RYE Motors Racing bagged their first National Endurance win of the season, battling back from a crash to take victory by over two laps.
Brothers Louis Turner-Laurent and Theo Turner-Laurent, along with weekend recruit Matt Waldron, have moved into second in the National 1000 standings after bagging 25 points in a dramatic red-flag-delayed race at Donington Park yesterday.
Championship leaders KT Motorsport qualified on pole, but it was Army Team 1 who powered out to a strong lead of 3.783s after just one lap, with O’reet Mon Racing in tow and KT just behind.
And it took the reigning champs all of 10 laps to cut the military men’s lead to nowt, taking over at the front on lap 11 before the Army boys hit the pits, leaving Team FWR in second.
But disaster struck for KT Motorsport’s Phil Bevan soon after the one-hour mark when, with nearly a minute to spare over the second-placed Rye Motors squad, the Welshman’s gearbox failed and he immediately relinquished the lead.
From there, it was smooth sailing for brothers Louis and Theo Turner-Laurent, along with late recruit Matt Waldron – nearly.
Bevan was back out in action with his issues seemingly repaired, but another failure just after the halfway mark caused an oil spill on track, which left a number of riders, including Rye Motors’ Theo, with nowhere to go as they hit the deck.
Red flags were immediately flown as marshals flocked the circuit to mop up the fluid, and it took the orange army over 40 minutes to declare the tarmac safe again.
Rye Motors assumed the lead once again, and were never out of a winning position as they powered to their first win of 2018, moving up just seven points behind KT Motorsport, who salvaged an impressive fifth after a race plagued with problems.
Waldron, who joined up with the Turner-Laurent boys to bolster their six-hour squad, admitted the field had stepped up its game this year and it was the team’s consistency that ultimately gave them the win.
“We’ve won a few in Clubman and a few in Nationals but the level of competition has been so much higher this year so we’re really please,” he told UK Clubsport.
“We had a couple issues. Theo crashed on someone else’s oil, so that delayed it a little bit, but we were just consistent with our lap times.
“We weren’t the fastest bike out there, but we just chipped away and ended up winning by two laps – so it’s been a really good day.”
Comeback Racing 2’s Mike Goodfellow, John Butler and John Waghorn bagged the runner-up finish, while ADSS Kawasaki men Craig Watson, Chris Platt and Darren Fry completed the overall podium.
Andrew Bishop, Martin Platt, Grant Berry and Sam McFarlane gave Host-it.co.uk the Clubman 1000 win in seventh overall, a lap ahead of National 600 winners and championship leaders Colin Norris, Gaz Evans and Jonathan Lodge of Pertemps Network Racing.
Double Two Racing’s points lead took a small hit after defending Clubman 600 champs Pete Wright and Martyn Siviter were forced to sort out air filter issues on Siviter’s bike mid-race, allowing Datasys Racing’s trio of Karl Freeth, Mark Daines and Sean Kenyon to take the win by just under a minute in 15th overall.
*Main image: UK Clubsport
*Action images: Alex James
*Bottom image: Pertemps Network Racing