Round 8 of the British Championship - Ducati Tri-options Cup - Assen, Final Round

Round 8 of the British Championship - Ducati Tri-options Cup - Assen, Final Round

The final round of the Ducati Trioptions Cup was held at Assen in the Netherlands over the weekend. The rest of the British Superbike classes still have Brands Hatch in a few weeks time, but the Ducati class only do 8 rounds. The famous Assen circuit, known as “The Cathedral of Speed” is a Grand Prix circuit, similar to Silverstone. It is quite different to many of the UK tracks but the variety of circuits we race at on the BSB calendar is something I rather enjoy. Assen is also known for its mixture of weather, you can always be fairly certain you’ll have at least one wet session over a race weekend there.

On Friday we had one practice session and a qualifying session. I was quickest in the opening practice session and we had a good feeling on the bike. A few little changes to the gearing ahead of qualifying and a new set of tyres and our pace improved, along with everyone else. I was happy with the time I had put in. I was second on the grid, one tenth of a second behind Josh Wainwright. My starts are a strongpoint of my riding so I generally am content so long as I’m on the front two rows. If we can do that early on in a session we can conserve the front tyre which we use for both races too.

In typical Assen fashion, the rain arrived on Saturday and settled in to a constant downfall all day long. Wet riding has been an obvious weak point in my riding for sometime, but every session we have I aim to work on my riding and bike set up. At Brands Hatch earlier in the year, I was 21st fastest, a long way from where I want to be. Silverstone a little later on in the season, I finished 12th. Still not where I want to be, but some improvement from Brands Hatch. We have worked hard with my team and with Richard from Maxton Suspension to help build my confidence in the wet. We were able to put some different settings in to try for Race 1 in Assen with the race being a fully wet race. Starting from second, I got the hole shot and led into turn 1, I was able to keep the lead until mid way through lap one, before Mark Cheetham, the eventual race winner, passed me. The bike was feeling the best it has in the wet and I was feeling the most comfortable I’ve ever felt with Pirelli wets on. I was passed by a few other riders over the 8 lap race, but I came across the line in 6th position, a result I was really pleased with, considering the conditions. Wet riding is the area I need to work on the most as to win a championship I need to be competitive in all conditions. I really enjoyed the wet race in Assen and we learnt some valuable lessons in bike setup and my riding.

The grid positions for race two are determined off the lap times from race one. I was 11th on the grid due to this, but the weather was dry for race two and I knew I just needed to work my way through the other riders and try and battle at the front. Coming into the final race of the season for us I was in 6th position in the championship standings. The points were close from 2nd to 6th, with me being 15 points behind South African Phil Atkinson who was occupying 2nd position. Race two was completely dry and I was looking forward to getting my head down! I managed a reasonable start and made up a few positions on the first lap. My team mate and championship winner Joe Collier had already got through to the lead by lap two. It took me a couple of laps but I was able to get my self into second, setting the fastest lap of the race. I got on to the tail of Joe by mid race. Knowing that if I made any risky moves and lost second position I would most likely remain in 6th in the championship. I felt it best to use my head and be happy with second position. Joe had great race pace and I don’t believe I could have made a pass for the win without risking more than was necessary on the day. As the results stood even winning the race wouldn’t have allowed me to beat Phil Atkinson in the championship. I came home in second place, with Phil in 4th. With the good points haul of 2nd in the dry and 6th in the wet this did mean that it moved me up to 3rd in the final championship standings, a result I didn’t think likely coming into the weekend!

I’m really pleased to have finished the season off so strong and with good pace in wet and dry conditions. My team at BPS racing have been nothing but supportive all season and had my back through all our results. I am the only rider in the championship to finish with points in every single race of the season. I’ve had an amazing bunch of people working with me who treat me like family. My mechanics and crew, Graham Miles, Paul Dyason, Paul Chandler, George Chandler, Ash Kitchener and Geoff, have all helped keep the bike prepared this season, with no mechanical issues in any races. Darren Jones who has helped with my riding and bike development. Richard Adams from Maxton Suspension for supplying me with a great Suspension package for the Ducati 959 Panigale. My wife Katie for always believing in me, and pushing me to be better each and every day. My parents who support me on the other side of the world. My Dad, just like my wife, has sacrificed a lot for me over the years, as my team and sponsors do too, and these results are a great reflection of the hard work put in by many many people. Mike and Maddie Green from BPS Racing took me into their team and have been nothing but welcoming and super supportive, I can’t thank them enough. Alan Boyden from AJN Steelstock for supporting me as my major sponsor this season and becoming a great friend. Ron Willis from Brenmar, Jeremy Gunia from Gunia Plant Hire and all my personal sponsors make all of this racing possible. This has been my best and most enjoyable season of racing ever, and it’s down to the support around me that has made it the season it has been. Thank you all so much. I plan to continue racing in the Ducati Trioptions next season with BPS Racing and work hard to be even stronger to be title contenders!

Levi Day #57

Photo Credits: Bonnie Lane