There were tough conditions for the opening rounds of the 2018 Bennetts British Superbike Championship as the rain and the cold made life difficult for Stockport’s Christian Iddon aboard his TYCO BMW.
Iddon showed competitive pace around the Donington Park GP layout, claiming second spot during the second free practice session of the weekend.
But a tumble during qualifying, on cold tyres, down the Leicestershire venue’s infamous Craner Curves, left the team with plenty to do to get the BMW back on track in time for the first race – the timetable had been heavily altered to bring racing forward a day, with the weather forecast showing terrible conditions likely the day after.
After the TYCO squad worked wonders to get Christian back on track, the former Supermoto champion left the grid in 15th, making good progress initially but coping with several big moments over the opening laps, Iddon took the chequered flag in 14th place.
“There was a few strange things going on with the bike that I couldn’t quite understand,” said Iddon. “I had a few big moments on the first lap, as the race went on I realised that I was struggling a lot and there was no real way around it. I had to settle really.
“We had a front wheel that span on the rim, that created a terrible vibration, but then we had a small technical thing with the bike, to do with the setting, it made it very difficult for me to ride.
“It was a really frustrating race because I didn’t have the pace that I expected.”
Race two, the following day, Iddon took the start from 14th despite a fall during warm-up.
A dry line was finally appearing, making tyre choices important, and overtaking risky, with moves having to take place on the damp parts of the track.
But a spirited ride from the former World Superbike rider saw Christian climb to sixth place, fending off Glenn Irwin [Ducati] by 0.001secs at the flag.
“I went and high-sided myself with two corners to go warm up,” admitted Christian. “It wasn’t a big crash, it was probably the slowest crash I’ve ever had, but it slapped me down pretty hard, and it was quite a shock to the system.
“It was all ok, just a few cuts and bruises, nothing to worry about.”
The Bennetts British Superbike Championship moves on to Brands Hatch, in Kent, where the next round takes place on the venue’s 1.2mile ‘Indy’ layout on April 13-15.