Tom Sykes makes it six in a row as Brits triumph in World Superbikes at Donington Park
Tom Sykes claimed another remarkable double victory in World Superbikes at Donington Park today (Sunday), making it six wins in a row at Donington Park. Sykes was also a double winner in 2013 and 2014, with this year’s triumphs confirming his reputation as a master of Donington Park.
It was a glorious day for British riders, with home grown heroes locking out the podium in both Superbike races, while Donington Park-local Kyle Ryde stunned the World Supersport Championship with a wildcard podium finish.
Sykes triumphed in the day’s thrilling opening World Superbike race after a tense scrap with team mate and championship leader Jonathan Rea. Sykes started from pole position but was bumped down to second on the opening lap when Donington-supported Leon Haslam slipped into the lead at the Old Hairpin, after making a great start from fourth on the grid.
Haslam’s lead lasted just a lap though, as Rea fought his way past at Redgate on lap two. Sykes then found his way past Haslam on lap four, and then set his sights on Rea. Under pressure, Rea ran wide at the Old Hairpin and Sykes took the lead. In the first move of a thrilling scrap between the two riders, Rea fought back past only for Sykes to then retake the lead at the Melbourne hairpin.
Looking to regain the advantage, Rea tried an ambitious move at Goddards and outbraked himself, almost wiping out his team mate. Rea set a new circuit lap record and again tried to make a move, this time at the Melbourne hairpin, but Sykes fought back once more, with the pair almost touching again.
Rea made a move stick next time around at Melbourne, and Sykes tried to fight back at Goddards, with the pair almost certainly making contact. Sportingly Rea waved Sykes through and from there, Sykes stretched out an advantage of over three seconds to take his fifth consecutive victory at Donington. Rea came home second ahead of Chaz Davies, making it the first British 1-2-3 World Superbike result at Donington. Haslam settled for fourth, still nursing the rib injuries sustained at Imola, with Ayrton Badovini fifth after a late pass on home rider Alex Lowes who finished sixth.
Sykes then made it a third consecutive double victory with a dominant win in the second race, finishing ahead of team mate Rea once more, despite a dramatic incident for the Northern Irishman on the first lap at Coppice. Rea somehow kept control of the bike, and despite falling back a few places, was able to fight his way back onto the podium. Chaz Davies claimed third on the Ducati, meaning the podium for race two was exactly the same as in race one.
Derbyshire’s Haslam again ran towards the front in the early stages, only to drop back slightly in the latter stages, and finishing fourth for the second time after fighting his way past Davide Giugliano. Alex Lowes was sixth, making it five Brits in the top six once more.
“It’s been a perfect weekend” Sykes commented. “We dug deep in race two as I saw Jonathan claimed the lap record in race one so I pushed hard to get that in race two and take fastest lap. We were beaten at Imola but it’s been a great weekend and the whole of Kawasaki has done a great job with 1-2s in qualifying and both races. I’m really pleased and I feel I’ve turned the corner and we can now focus on the rest of the season.”
The British success theme continued in the World Supersport Championship, with Donington-local Kyle Ryde (Nottinghamshire) playing a starring role in today’s race and securing a hard fought third place. Running as high as second, 17-year-old Ryde showed no fear on his big debut, battling with the big names on the World Stage and fighting his way back into the top three with a handful of laps remaining by passing Lorenzo Zanetti. The crowd at Donington erupted with delight as the youngster crossed the line at the end of the 20 lap race.
“We’ve seen some truly world class action from some of the world’s best riders this weekend,” Donington Park Managing Director Christopher Tate commented. “We’ve been thrilled to see such a high level of British success and I’m sure the thousands of fans here this weekend will be going home happy. Our thanks to all those who have made this weekend possible, whether they are marshals, riders, teams, officials or our fantastic fans.”
Donington welcomed several celebrities to the event, including singer and actor David Essex, former World Superbike champions James Toseland and Neil Hodgson, ex-World Superbike rider Roger Burnett and Moto2 ace Sam Lowes.
The next major event at Donington Park is the British Superkart Grand Prix on 6-7 June, featuring the world’s fastest racing karts, which are capable of speeds of up to 140mph! Tickets are available in advance from £12 with free admission for children aged 13 and under.