MOTORCYCLING: Jaggard in championship second round at Brands Hatch

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Ducati Tri-Options Cup 2018

Report and pictures by Colin Hill

Two weeks on from the soaking everyone got at the opening round of the DUCATI TRI-OPTIONS CUP at Donington Park, Rugby racer Keith ‘Bugsy’ Jaggard and his TOTAL PLANT DUCATI race team headed south to the compact Indy circuit at Kent’s Brands Hatch.

FRIDAY...FREE PRACTICE: After the opening round in which he struggled, Keith was hoping to pick up the pace as he settled in with his new suspension set-up. So as the riders headed to track for their first session of the weekend it was good for them that they would be going out onto a dry circuit... something they didn’t experience at Donington park. But as the session moved on it was clear that they still weren’t there with the new suspension so had to be content with the 34th fastest time as they crossed the line.

QUALIFYING: After the outing earlier in the day had produced a not so ideal result, Keith and the team had applied a few minor set up changes which they hoped would allow him to push harder,and, it had worked ‘Bugsy’ managed to lower his lap time by almost 3 seconds, unfortunately so did everybody else and he dropped a further place so would start tomorrow’s first race from 35th on the grid with a lot of hard work ahead to make up places.

SATURDAY RACE 1: As a support class the DUCATI TRI-OPTIONS CUP always has to wait for its turn to go out and play until the more senior classes have had their time on track and today would be no exception, holding on until almost 2.40pm before being released for their first race of the weekend ..and indeed their first track time of the day.

As the lights went out Keith, alongside the other 37 competitors, powered towards the first turn, a fast right hander that falls away steeply and which in the past has claimed many a rider in the early surges for position. But this time round everyone managed to get through cleanly and safely and byt he end of the opening lap ‘Bugsy’ had managed to make up a couple of places as he settled in for the remaining 14 laps. With battles raging all through the highly competitive field the chequered flag seemed to to come very quickly and by the time it greeted the Rugby flyer he had made up a total of 4 places to finish in 31st place,again managing to lower his lap time by almost 2 seconds.

SUNDAY RACE 2: Once again having to wait all day to race, The Ducati racers were not going to have a good day, not only would they have to deal with plummeting track temperatures at the end of the day but there was also a chance of rain , but that depended on which weather APP you used. The answer to the weather question would come just 15 minutes before they were due to head down pit lane, so some hurried setups would be the order of the hour changing tyres and settings before being allowed onto track to check the surface conditions , then having completed 2 laps to see how the track was Keith rolled back down pit lane looking far from happy, making couple more very quick changes he headed out again but as he came round the last turn, instead of heading to the grid to take his position for the race he peeled down pit lane again..this time not to return complaining of having no feeling in the tricky conditions.

It wasn’t the end to the weekend Keith or the team had hoped for but he feels they are getting much closer to having the bike set-up he wants.

The Championship now moves on to the undulating fast curves of Cheshire’s Oulton Park over the bank holiday weekend.