THE UPS AND DOWNS OF MOTORSPORT WERE IN FULL SWING ACROSS THE CONTINENT AS OUT RICH ENERGY AMBASSADORS SWUNG IN TO ACTION IN HOLLAND, BELGIUM, AND THE UK
Our RICH Energy ambassadors were out in force across Europe over the weekend as Honda WorldSBK star Alvaro Bautista took to the track at Assen in Holland while British F3 challenger, Max Marzorati, was at Spa-Francorchamps, another legendary circuit, and young Junior Supersport contender, Lewis Jones, was keeping sharp at Donington Park ahead of a return to action at the same circuit in three weeks. It was a mixed weekend of results for our ambassadors in their respective disciplines, such is the nature of motorsport.
In Holland, former MotoGP rider, Alvaro Bautista, returned to track action with his Honda World Superbike squad for three races around the ‘Cathedral of Speed’. The home of the Dutch TT is one of the most iconic circuits in motorcycling and one that is enjoyed by every rider who races there. With a better qualifying behind him, Bautista was keen to make his 10th place grid position count but an unfortunate crash in Race 1 on the opening lap curtailed any progress he hoped to make.
Sunday’s opening Superpole race was another one to forget for the Spaniard as he once again crashed out on the opening lap of the race, this time from an ever-improving 6th place. There is an air of optimism growing in the Honda camp that, despite the two crashes, the potential of the Honda CBR1000RR-R FireBlade is increasingly being realised. Bautista’s final attempt to put that theory into practice came in Race 2, the final race of the weekend, and he seized the opportunity with both hands; showing that the previous cameos were no fluke, he brought his steed home in a solid 5th place to record his best result of the season so far and vital championship points in the bag.
Also in action at Assen were World Sidecar pair, Tim Reeves and Kevin Rousseau. The multiple World Champion was determined to continue his solid run after a good outing at Donington Park put paid to bad luck earlier in the season. Unfortunately for Reeves and Rousseau the bad luck was to return as, after a strong qualifying session placed the Kent driver 3rd on the grid, the rest of the weekend didn't work out quite so well. A fourth-place finish in the first race of the weekend was scant consolation for a hard race in which the pair were battling for the podium positions when a coming together with another outfit left Reeves on the grass, losing out on a podium finish in front of a small but appreciative Dutch crowd. Race two on Sunday was another story of bad luck returning to haunt the pair. Despite a strong start and looking good in the podium battle, an electrical issue on the outfit cut the race short, leaving Reeves once again to contemplate what might have been.
Over in the Ardennes region of Belgium nestles a circuit that stirs the soul of motorsport fans everywhere - Spa Francorchamps. A ribbon of tarmac that winds its way around the valley, home to the legendary La Source hairpin and the breath-taking Eu Rouge section, where courage is king but the line between success and failure is thin. For Max Marzorati and his CDR British F3 team, it was a difficult weekend in Belgium as after a great result last time out at Donington Park, the rookie was full of confidence and determination for a repeat performance this weekend, but unfortunately the results were hard to come by. Marzorati struggled in each of the three races, coming away from the weekend licking his wounds and looking to reset and go again at the next round at Snetterton, Norfolk in a fortnight.
At Donington Park, RICH Energy-backed Lewis Jones used his weekend off to effective use at his local circuit as he gained precious track time ahead of his return to the circuit in three weeks. Jones was on form at the Thundersport GB event winning two races in his class before a spill in morning warm-up bent the forks on his machine, curtailing any further participation in the weekend's action. It was a useful time for Jones around the circuit that hosted the first four races of the Championship in early July, with more set-up information gleaned and a big confidence boost despite the off, as the championship returns to action this weekend at Thruxton in Hampshire.