Liam ninth at Donington Park
It was a challenging weekend for Liam Delves and the Santander Salt TAG Racing outfit at the penultimate round of the 2020 Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship. Storm Alex put an end to the racing at Donington Park on Saturday, but Liam Delves rode well to clinch ninth place in the penultimate round of the 2020 Pirelli Superstock 600 championship on Sunday.
Friday’s free practice sessions saw Liam and his team work hard on making him feel comfortable onboard his R6, whilst gaining valuable data in the afternoon’s wet session, ahead of what was forecast to be a damp Saturday and Sunday.
Liam ended up 14th overall but was 6th in the second session that was run in the wet, despite it being his first time riding the R6 in wet conditions.
On Friday evening MSVR, the series organisers, made the decision to change Saturday’s schedule to accommodate the poor forecasted weather, meaning that Liam’s qualifying would be cancelled, forcing him to start Sunday’s race from 14th on the grid following his combined free practice times.
He explained: “That is not what we needed as we had worked hard through free practice to find a good wet setting ready for qualifying. The decision made was to use the free practice times for grid positions and as my fastest time was in the dry first session I will be starting my race from the seventh row.”
Due to a full cancellation of action on Saturday, Sunday’s timetable was full of races from 9:25am, with Liam’s race due to get underway at midday. The weather was much better on Sunday morning but the track still had some damp patches so conditions were difficult.
As the lights went out Liam was boxed in and pushed wide which meant he lost ground and completed the first lap in 21st position. But he got his head down and despite the safety car being deployed, he quickly regained his composure and after a safety car deployment, the race fired back into life with seven laps remaining. The 19-year-old began to pick his way through the field, improving on his lap times each lap, eventually making his way into ninth place on the final lap, holding off Simon Reid at flag.
Liam said: “It’s been a strange weekend really, we started off ok and we made some changes to the bike to make me feel a little more confident in certain areas of the track, but then the rain came. The organisers made the correct call to cancel Saturday because the weather would have impossible to ride in, it was not pleasant at all. So, we focussed on Sunday, starting from 14th wasn’t ideal at all, far from it, I knew I had a lot of work to do but I was ready for it.
The track was quite tricky, it was damp in some places and drying in others, so to work my way into ninth from 20th after the opening lap I’m reasonably happy. It’s a shame that the title is out of our reach now, but it makes me hungrier to put in a big challenge at Brands Hatch. Once again I thank everyone at TAG Racing for a fantastic weekend and all their hard work.”
Liam now sits sixth in the 2020 Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship on 49 points.
The final round of the series is a “double header” Brands Hatch on October 16/18. The team now have a two-week break before heading south to Brands Hatch for the final round of the 2020 Bennetts BSB seasonon October 16/18 when Liam will have two chances to move up into the top three.