THINK! competition winner reports from Donington Park

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MCN THINK! competition winner, Tim Pritchard was lucky enough to report from the British Superbikes round at Donington Park and came face to face with some racing legends.

Read Tim’s report here: 

And so it was that having entered and won the THINK! competition, myself and fellow photographer, Rob Brookes found ourselves at Donington Park for the British Superbike Championships as “reporters”.

Rob had never even been to a race circuit before, yet is a massive motorsport fan. It was great then, that we could mince around in the VIP hospitality suite and pretend that we were important. We weren’t.

The weather was dry, but overcast on occasion, with the threats of rain potentially making tyre choice something of a Weston Supermare for the teams and riders.

We hooked up with our contact, Jonathon Bates, but not before meeting the friendly and very likeable Harley Stephens, who casually remarked that his father was none other than tuning legend, Stan. Cool.

Having admired the personalities of the promo girls, we set about the task of finding out just who had done what in qualifying etc, as we’d both been busy at work on the Friday and Saturday, so we didn’t have a clue what had been happening to be honest.

It turned out that Tom Sykes had grabbed his maiden pole position, which was terrific news for the likeable lad, and a sign that he’s turning into the Superbike rider his early form promised.

In between races, I was running around trying to get any rider I could to pull daft faces into my Polaroid and sign it afterwards. They were all great sports, but gurn of the day went to the fantastically up for it Cal Crutchlow.

To their credit, they all signed them without letting them develop first. It’s moments like these that make you realise what great characters we have in this sport, and if fun loving crazy guys like that lend their weight to the THINK! campaign, then you know it’s something that should be given serious consideration, every time you ride.

For the Superbike races, we positioned ourselves near the big screen. The atmosphere was full of high anticipation, despite the cooling nature of the brisk winds that had appeared.

From the start it was clear that Leon Haslam had serious pace, and the corner speed he carried compared to the Hondas and other four cylinder bikes around him was astonishing.

Having dispensed with the fast starting and popular race leader, Chris Walker, he dealt with Johnny Rea and tried to make a run for it. Rea closed him down though, and nearly took them both out after a sideways, crossed up overtaking manoeuvre had both Haslam and Rea off the edge of the track.

 The crowd’s eyes reduced from dinnerplate radius back to normal size, and Haslam got on with trying to retake the lead . He managed it within a surprisingly short space of time, using the enormous drive he was getting from the Ducati to set himself up for outbraking moves.

It was a hugely popular win, made even more dramatic and consequential for the title chase by the exit of Kiyonari at Goddards , who was torpedoed by Cal Crutchlow. The Stobart boys finished off the other two podium positions.

In the second race it was more of the same drama with Haslam taking a very timely double win, and Kiyonari just salvaging enough points to keep him as title favourite.

It’s all to play for now though, and has set up a thrilling end to the season for riders and fans alike.

Tom Sykes missed out on his first race win by an agonisingly minute amount of time, but with his confidence growing, It’ll only be a matter of time before he converts pole to win.

Huge thanks to the lovely bunch of guys at THINK! for a splendid day out. Cheers.