The Ducati Cup Round 6 opening race served up plenty of drama at Cadwell Park this weekend, with a rare error by the championship leader in Race 1 and a brand-new winner in Race 2.
Sean Neary (SMC Racing) qualified in pole and was joined on the front row by Phil Atkinson (Art of Racing / Dijon Home and Flooring) and David Shoubridge (Old Garage Legends). But Atkinson was absent from the starting grid after suffering a technical brake problem on his warm-up lap.
Shoubridge got a good start and with clear space was able to pass Neary into Coppice, going on to lead for the entirety of the opening lap. As the riders started their 2nd lap, Neary retook the lead, with championship leader Josh Day (HOST-IT.co.uk Racing Team), Josh Wainwright (BPS Racing) and Rob Guiver (Premier Security / Ducati Romford Racing) completing the front 5 riders.
Day passed Neary for the lead at the start of Lap 8, with Neary and Shoubridge close behind as the leading group started to pull a gap just as backmarkers came into play.
Just a third of a second split Day and Neary as they started their final lap and it looked like Day was on course to get his first win since Donington and extend his championship lead. But disaster struck as he crashed out of the race unhurt as he exited the chicane with the finishing line tantalisingly close.
Neary went on to take the chequered flag, his 4th win of the season, while Shoubridge finished 2nd, his best result of the season to date. Current champ Guiver claimed the final podium position, reducing his points difference to Day from 30 points to 14.
Wainwright finished 4th and True Heroes Racing’s Dave Sellers brought his 959 Panigale home in 5th. Despite a very delayed start to his race, Atkinson was able to salvage a couple of points after completing his race in 14th position.
Shoubridge starts Race 2 at Cadwell Park tomorrow from the front row once again after qualifying on pole, with Neary and Day starting from 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Shoubridge (lined up in pole for Race 2 at Cadwell Park and got off the line well as the lights went out. Day also started well from 3rd, immediately passing on the inside of Neary for 2nd, before getting the better of Shoebridge for the lead later in the opening lap around the Lincolnshire circuit.
On Lap 2 Neary passed Shoubridge for 2nd, proceeding to make the same move on Day for the race lead on the next lap. Neary went on to set fastest lap times but ultimately pushed too hard and crashed out of the lead on Lap 6 at Charlies.
This promoted Day back into the lead, who had a determined Shoubridge behind him, with Guiver now a couple of seconds behind in 3rd, himself being closely followed by Wainwright.
On Lap 10 Shoubridge made a pass on Day to take the lead, and by the 12th and final lap he had built a 2 second lead. Shoubridge went on to take the chequered flag and his first ever Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup race win. Day finished in 2nd place, with Guiver taking the final podium position, just ahead of Wainwright.
Day leaves Cadwell Park as the championship leader with 218 points, Guiver 2nd with 200 points and Neary 3rd with 177 points.
Sean Neary (SMC Racing #10) – Race 1, 1st – Race2, DNF
“I'm really made up with the end result in Race 1. I was right on Josh on that last lap but to be fair I couldn't find a way through. He defended into Hall, made a mistake on the way out and I was lucky not to hit him or his bike. I'm glad he's alright. Really happy and a good reward for the team. The SMC Racing Team have worked so hard. Hopefully we can keep it up and keep on piling up the points.”
David Shoubridge (Old Garage Legends #86) – Race 1, 2nd – Race 2, 1st
“I’ve had my best and worst experiences at Cadwell Park. I came here a couple of weeks ago with Bemsee and got a bit of practice in and that obviously has given me the edge. I feel really strong here, and it was nice to be able to carry that into this weekend. It’s a long time coming getting on the steps, never mind getting the win. I’m absolutely made up. They say you get out of anything what you put in and I didn’t feel like I put in enough effort in for the last round at Snett and it kind of bit us. We had a few problems and ultimately it came down t bad preparation. We put out all the stops and put a lot of effort in and worked hard to get on the steps. And it’s worked. So, carry it on to Assen. To get to the front and rub elbows with the fast boys at the front, I think I’ll be able to keep it there and take it to them at Assen, that’s my plan.”
Josh Day (HOST-IT.co.uk Racing Team #2) – Race 1, DNF - Race 2, 2nd
“To be fair Sean was setting a really good pace and I could just about stick with him. When he went down I kind of got into my rhythm, doing 32.0, 32.1. I was pulling a gap on Shouey and I back shifted down 1 gear into Mansfield and thought something didn’t sound quite right as I hadn’t drifted out onto the white line. The power wasn’t where it should be and when I got back onto the Park Straight on the next lap he was on my chuff and I was like a duck sitting in water. One more lap and I wouldn’t even have got on the podium so really lucky. Obviously, well done to my mate Shouey, he’s a little legend, isn’t he? He rode well all weekend and it’s great to see him up there with us and bring the challenge. Fair play to everyone, fair play.”
Rob Guiver (Premier Security / Ducati Romford Racing #1) – Race 1, 3rd – Race 2, 3rd
“I love Cadwell Park. I don’t know what it is, but I haven’t felt great on the bike all weekend. My fitness hasn’t been great and it’s normally perfect. So, I’m struggling in some areas. It was a bad weekend rider wise, but a great weekend for results. I got two podiums, so I’ve got to thank the gods for something.
I’ve just got to get to Assen, regroup, and try and carry on from where I was before. I love Assen. It’s my favourite meeting of the year after Brands Hatch. I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait to get there. I’ve got some changes to make to the bike, and obviously to myself, give myself a kick up the backside and try and get back on the top step.”
Ducati Performance TriOptions Cup action resumes when the series visits TT Circuit Assen 20-22 September.