2 days of testing followed by a shortened 2-day race weekend led to a full action-packed weekend of riding and racing for the Barnsley based Wilson Racing team, in the opening round of the 2024 British Talent cup! The weekend would hold play to 3 races with a potential 75 points up for grabs.
Testing was held over Thursday and Friday with a total of 5 40-minute sessions to take advantage of. As the riders headed out for lap 1 of the first session the weather turned and rain started to fall, all riders made their way back to the pits but unfortunately Iwan got caught out in the rain and was the first rider down of the weekend for the Wilson Racing team after falling at turn 3. The rest of the testing went ahead with only a few DNF’s from the riders crashing out, luckily not much damage was done and all riders made it back out for the next sessions.
Free practice and qualifying.
Saturday morning and it was finally race weekend. Saturday was to play host to free practice 1 and 2, qualifying as well as race 1. As the riders headed back out for their first official free practice of the weekend the weather was clear with no rain but it was still very cold at only 10 degrees Celsius. FP1 finished and all of the riders bought it home safe with Harrison coming 7th, Ben 10th, Samuel 17th, Raheesh 20th and Iwan in 24th. Later that morning it was time for FP2. As riders headed out it had started to warm up with highs now of 17 degrees Celsius but it was also windy. Unfortunately for Harrison he had a crash coming out of turn 6 in which he landed heavy and he was taken to the medical center. It was later confirmed with x-rays that he had broken 3 bones in his foot and he would have to miss qualifying. The session finished with Ben in 22nd, Samuel 29th, Raheesh 26th and Iwan in 24th.
Going into qualifying and with Harrison having to sit out it was up to the remaining 4 Wilson riders to try to set their best times possible. The weather had warmed up again with highs of 19 degrees Celsius however so had the wind with wind speeds of up to 17mph. With these conditions Ben came over the line with a best time to start race 1 in 22nd, Samuel in 29th, Raheesh 26th and Iwan 21st. Later that afternoon before race 1 Harrison was determined to race so he went back to the medical center and managed to pass the fitness test that would allow him to race, which would mean we would be seeing Harrison line up at the back of the grid for race 1.
Race 1
That afternoon saw the first race of the season begin. With Harrison injured but still determined to come away with points after being on the pace all weekend he lined up on the back of the grid. The others followed taking their respective places. All lined up and ready to go it was lights out with all riders getting a brilliant start to the race. As the race progressed all riders continued battling it out for the best finish possible. Ben managing to make it into the group battling for a top 10 finish the full race, he had a lot of work to do to keep in the group and work his way to the front of it. Unfortunately, on lap 10 of the race Raheesh crashed out at turn 6 bringing a premature end to his first ever British Talent Cup race. The chequered flag was out and it was a drag race to the line for Ben, he scored his best ever finish coming in 9th but was just beaten to the line for 8th by 0.072 seconds by Goodman! With his broken foot Harrison was next over the line coming across in 12th an incredible feat considering. Samuel was next in 16th, and Iwan followed up in 18th. Overall, a great race from all riders.
Race 2
Sunday morning and it was time for race 2. With grid positions decided off of fastest times in race 1 Harrison would line up 15th, Ben 14th, Samuel 21st, Raheesh 26th and Iwan 23rd. as the riders came around to the grid, they took their spots and it was lights out once again! Off they went with all riders getting a great start however bad luck would strike again when on lap 4 Samuel was caught up in another rider’s crash resulting in him having no wear to go to escape and being knocked off by another bike that was already airborne. This incident bought out a red flag due to another rider and bike being stranded in the middle of the circuit. Luckily everyone involved was ok and all of the other riders came into the pits to wait for the incident to be cleared. Eventually the green flag was out and the riders headed out for a quick start procedure. Lining up on the grid and off they went again. The race finished without any more incident for the Wilson boys and the riders finished; Harrison 12th, Ben 13th, Raheesh 27th and Iwan 23rd.
Race 3
The final race of the weekend and after repairing Samuel’s bike in the short amount of time between races the riders were ready to go for the final time of the weekend. With the grid being decided the same as race 2 they would line up, Harrison 13th, Ben 15th, Samuel 28th, Raheesh 27th, and Iwan 22nd. Heading out for their warm up lap problems would arise for Raheesh which would force him to retire from the race before it had begun, despite the teams’ best efforts to do everything they could to get him back out in time for the race it wasn’t to be. So, with 1 rider down the others took their place on the grid ready to race. Finally lights out for the last time and off they went! It was a great start with all riders gaining good positions. On lap 10 Iwan came into the pits and retired due to technical issues. Finishing the race Harrison crossed the line in 13th, Ben in 14th, and Samuel in 22nd.
Overall, it was a productive weekend of learning for everyone with it being a new track and with lots of variables at play including altitude, cold, and wind. We look forward to round 2 at Donington Park in a few weeks’ time and wish Harrison a speedy recovery with his broken foot. As always we would like to say a big thank you to all of our team sponsors who help making this possible.