cold start not only to this new experience in ‘Superbikes’ but also with the weather, as one of the coldest Easter weekends for some years decide to sweep in to the country.  Kyle’s first outing on the undulating Park circuit got off to a good start on the Saturday 1st free practise session, with Kyle showing his cards early and setting the 3rd fastest lap of the session. Six times British Champion ‘Shakey Byrne’ was the quickest with Dixon 2nd and Kyle a very respectable 3rd less than 2 seconds off of Shakey’s pace, ahead of Australian ‘Josh Brooke’ and fellow local rider Leon Haslam.  Kyle set his quickest lap early on in the session and with quite a few fallers, the session was halted when ‘Shakeys’ teammate Irwin crashed heavily at Goddard’s and the morning session came to an end.  Sadly the second free practise session later in the afternoon; was to prove a little more difficult for Kyle to improve on his earlier time and was well down the Leader Board in 23rd place, but Sundays Qualifying session is where it all counts & Kyle was hoping to improve a lot on the position and times of todays free practice sessions.

(Qualifying)  After the early morning Free Practise 3 session Kyle was still down in the second half of the Leader board, so with 30 minutes of Qualifying to settle into and still a cold chill over the circuit, he started the arduous task of trying to creep up the ratings, well with 14 laps put in and several fallers again, especially down the infamous ‘Craner Curves’ Kyle managed to slot in to 18th place on the grid, behind Frenchman Sylvain Barrier and one of the fallers Taylor Mackenzie, setting a 1.31.205 minute lap on these very cold track conditions.

(Sundays Race) Kyle’s very first race of the 2018 came on the cold Sunday afternoon of the weekends races and as the pack set off Kyle was looking to improve on his 18th place in qualifying, so was looking to get settled into a structured race that would improve his chances. However; this wasn’t to be and as Kyle and veteran Tommy Bridewell went into the right hander of ‘Mc Leans’ for the 3rd lap of the race, they had a coming together, with both riders having to part company with their machines. Kyle was now having to sit it out for the rest of the race and feeling a bit battered & bruised.

Now with a DNF for the 1st race; Kyle went into Mondays main race feature starting in a lower 23rd position on the grid, hoping that at least with his first race experience behind him he can at least get back into his stride to improve his  race position.

(Mondays Warm-up & Race) With the Track water-logged and the weather not improving much at all, todays meeting for Kyle was going to be a trying one, but during the early afternoon warm-up, Kyle shown signs that the battle scars from yesterdays were not too bad by improving on his time to take 17th quickest during the ¼ hour session.  The race later though; became a ‘hard slog’ for Kyle on this first full Superbike race of the season and with starting at the back of the field it was always going to be a ‘Mountain to climb’ scenario. Kyle’s race was really only going to be towards the rear of the pack and it was here that he spent most of the race battling with TT aces Connor Cummins & William Dunlop and local rider Shaun Winfield, but this proved to be a good learning curve for Kyle and after all the weekends drama’s Kyle managed to bring his machine home in a reputable 19th place ahead of Connor Cummins.

 

Kyle & the CF Motorsport Team are looking to improve race on race and there next outing is to the Historic circuit of Brands Hatch in Kent, this meeting will take place over the shorter Indy circuit and is on the weekend of Friday April 13th to Sunday 15th April.