Race Report by David Vardy from VrDMotorsport:
The scene was set as we returned to Donington for the second time this year. Nige Rushby would be celebrating his Birthday on the Friday so the mood in camp was good. Following the recent troubles at Oulton Park and Anglessey, nothing less than a strong race weekend would do for the final charge to the championship. But they do say things comes in threes and what happens next gave us proof that this theory was as real as the significant challenge now set to win the Thundersport Elite Championship.
The 2.5 mile GP circuit at Donington is one that sits as a favourite to many racer. With the bravest taking Hollywood flat out through Craner Curves into the Old Hairpin hard on the brakes, the long straights leading into the Foggy Esses and down into the Melbourne Hairpin really make this track one to enjoy.
This would be our second visit this season to Donington and the previous round was one to forget with Jordan coming away with just 16 points in total from that triple header.
The time was now to make amends, get back to strong points scoring and wash away those now distant memories. That was until the very first lap of Qualifying. With everything set on the bike the marker was set for the weekend immediately as Jordan found the engine cutting out before setting a fast lap. With memories of earlier in the year, Jordan would push the bike back to the pit garage and jump onto the spare R6 and get out to do what he could.
This was now damage limitation with the spare R6 not being set to what we needed for a strong lap time at this circuit. Jordan would set his quickest time in 15th position and 4 seconds off pole sitter Aaron Clifford. Crucially Jordan would not be too far from Charlie Morris who would line up on the row ahead of him. Will White would take P3 meaning Jordan would have his work cut out to push into the points battle against his rivals.
Starting P15 would be a familiar territory after a similar start on the previous round but with Jordan’s electric starting form the focus would be to get as high as possible as early as possible and maintain.
Jordan would drop the clutch at the perfect moment on lights out to outpace those he lined up against and being on the inside to Redgate he would make a claim for P6 by the mid point of Craner Curves. An outstanding first lap would keep him in position until his lesser powered bike would see him drop into P7 as he settled into a rhythm.
Morris at this stage was ticking off challengers one by one and would eventually make it into P8 behind Jordan but with a 3 second gap with 4 laps remaining.
Disaster seemed to be heading into the frame as the bike began showing signs of something wrong on the penultimate lap. Jordan would slow the pace down with Morris charging to close the gap to a second until the inevitable happened.
Jordan would lose power to the engine through the Melbourne hairpin, into Goddards and find himself off track, trying his Pirelli tyres out on the fine lawns around the Donington Circuit.
Race 1 Results of the championship challengers:
Morris P7 Rushby DNF White P4 Clifford P1
As the sun set on pit lane after the difficult start, tempers flared within the garage. At this stage of the season, everyone within the team has one objective, to Win. When the result is taken from you through a misjudged corner speed then you can accept and move one. But when you are forced to return to the pits on foot through a mechanical failure then there is no consoling what has happened.
As the dust settled, a moment of reflection saw that Morris had crept further ahead but mathematically not out of site just yet. With 5 races still to fight for the focus must return to the track and what could be on the Sunday. Work set upon the number 1 bike and everything was swapped across to give Jordan his favoured machine for final 2 races on this round.
Thanks to Jordan’s electric start in the previous day the mega laps timing would provide a Top 10 starting position for both of the races today. Jordan would line up alongside good friend Brendan Mallinder. Jordan would also remain on the inside line into Redgate and on the row ahead of Morris.
Back on his preferred Bike Jordan was in a very happy mood this Sunday morning !
Another lightening start and Jordan would find himself battling into Redgate with the top 6. It was a hefty scrap and Jordan kept his line through into Craner but lose out on the quicker bikes ahead of him. Jordan would settle in P7 from this point forward, comfortably ahead of Morris and hope to pick up his pace throughout the race to make a charge on the front runners.
The sun shone brightly from the sky as the air planes took off from East Midlands Airport overhead, drowning out the sounds of the 600cc thunders every other lap until a moment of darkness bestowed the Donington race circuit. A small cloud overhead brought a flash of rain towards the Melbourne Hairpin creating a wet/dry circuit to challenge the riders through the second half of the race.
A level headed Jordan would consider his options and make a focused decision to preserve his result. Should he push on and risk coming off his bike potentially causing damage to end his race weekend, or should he hold position and drop his pace to collect points. The latter was the decision took and whilst Morris charged behind Jordan would finish this race in P6 thanks to an incident ahead dropping one of the front runners through Goddard’s. Morris would follow closely behind but a point taken would be well received after a DNF the previous day.
Race 2 Results of the championship challengers:
Morris P7 Rushby P6 White DNF Clifford P2
The mood was good in the pits after the previous race and the discussions began around what the target was for the final race. Although Jordan had finished ahead of Morris, it was not far enough ahead. More points needed to be between the battling pair and there also needed to be an eye on Aaron Clifford who was picking up some serious points whilst Morris and Rushby fought between themselves. Target number 1 is always to finish ahead of Morris and in this race, try and get to the front and take the battle to Clifford and White.
An incredibly start once again saw Jordan take the inside line into the podium positions and keep it locked in through Hollywood and down into the sweeping Craner Curves. Jordan would head up the hill around Schwantz Curve in 3rd overall behind Clifford and Truelove. The front pair would have the form of their lives on bikes which where clicking on point so any further forward would only be an aspiration for Jordan as he watched them disappear into the distance.
Jordan would not be able to rest on his laurels though as the Yamaha of Danny Booth and Triumph of Will White would all cross the start line within a second of each other.
The battle for the final position became the focal point of an epic battle over 12 laps. Aggressive, Close but Clean racing ensued showing why the Thundersport championship is a showpiece to the Motorcycle Racing sport category.
Rushby, Booth and White would swap positions no less than ten times a piece during the next 10 laps with each rider believing that the 3rd place trophy would be sat on their shelf the following day.
Jordan would push has hard as his bike could possibly allow and then a step further with shades of the Rossi leg brake style to slow his speed into the tight corners of Donington Park.
It was an incredible battle that Jordan would set PB times on each sector, lap after lap until the inevitable happened once again.
Sitting in P3 on the very final lap of the race with only Goddards to go. Jordan could picture himself on the podium with the gap to the championship lead diminished to single figures. Jordan’s R6 had other plans and called it a day with the engine, once again, cutting out.
Jordan would come to a halt and watch all of his challengers fly past and across the finish line. With only yards to go he would push his bike across the finish line in P20 to at least register a finish on what essential became another DNF result in terms of points. Jordan would now pick up no points with all of his rivals collecting valuable numbers to compound a weekend to forget.
Race 3 Results of the championship challengers:
Morris P6 Rushby P20 White P4 Clifford P2
The result leaves Jordan trailing Morris by 33 points heading into the final round at Rushers Racing’s home circuit Cadwell Park. With Aaron Clifford picking up a succession of victories and Will White also keeping the podium positions warm there is now a straight fight between the top four riders with 3 races left over the weekend of October 15/16
Whatever happens at Cadwell will not take away the fact that when Jordan has been given the chance to cross the line, his results have been incredible. Looking back to Snetterton as the highlight of the year so far, we are all immensely proud of how Jordan has shown a mature head to his growing career and deserves to be given the chance to fight for the championship still on the final race weekend this year.
Whoever is crowned King of the Mountain will become the Thundersport Champion 2016 and be a deserved winner. We wish all competitors a very safe race and we have a sole focus of coming home with the trophy. The bike has already gone into surgery to get to the bottom of why it failed so dramatically at Donington and we will be 100% certain that Jordan will arrive at Cadwell with a focus and a bike capable of giving him a shot.
We do hope you have enjoyed reading Jordan’s progress this season and will come along to Cadwell Park in October to show your support to this very talented young man with an undoubtedly bright future ahead of him.
As usual we would like to thank all of our sponsors and team for making this possible. We are lucky to be supported by some great national companies, who offer financial backing for our racing costs throughout the 2016 season. To all these companies we can not thank you enough for contributing to Jordan’s future progress, and we hope you all feel part of our racing team.