Return to Oliver's Mount for Donington racer
Donington racer Christian Slater returned to Oliver's Mount to contest the Steve Henshaw Gold Cup.
The Scarborough circuit has been closed for a couple of years and is now under the new management of 243 Road Racing Association.
There has only been one other meeting this year at the UK’s only pure road racing short circuit venue - the Barry Sheene Festival in June.
After Slater’s two successes on the Isle of Man at the end of August where he received two finishers medals for both the Junior and Senior Manx Grand Prix races, he was looking forward to some more pure road racing.
As with the Isle of Man Mountain Course, Oliver’s Mount does not have the run-off areas and wider tracks like many of the National circuits around the UK. Racing is close to grass verges, fences, trees and embankments.
Slater said: “It is this type of racing that makes the venue so special and it is a great opportunity to be racing there again.”
The weather forecast did not deter the 100-plus Solo competitors turning up for the event and 55 entered in the 600cc Super Sport class which Slater had his name in the programme for.
Due to the circuit size and the vast entry level, there were three races in Slater’s class.
Qualifying had to take place to decide who would race in either the A, B, or C races. Within the class there were several British Super Bike, British Super Sport, Isle of Man TT, Manx Grand Prix and National riders all contesting for the prize money in the A race and trophies in all three races.
Slater last rode a competitive race in the wet over three years ago and there was not much time to set up his Kawasaki ZX6-R machine for qualifying - in fact he had four laps of practice around the 2.43-mile circuit prior to his session.
Some minor adjustments were made to the suspension after practice and Slater qualified for the B race.
In the afternoon, the track dried that quickly which resulted in the support team having to change the tyres just prior to the start of the race.
A set of intermediate tyres were fitted to allow for a mixture of both dry and wet tarmac conditions around the tree-lined circuit.
In the race Slater made a good start when the lights went out and picked off a couple of riders in the first couple of bends.
All was looking good until lap two at the Mountside Hairpin when Tobias George, number 14 riding a Yamaha R6, went down in front of Slater - causing him to nearly stop.
The efforts applied in the first lap were wiped out and Slater found himself at the rear of the field. However, by the end of the race, he went past the chequered flag in 15th place.
Slater was placed 14th on the grid for his second race of the weekend with a set of full wet weather tyres fitted.
He was feeling quite confident after his qualifying session and the feel of the Kawasaki machine.
After two warm-up laps in the very wet conditions, Slater took the start but only managed to complete one lap.
Both his helmet visor and machine screen misted up under the conditions so Slater had to pull in for the safety of himself and other riders.
Four other riders also pulled in with the same issue.
Due to the late start of the racing caused by the climatic conditions and delays between other races because of the water volume on circuit, Slater's return meeting to Oliver’s Mount was over. The second round of racing did not take place.
He was very pleased with the weekend, albeit not in the best of conditions and is now looking forward to 2020 to attend Oliver’s Mount again.
Provisional dates for Oliver’s Mount in 2020 are the Spring Cup on May 25 and 26, Cock O’ The North Festival on June 20 and 21, Barry Sheene Classic Festival on August 1 and 2 and the Gold Cup on September 12 and 13.
More by this authorMark Lea