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Damon Rees – BSB Round 1 UPDATE
Well, what a weekend! I am so happy to be sitting here, writing you this email after one incredible weekend at Round 1 of BSB at Donington Park!
I was still a bit nervous after the BSB Official Test as yes, I had finally ridden against my fellow Superstock 1000 competitors, but racing them is a whole other story. But, I was confident in my ability and I knew that I could be competitive. And as we know now, I sure was competitive!
The Free Practice day on Friday was a really good day to just get into a groove, put in some solid laps and make any required changes to the bike. I ended up 12th fastest for the day, which I was a little disappointed with at first, as my aim has always been to be in the Top 10… but once I had a look at the timing sheets, and worked out I was only 0.4 off the lead pace, I knew that if I had a solid qualifying, anything could be possible!
Heading into qualifying, I was quietly confident. I was feeling good in the opening laps, and made a pit-stop to put in a new rear tyre before going out for a flying lap. It didn’t go as planned, as there was a lot of traffic on track after my pit-stop, which meant it took me a little longer to have the opportunity to put in a good lap. Eventually I got some clear track, and went for it! Posting a 1.07.990 – 0.3 off the lead pace! The time put me 4th on the grid for racing, and I was over the moon with the result!
Going into Race 1, I knew I was in for a shot on the podium. I was a bit nervous about the start, as I had only practice-started the BMW a handful of times, but the bike got off the line beautifully! I went straight into 2nd place, and even got into the lead for a short moment, before slipping back into 2nd. I unintentionally faded a little mid-way before regathering myself and riding really consistently until the chequered flag. I couldn’t believe that I had made the podium in my debut BSB Race, but I also knew that I had put in the hard yards to be here, persevering through a lot, so it was really cool to see our hard work pay off!
Sunday ended up being a really long day… Race 2 started off well, I was sitting in 3rd off the start, but unfortunately, my team-mate Shane Richardson had a mechanical, which caused a pretty big crash – resulting in a Red Flag. Luckily, he was alright, and the race was restarted quickly. I obviously got a little flustered after the red-flag, I had a good start, but just wasn’t firing as quick as I would have hoped. But yet again, only a few laps in, there was another red-flag after my good mate Richard Cooper had a horrible crash coming out of the final turn. Unfortunately he has some pretty bad injuries. The organisers chose to reschedule our race until 5.50pm, so that they could stick to the TV schedule for Superbikes. Although it was a long delay, I was able to regroup, and I was feeling really good going into the race! The race was reduced from 22 to 14 laps.
I had another great start, sitting in 2nd. But, I had a few rough laps mid-race and slipped back to 7th place. I wasn’t going to give up, and I felt like I had a lot more in me, so put the hammer down and started charging! A few little mistakes by the riders ahead of me, aided me to go from 5th to 3rd within 1 lap and I had managed to pull a decent gap. I stayed cool, calm and collected, and finished 3rd… another podium! I was feeling great, and the bike was handling amazing, I truly think if the race was a few laps longer, I would have been in for the lead!
Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. It’s been a very rough few months, but it’s all worth it now that we are underway. I can’t thank you all enough for your support, and I will try to keep the momentum going into Round 2 at Snetterton in two weeks!
Here’s Episode 3 of “Damon Rees – Kiwi Invasion of the BSB” I hope you enjoy it! I will be posting it to my Facebook page Tuesday night (NZ Time).
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