Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park

NZ's premier motorsport and driver training facility

Damon Rees – BSB Round 2 UPDATE

Hi guys!

Another round of BSB is done & dusted, and although it wasn’t as good as Round 1 – I still had a blast!

I luckily had a test day at Snetterton before the round – so knew what to expect, but testing and racing can be two very different things!

The Free Practice sessions on Friday were used as an opportunity to work on our bike set-up and continue to learn more about the track. It was really really windy, which seemed to affect my confidence a bit. I rounded out the timesheets 15th fastest with a 1.53.094 – not exactly where I wanted to be, but it was a good starting point. You could see from the times that the wind had been an issue for everyone, as the lap times weren’t as fast as expected.

Saturday was Qualifying day. I had a good sleep and re-group overnight, and was feeling really good! I had also spent some time watching onboard footage and racing available on Youtube to improve my track knowledge. The wind was still really gusty, and it was scheduled to be at its worst around lunchtime – exactly when our qualifying session was to commence! The session started well, I did a few out-laps, before returning to pit-lane to put-in a new rear-tyre. I then went back out, and really felt like I had my “groove” back. I managed to end the session 9th fastest with 1.51.909, a very decent improvement from Free Practice, and enough to put me on the 3rd row of the grid for racing. I was a little disappointed, as I made a mistake on my flying lap, which stopped me from posting an improved laptime. But overall, I was really happy with my progression.

Sunday consisted of a 12 lap race. Luckily, the wind had died down a lot, and didn’t seem like it would be an issue for the race. I got off to a solid start, holding my start position in the opening laps. I was feeling great, and actually posted my personal best lap time of 1.50.363 on lap 3, which was the fastest lap overall for 2 or 3 laps! As the race went on, I started to notice that our suspension set-up wasn’t suited for the faster speeds and times. I hadn’t gone as fast as I did in the race all weekend, and therefore we weren’t able to make the necessary changes in order to cater for the increased speed. I started to lose the front a lot and had one major close-call that ALMOST resulted in a crash. I had to make the tough decision to settle and prioritise safety over progression – in some cases, it’s far better to finish a race, than it is to push, and risk crashing… especially when it’s so early in the Championship! I passed the chequered flag in 10th, a very solid result, which allowed me to bag some very important points. I am now 3rd in the Superstock 1000 Class, just 16 points behind the Championship leader – Tom Neave.

Overall, I am really happy with the weekend. Of course, I would have ideally wanted to finish on the podium like I did at Donington, but, it was a great weekend where I constantly progressed. I’m now really excited to get to Round 3 at Silverstone, and see what I can do there! I am feeling confident going into Round 3, as I am getting a good amount of track-time ahead of the round. We went to Oulton Park yesterday to test, it was a very wet, windy, and successful day. The team then goes to Castle Coombe for a media test-day next Wednesday. This extra riding should put me in good stead for Silverstone!

Here’s the link to Episode four of “Damon Rees – Kiwi Invasion of the BSB” – I really tried to keep this episode light-hearted but still honest, it wasn’t the best weekend, but I am so thankful to be here chasing my dreams, so no matter what, I’m just happy to be here!


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