MOTORCYCLING: Five points each at start of season

Tommy Philp at Donington Park. Photos by Dave Yeomans
Tommy Philp at Donington Park. Photos by Dave Yeomans

Both draperRACING riders Aaron Clarke and Tommy Philp recorded 11th place in their races at Donington Park on Sunday to bring back a clutch of championship points.

Kirton rider Clarke was first out on Friday in Superstock 600 free practice where he made changes to the set-up ahead of the qualifying 
session on Saturday.

Aaron Clarke

Aaron Clarke

He secured a strong 12th place to start his race from a fourth row grid position.

As his race got under way on Sunday, Clarke was up to seventh on the opening lap. By lap three he was through to fifth and challenging for 
position within a large group of riders for fourth place.

But he began to suffer with arm pump which eventually affected both arms, making it difficult to remain near the front of the field.

He gradually slipped back down the field as far as 13th at one stage but battled on to cross the finish line in 11th.

I just missed out but 11th and the five championship points is a good start to the season and I hope to build on that in the next round.

Aaron Clarke

Clarke said: “I was riding really well and enjoying the battle with the boys at the front.

“But once the arm pump kicked in, I just could not maintain my position and had to ease off a bit.

“I was determined to finish the race and made a really big effort in the last few laps to get back into the top 10.

“I just missed out but 11th and the five championship points is a good start to the season and I hope to build on that in the next round.”

Philp, from East Kirkby, didn’t get off to the best of starts in British Supersport free practice.

He had problems with his brakes but by the time he went out for qualifying the team had resolved the problem and found a good set-up.

The previous rain had left the track damp and this worked in Philp’s favour as he loves a wet track.

He recorded some good times and set his personal best time towards the end of the session to secure eighth place overall and a third row start to the sprint race.

But due to an oil spillage in an earlier race his first event was cancelled and the qualifying times were carried over to the feature race on Sunday where Philp benefitted from a third row start.

He got away well and settled into 11th place before being demoted to 12th by Sam Wilford.

From then on he rode a lonely race during the remaining laps, crossing the finish line in 12th place.

However he was awarded 11th place and five championship points as a rider ahead was a guest rider and did not qualify for points.

Philp said: “I am really pleased with that. It equals my personal best result from the last round last year at Brands Hatch.

“I was happy with the bike and had absolutely no problems throughout the race. Thanks to draperRACING for their support and both of us are delighted to have been able to bring back points from our first outing of the year.”

The team moves on to Brands Hatch for round two over the Easter weekend and Philp will have a busy weekend as his cancelled race from Donington is now scheduled to take place at the Kent circuit, giving him three races to enjoy.