Despite suffering a crash earlier on in the day on his superstock bike, Highsparks Motorsport’s Luke Jones was able to lead from pole to the chequered flag to take the Race 1 win at Donington Park this afternoon.
Jones got a good start from pole to lead, with Josh Day (HOST-IT.co.uk Racing Team) and defending champion Rob Guiver (Premier Security / Ducati Romford Racing) in 2nd and 3rd respectively. The two title contenders were shaping up to have a good battle, with Guiver momentarily passing Day into the Melbourne Loop on Laps 3 and 4.
But the championship was thrown wide open again, after Day ran on at Redgate on the next lap. He was able to keep control of his bike but subsequently dropped from 2nd back to 8th, losing any hope of challenging for the race win.
Sean Neary (SMC Racing), 3rd in the championship, was closing in on Guiver but collided with a backmarker in the final stages of the race which put an end to his challenge for 2nd place.
Jones took the win with a comfortable 3 second margin. Guiver and Neary finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively, with Day crossing the finish line in 8th place.
BPS Racing’s Josh Wainwright starts the final race of the season tomorrow in pole, after posting a new lap record of 1:33.677. He will be joined on the front row by Jones and Neary, while the 2nd row consists of Guiver, Day and David Shoubridge (Old Garage Legends).
The championship standings meant that both Day (251), Guiver (240) and Neary (234) all had the chance of taking the 2019 Ducati Cup title in the final race of the year.
The race for the title came down to this last outing, where it provided plenty of incident.
Wainwright started from pole, but it was Race 1’s winner Jones who led the pack into the first corner. Just behind them was drama after defending champion Guiver and Dean Brown (DBR Performance) made contact, with Brown running onto the grass and Guiver finding himself down in 11th on the opening lap.
As the laps mounted, and with Guiver still behind him, Day let Neary through so he could safely bring his 959 Panigale home to claim the championship.
Luke Jones went on to win the race in dominant fashion, leading through its entirety and taking the chequered flag with over a 12 second advantage.
R&G Ducati Shield winner Shoubridge got his third 2nd place of the season, with Brown claiming his first podium finish in 3rd.
Mark Cheetham (Highsparks Motorsport) was unlucky to have a costly moment when running in 2nd, finishing his race in 4th ahead of Neary in 5th. Having done enough to take the title by 13 points, Day crossed the line in 6th ahead of Sam Middlemass (Boast Plumbing / Salus Approved Inspectors) and Guiver.
Day won the Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup championship in his rookie year with a total of 261 points and plans to defend his title next season. Guiver finished runner up in the championship with 248 points and Neary a strong 3rd with 245.
Josh Day (HOST-IT.co.uk Racing Team #2) – 2019 Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup Champion
“I said to Rob and Sean we all could have probably gone at the front of that race, but we were all taking risks. It was one of those calculation races. We’ve definitely all had a lot of bad luck this year so to come on top I’m over the moon. The HOST-IT.co.uk Racing guys, Andrew, he’s done a mega job. Gave me everything I need. And he’s been really good about it as well, no pressure on me. All my guys, it’s brilliant, and the Ducati guys do a mega job. I think it’s a brilliant championship and we’ll definitely be back next year. Hopefully we’ll get a new bike asap, get it sorted, get out on it. We’d like to say back to defend next year, but back to do the same again next year and have some fun because it’s a good championship. Love it.”
Rob Guiver (Premier Security / Ducati Romford Racing #13) – 2nd in Championship
“It didn’t really work out like I’d wanted it to. I made to many unforced errors. But I had some good wins this year, had some good races. Hats off to Josh, he fully deserves it, he scored the most amount of points. And Sean, he rode awesome all year, probably the strongest rider out of the 3 of us. I’m pleased with how it ended. I enjoyed yesterday’s race, not so much today – I don’t really like these conditions. I’ll go now and have a couple of beers with the team, head on home and start life after racing I suppose!”
Sean Neary (SMC Racing #10) – 3rd in Championship
“A bit gutted to be the nearly man again, but I made too many mistakes earlier in the season and Josh deserves to be champion. Well done to him. The Suits Me Card team gave me a brilliant bike for the season, but we just missed out. Thanks so much to them and all our sponsors. We couldn’t do it without you.”