Eazi Grip

Royal Navy and Royal Marine Road Race Team report from Donington Park

RD4 Thundersport GB Donnington Park CPO Adam Myhill

I have been part of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Motorsport Association since 2015 when I joined the Royal Navy Karting Team. I competed in the Interservice Endurance Karting Championship for two years and thoroughly enjoyed myself, but my real passion has always been motorbikes. At this point I had never owned or even ridden a motorbike but at the age of 35 I was determined to get my licence.

I passed my big bike test in Feb 2016 and have never looked back, and once I was confident on the road; I attended the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Road Racing Team Grass Roots Trackday at Mallory Park in 2019 and I was absolutely hooked. The riders were amazing at coaching us to gain confidence on the track and I left the event hungry for more. I was asked by the team captain to become Pitcrew/Crewchief for the past two seasons and have worked hard to ensure that all the rider’s machines are safe to compete.

Since being with the Road Racing Team I have done 5 more track days and although I was apprehensive going racing, all the team have been extremely supportive and encouraging. I finally decided to take the plunge at Donnington Park because I was familiar with the track.

I spent the Friday test day familiarising myself with the bike and Donnington park circuit, having experienced racers on similar machinery made it so much more beneficial than just doing a track day. I was able to follow others and slowly I gained confidence throughout the day.

Saturday Morning was Qualifying, and it was my first real opportunity to compare my ability to the other riders and I was pleasantly surprised to end up 23rd of 27 in the 500 Freshman Class with a 1:29.895 lap time.

My FIRST ever motorcycle race was a nerve-racking event, the Freshman Riders were combined with the Veterans to make a grid of 40 and I started 37th. Launching off the line and towards Redgate, I tentatively followed the chaos ahead of me and was shocked to see people throwing their bikes at the scenery on the first lap. I spent the race chasing the riders ahead of me, desperately seeing where I could gain time but with the whole weekend ahead of me, I was reluctant to take any risks and finished 32nd (19th in Class), but also last over the line.

Race 2 commenced in a very different way, I got a much better start and gained a few places but as we hurtled into turn 1, I saw a bike ahead be catapulted through the air and a rider on my inside sat his bike up which resulted in both of us quickly heading for the gravel trap. I managed to keep the bike upright and slowly trudged back to the track, but the race was then red flagged. Lining up on the grid again I was determined to be more aggressive and subsequently fluffed the start, much to my annoyance. My anger at myself motivated me to push harder and I manged to pass two other riders to finish 31st (19th in Class) and NOT last!

I made some changes to the bike overnight and went into Sunday looking to go faster and Race 3 did not disappoint. I was careful on the first two laps and once the chaos had settled down, I got my head down and pushed. In the following 8 laps I passed 6 other riders and coupled with other incidents I finished 26th (16th in Class) and improved on my Qualifying lap by 2.4s with a personal best of 1:27.518.

Race 4 was absolute carnage with 9 of 36 riders failing to finish. I started well but got stuck in a battle with another rider which meant we got split from the pack and once past him, I was unable to bridge the gap to the other riders and finished 25th (14th in Class).

The final race on Sunday was the British Military Inter Services and being on my little 50hp CB500 against 1000cc and 600cc sports bikes meant that I had little hope of gaining positions, but ultimately, I was very proud to even be on the grid. With the Majority of the Grid being 10-15 seconds a lap faster than me, my main challenge was being safely lapped by these faster machines. I decided to make sure that I consistently kept to the racing line so that the other riders could easily predict where I would be on the track and thankfully, I completed the race with only one close call. Starting 32nd on the Grid finished 28th Overall. Entering Parc Ferme after the race and surrounded by the team that had encouraged me to take the next step, I was immensely proud and have never been so happy.

As we departed the track my mind switched to how can I improve, I will make changes to the bike, but I am so much more motivated to exercise to slim down and be physically stronger on the bike.

Roll on Round 5 at Anglesey in August.

Posted on Monday, August 9th, 2021 in News

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