After loading up on Friday morning, it didn't take long before we hit delays, but we soon arrived at the (heavily modified since we last visited) Donington Park paddock - where the BEMSEE club were celebrating recently turning 110 years old.
Ignoring the forecast, wet weather decided to visit overnight and we awoke to a wet circuit. Saturday morning was hectic - with the scrutineering of two bikes, two visits to the clothing scrutineer to check gear (as BEMSEE also require a back protector fitted for safety checks), a visit to the race office to sign-on, then swapping the ER650 over to wet tyres - all within 100 minutes!
The Thunderbike Sport qualifying session went well and we qualified in 8th place of 46 entrants - but because they split the entry list into groups it meant that we would start from 4th position on our grid.
When we returned from the MRO600 qualifying we were disappointed. The bike felt fast but we were only 0.7 of a second quicker than our ER650 time when a red flag came out halfway through the session. But after digging in, we managed to put a 1'17 laptime in, which qualified us in 15th position out of the 43 entrants.
Thunderbike Sport Race 1
We got a good start (but missed a shift up to 3rd gear!) and had some great fun battling in the opening three laps before settling into 6th place - which is where we crossed the line - but a rider ahead of us failed post-race tech inspetion and was disqualified, so we were promoted up to 5th place! We also managed to beat our "Supertwin" Personal Best laptime by posting a 1’18.671 lap.
MRO600 Race 1
The 600 race felt a lot more hectic than the Thunderbike Sport race. Despite supposedly being at the event "just for fun", we decided just to push as hard as we could for as long as we could, and finished the race in 13th place and set a new Personal Best laptime of 1'16.440.
We then ventured back to our setup to downloaded the lap data and compared lap times. After looking through the fastest laps for each bike we noticed something interesting - between the Start Line and the initial exit of Coppice, there was only 0.25 of a second difference in lap times between the bikes (despite the 40bhp power difference!). The ZX6R then manages to pull a 1.75 second gap along the remaining two straights...
There were no weather challenges to worry about on the Sunday, as it was dry all day :-)
Thunderbike Sport Race 2
The first race of the day was Thunderbike Sport race 2, where once again we had some great battles. We finished the 10-lap race in 7th position and set another new Personal Best laptime of 1’17.951 - which was almost a full second quicker than the last time we were at Donington Park on the same bike.
Thunderbike Sport Race 3
After a short break we were out on track again, for two 10-lap races in a row! The first race was Thunderbike Sport race 3 where we got a great start and then spent the race being hunted down and passed by riders on quicker 600cc machines. Towards the end of the race we started to catch a couple of riders ahead of us and on the very last corner we fought for an extra position - which we took to finish in 6th place. Looking at the results sheet we were also the first “non-600” across the line on both of our Thunderbike Sport Sunday races, which we are happy with.
MRO600 Race 2
Returning to the paddock slightly exhausted, we jumped straight onto the ZX6R for MRO600 race 2 - which wasn't ideal - but as we were already "up to speed", the opening laps came easily to us and we maintained our position, and even picked up a place! As the race went on, we were caught and passed by two quicker riders. Then, on lap 6 or 7, we started to get tired so took a look behind and saw some open track, so decided to knock the pace a bit. On penultimate lap we took another look behind and saw that two riders had closed the gap, so we put all effort into completing a clean last lap, which we did - to secure another 13th place finish. Even better, we managed to set another Personal Best lap of 1’15.719!