Eazi Grip

Royal Navy Royal Marines Road Race Team Donington Park Report

Donnington Park GP Race Report, April 11th – 14th by AB Andrew Stuart
Situated just outside of a small town called Melbourne, lies Donnington Park. One of the UK’s most renowned racetracks. Famous for its speed, Craner Curves and the British Superbikes. A must do experience for any bike rider. For this round the team consisted of some familiar faces, such as, team manager Adam Myhill on his trusty Yamaha R6, Alan Curtis on the team’s BMW S1000RR for the first time, Natalie Cro (Nat) on her beautiful Honda CB500 and Harry Morris on his newly built Honda CB500 as well as his Honda CBR600. New riders Liam Sutherland on his Kawasaki Ninja 600, and Andrew Stuart (Andy) on his BMW S1000RR also participated. Joining us for the race weekend were team mum Tiff and honorary team member John.
No Limits Racing set up two track days prior to the race weekend for all riders to familiarise themselves with the track layout. Adam and Alan arrived late Wednesday night to set up and prepare for the loud track day on Thursday. Arriving early Thursday morning was Andy. keen to make up lost ground after a technical fault forced him to drop out of Snetterton. The 3 of us signed on, prepped our bikes and waited for the sessions to start. The first session went without any major issues, but there was a lot of traffic on the circuit meaning we would have to have our wits about us.
The second session was a little more interesting. The three of us went out following one another to see what we could learn from each other. However, Andy suffered a minor issue chasing Alan down the home straight, where he hit a false neutral whilst braking and subsequently ran into the gravel trap at Redgate corner. After some bike checks and lunch all 3 were back out again in the afternoon where Alan shaved 7 seconds off his lap times!
Arriving Thursday night was Nat, ready for her track time Friday morning. Once again it was a busy track, with Nat having to fight her way around whilst dealing with much faster and bigger bikes. Nat also saw progress with her laps and gained a lot of confidence in her machine. Friday night Harry, Liam and John arrived ready for the race weekend.
Saturday Race Day:
We all awoke to a lovely Saturday morning. A Brisk track walk and some tyre changes for the super sticky Pirelli Superbike slicks and Michelin Power Cup 2’s saw the riders ready for qualifying. However, a sudden change in weather caused some mayhem meaning there was a scramble to get wets on the bikes before qualifying!
Newcomer 600 and Pre-injection 600 (Liam and Adam):
With 40 riders on a wet greasy track the team were in for a tough qualifying session. With 10 mins on the clock, the lads went out and fought long and hard for their times. deciding not to take risks Adam qualified 29th/6th in class with a 2:02.4 and Liam 33rd with a 2:03.5. Race 1 saw a dry, sunny track with Liam finish having maintained 33rd with a good time (1:52.9), whilst Adam finished 30th and 7th in class with a time of 1:51.3. It’s amazing what a dry track can do.
CB500s (Nat and Harry):
Thanks to the weather change and the other qualifying sessions, the track was dry. Once again 41 riders on track, Nat and Harry had to work hard to get the results they needed. Having both put a strong effort in Nat qualified 40th/17th in class (2:13) whilst harry fought with his CB500 to qualify 28th/15th in class (1:58). Race 1 saw the two riders fight hard for their positions and lap times. Nat finished 37th/16th in class (2:11.4) and Harry 27th/13th in class (1:55.9). During his time on track, Harry started to develop some issues with his bike which would’ve resulted in him not competing, but thankfully, honorary team member John had a spare bike with him which he kindly borrowed Harry for the remaining races.
Newcomer 1000 and Street bikes (Andy)
Once again, a dry but very busy qualifying session saw Andy out with 42 other riders. Never having ridden or raced at Donnington nerves were high. With 10mins on the clock saw Andy set a 2:02 on his first lap but settled in nicely qualifying 39th/31st in class (1:54.6). Race 1 was an experience. A first ever race start on a bike that he has never ridden before. Thankfully, he remained calm and pulled away. The end of the race saw Andy place 36th/30th in class with a 1:49.5.
Sunday Race Day:
The team were up bright and early Sunday morning getting ready for the Interservices qualifying session. Thankfully the weather held overnight and it was going to be a beautiful yet eventful day for racing!
Newcomer 600 and Pre-injection 600 (Liam and Adam):
With positions set from race 1 the lads were eager to get racing. However, after some major technical issues with Adams bike during race 1 and qualifying, saw his head gasket to fail, putting Adam’s race weekend was in doubt. Thankfully team mate Alan had brought his trusty Yamaha R6 with him so after some quick fairing and ergonomic changes Adams weekend was saved.
The two went out trying to improve on the previous race. Liam went out and saw an improvement in race 2 placing him 35th/28th in class (1:49). Adam set a new pb (1:50) and placed 33rd/ 7th in class.
Race 3 saw only Liam go racing as Adam had some admin to do changing bikes back. Liam raced hard, like a different rider and managed an impressive (1:49.1) placing him 26th/20th in class for the weekend.
CB500s (Nat and Harry):
Nat and Harry took to the track for another 3 races! Its a long Sunday for these two! Race saw Nat improve her time finishing 36th/15 in class (2:08.2), however harry had an issue with the bike and retired after the first lap. After some elbow grease Harry was back on the track for race 3, but after race 1’s result he started 39th on the grid. after an impressive ride Harry finished 15th/10th in class (1:52.1) and Nat sadly lost a couple places finishing 38th/16th in class (2:08.5). Race 4 saw both riders go out for the final time in a bid to improve. Harry finished Race for in an impressive 13th/10th in class (1:52.3) whilst Nat maintained 38th/17th in class (2:12.4).
Newcomer 1000 and Street bikes (Andy):
The Second ever race for Andy saw him try launch control for the first time. safe to say it didn’t go well and activated it too early meaning when race 2 started he just pulled away very slowly. Great! However, all was not lost as he managed to compose himself and get in with the race. Andy finished race 2 34th/25th in class (1:47.6). his confidence around the track and on the bike was increasing. However, due to a mishap in the Interservices race he didn’t compete in race 3.
Interservices Qualifying and Race:
The team was eager to go out to prove what everyone could do. Another 37 riders on track saw some hard-fought lap times. Alan led the pack with an impressive 13th on the grid (1:46.3), followed by Harry in 17th (1:47.1) on his CBR600. Next up, Adam 21st (1:49.3) and Andy 22nd (1:49.7), with four tenths separating the two it was on! Nat qualified 36th (2:13.3), bringing qualifying to a close.
The race was on and Harry got a very good start gaining several positions quickly. Andy successfully used his launch control and wheelied past Adam, over taking Alan too and gained a few places before Alan stole back his position. Liam and Nat both had strong starts gaining positions before the first corner. This had the makings of an eventful race. Unfortunately, lap 2 saw Alan crash out at the Fogarty Esses right infront of Andy (lots of tumbling around in the gravel). all riders were putting in some hard battles, keen to prove their abilities over the other forces. Sadly, on the last lap Andy lost grip on the rear wheel whilst going through McClean’s corner and ditched the bike in the gravel losing 15th position and ultimately ending his weekend. The good news to this is that he set his new PB during the race (1:44). Thankfully the rest of the team finished with Harry 13th, Liam 21st, Adam 23rd, and Nat 31st. Both Alan and Andy are ok after their crashes and the bikes only suffered cosmetic damage.
It was certainly an experience for all riders involved. New memories made and some bikes broken, but that’s all part of the fun. Hopefully, Adam, Alan and Andy can all get their bikes back up and running before round 3 at Cadwell Park 23rd-26th May 2024. Thank you once again to team mum Tiff for looking after us over the weekend, all those who support us throughout the year and our sponsors who without whom we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
See you at Cadwell Park!

Posted on Monday, May 13th, 2024 in News

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