MOTORCYCLING: Season opener at Donington for Rugby rider after flu and chicken pox

Keith Jaggard in action at Donington Park over the Easter weekend   PICTURES BY COLIN HILL
Keith Jaggard in action at Donington Park over the Easter weekend PICTURES BY COLIN HILL

Championship moves on to Brands Hatch this weekend

After the long off season, Rugby racer Keith ‘Bugsy’ Jaggard and his TOTAL PLANT DUCATI returned to British Championship action over the Easter weekend at a cold and wet Donington Park, writes Colin Hill.

Having admitted to not being fully ready for the season after being ill for the first half of the winter break with the flu virus that was doing the rounds, added to that only two days testing so the new suspension wasn’t set up fully for the conditions and then only two weeks before the season opener he was struck down with chicken pox - all in all Keith knew it would be a tough starter.

Arriving at the circuit the riders had to consider the weather forecast that was predicting heavy rain, low temperatures for the majority of the weekend ... even snow on Bank Holiday Monday. So when he took to the track for the opening session there would be no fireworks, just a steady ride to get used to the conditions and suspension... job done as he returned with a satisfactory time and information to go forward with the set up.

Going into Qualifying the riders would not be treated to any better conditions and the track was still wet, but, more importantly temperatures had fallen even further due to being last session on the track for the opening day so it would be a tricky time once more. Going out with a plan and building steadily by the time he took the flag, Keith had managed to qualify down in 39th... but he had qualified.

SUNDAY,RACE 1:

After the disappointment of his qualifying position Keith was hoping to better his qualifying position in the first race of the weekend and this was helped by a good start as the lights went out, immediately gaining a place as he got stuck into the battle with the group of riders around him. The battle would last all through the eight laps of the 2.5 mile circuit, and by the chequered flag he had managed to climb six places to 33rd and improve his grid position for Monday’s second race to 34th.

MONDAY, RACE 2:

Waking up to the ultimate bad weather day it was clear that it would be a long wait until any track action would be possible due to the heavy rain, standing water and small rivers running over the track.

At 13.30 the decision was made that conditions had improved enough to let some bikes out to try the track out for grip. Thankfully it was deemed ok, so with some juggling of the schedule and the cancellation of most of the warm ups and two other support classes, racing was going to go ahead.

Miraculously only 10 minutes later than originally planned, Keith and his fellow Ducati Tri-Options Cup competitors saw the lights go out for their second race of the weekend..and in an almost carbon copy of the previous day’s race Keith made another good start and managed to survive the ‘sketchy’ surface conditions to cross the line in 28th.

The championship now moves to Kent’s compact Brands Hatch Indy circuit over the weekend, April 13-15.