Unpredictable was an apt word to describe today’s weather at the Donington Park Grand Prix circuit, for day one of the penultimate round of the 2020 British Superbike Championship.
The opening BSB practice session saw Championship leader Glenn Irwin place second quickest, just 0.241 shy of former North West 200 lap record holder Josh Brookes.
Irwin who’s intending to tackle the fabled, mythical Mountain Course for the first time in 2021, went onto finish seventh quickest in a wet weather drenched FP2.
ON1 Racing’s Brian McCormack enjoyed his best BSB showing of 2020 in FP2, finishing despite an incident, a very creditable 13th quickest.
World’s fastest road racer Peter Hickman 24th quickest, had better fortunes in the prior free practice session, finishing 15th on the timing screens, third in terms of BMW mounted racers.
Third fastest within the first Superstock 1000 practice session, 16 times TT winner Ian Hutchinson was soon after revealed to be standing in for Brad Ray at Synetiq BMW for the remainder of this weekend’s competition, following the aforementioned Ray sustaining an unfortunate leg injury.
Hutchinson’s opening outing with the TAS Racing run Synetiq BMW squad, for which he was due to compete at TT 2020, saw him finish a respectable 20th in BSB FP2.
Supersport wise, Ashcourt Racing’s Lee Johnston showed a consistent turn of pace, finishing fourth fastest in today’s timed practice stints.
Fellow countryman Alastair Seeley placed second best GP2 runner in FP1 whilst twice TT winner Gary Johnson, piloting a Pepsi titled sponsored 675R Daytona Triumph quietly impressed on his return to BSB Supersport action.
Alongside Ian Hutchinson’s previously showcased strong performance, Honda Racing’s Davey Todd also before a slip off in free practice number two, looked in good fettle placing ninth on the FP1 times sheet, finishing just over 0.7 behind team mate Tom Neave.
Adam McLean respectively finished 9th, 8th quickest in the National Superstock 600 Championship timed practice sessions whilst Molson Group British Sidecar Championship qualifying saw a host of three wheeling roads royalty star.
Taking the qualifying spoils after an excellent display in pretty tricky conditions were Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough ‘King Pins’, Team A.R.C’s Lee Crawford/Scott Hardie.
Multi TT rostrum finishers Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley, having their first race outing of 2020, (Thanks to Mark Dennis for the information) qualified a fine fourth.
The Ramsden’s Steve & Matty qualified 12th, one place behind them was another next generation Southern 100, TT Races crew, Silicone Barnes Racing’s Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney.
Words by Stevie Rial