Could club racing be set for a new Ducati series?

In Features, No Limits
DAvid Shoubridge UK Clubsport

A NEW Ducati series has been mooted for 2018, aimed at giving club racers a new arena to showcase their Italian machinery.

The idea is the brainchild of Mupo Suspension guru Dave Croft, who wants to create an all-new championship on standalone grids for 899 and 959 riders.

Croft, who himself falls among the ‘disenchanted’ having moved up to the national level series this year, believes a new series is necessary to give riders a competitive space to race.

Dave Croft Ducati
Dave Croft wants to enjoy racing his Ducati again…

“It’s not reinventing the wheel, it’s about giving Ducati riders somewhere they can race each other without being compromised on track time or having to spend tens of thousands of pounds to often not even qualify.”

Croft was among dozens of last year’s club regulars who took the step up to the Ducati TriOptions Cup this season, but dropped out as the season wore on.

For many it proved to be a culture shock as they sacrificed the amount of track time that club racing provides for just a small few track sessions over three days, and for others, trying to qualify against lap times set by the championship frontrunners proved too difficult.

This led to many packing up early on race weekends and heading home, before eventually quitting the series.

“I feel we need something to cater for all those riders like me who feel disenchanted with their move to the Ducati TriOptions Cup,” said Croft. “A lot of riders were disappointed with how it panned out, things like how it is organised, the lack of track time, and then having to try and qualify against lap times by riders as fast as Joe Collier.

“I know you can’t complain about the standard being too high when you’re in the BSB paddock, but I feel that many of the riders in there are normal people with normal jobs who just want to race their Ducati, and because there isn’t anywhere else, feel it’s the only place they can go.

Paddock nice guy James Dunne was among the others who quit the series mid-season…

“When you have to allocate about seven days away to go to Assen and then get less than two hours on track, then it loses its attraction for people like me who just want a competitive field to race in.”

Croft’s idea comes just months since No Limits launched its ill-fated Ducati Cup championships, which were later axed due to dwindling grids.

But the Mupo man believes a standalone grid  would be a big help in boosting numbers, and is also keen to make the rules simple.

“I think running to open rules to allow tuning and getting the very most out of the bikes would be the way to go. That way we wouldn’t have to worry about cheating, which is impossible to police at club level.

The 2017 Ducati TriOptions Cup proved a step too far for many club riders…

“It would be open to 899 and 959s and we’d run it over five rounds with two races per round. Ideally we’d have it at tracks better suited to the bikes – Cadwell, Donington, Oulton, Anglesey and Snetterton and ensure we had a decent amount of free practice time, qualifying and then the races.

“At the end of the day I just want to race my bike, and I’m not alone. There are plenty of people with unused 899s wanting to race and I think this is the solution. I’m confident we could get the interest and make it a success.”

Croft has already floated the idea by No Limits bosses and is in talks with other clubs and organisations, and hopes to have something in place before the start of 2018.

*Main image: John Manclark

*Dave Croft headshot: Alex James

James Dunne image: Highsparks Motorsport

TriOptions Cup image: Ducati TriOptions Cup

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