The bank holiday weekend saw the British Talent Cup return to Donington Park Race Circuit for round 2 where it was running with the World Superbike Series. The first round of the BTC had been cut short due to horrendous weather conditions with the second race being cancelled due to the flooded track. The weather hadn’t improved much for round 2 and young Jack Hart from Renfrew headed out onto a very wet circuit with the other Talent Cup riders for FP1 on Friday morning.
Friday Practice and Qualifying
Jacks main aim was to just get a feel for the track and conditions without worrying too much about his lap times. This went well for the majority of the session as he was in the top ten but on the final lap he was caught out with a stream that was running across the track and ended up with a sore high side. Jack dusted himself down as the BTC team set about repairing his bike for FP2. The second session was in the afternoon and the track had dried substantially but was still damp enough that they had to use wet tyres. Due to using full wets on a drying track Jack had a good feel and was able to set some impressive lap times running in the top 6 for most of the session, unfortunately he ran slightly off line into the chicane which caused him to again crash out. The mechanics then had a frantic time to repair his bike ready for the qualifying session which took place in the evening on a completely dry track. The BTC team did a great job and his bike was like new with slick tyres and dry setting when he headed out to the track. After the earlier crashes Jack had to build up his speed and get a feel for the dry track, running in the top 12 Jack made a quick pit stop to get some settings changed to try for a final fast lap. Whilst the other riders were in groups and pushing each other along Jack found himself alone on track and struggling to know how hard to push dropped back in the timesheets to qualify in a still very impressive 15th Position for the two races.
Race 1 – Saturday
The first race was in the afternoon on Saturday and the riders spent most of the morning handing out leaflets and meeting the fans before preparing for Race 1. This time also gave Jack the chance to work with Santi the suspension expert to try and iron out some issues he had in the dry qualifying. The bike was all set up and the conditions were ideal for the start of the race which was shown live via the British Talent Cup website. Jack didn’t have the greatest start and dropped back off the line but he braked really late into the first corning and managed to make up a couple of positions. He was just on the back of the group of 6 riders vying for 7th position and felt comfortable that he could go quicker. Jack then managed to overtake Ross Turner for 12th position but Ross fought right back and got Jack into the final corner, they then spent the next couple of laps overtaking each other but this let the group in front get away. Jack then battled away with Ross for the rest of the race for 11th Position with Ross just piping Jack by 0.1s on the line. This gave Jack a solid 12th position and a good 4 points in the championship.
Race 2 – Sunday
For race two the preparation on the Sunday was similar to Saturday but Jack also spent some time with the Rider coach Dani Ribalta to try and see where he could improve, Dani was able to highlight some changes to Jacks technique and lines and along with Santi they also made some more suspension changes to the bike. Jack was feeling confident for the race and was determined to get off to a good start and push hard on the first lap. He did this perfectly and had moved to 12th Position by the first corner, Scott Ogden and Fenton Seabright then clashed causing Jack to go round the outside in the corner but he kept it full gas even when Scotts broken exhaust was leaning on his leg. By the end of the first lap Jack was sitting in 10th Position and was at the back of the group of riders battling for 4th Position. Over the next 12 laps Jack worked his way through each of them feeling confident with the bike and believing he could get to 4th Position, with two laps to go Jack had got into 5th position and was right behind Josh Whatley. When lining up to overtake Josh Jack ran slightly wide and Cameron Horseman and Storm Stacy both took advantage and got past him. This upset Jacks rhythm that he had built up and when he tried to overtake Cameron on the last corner he ran wide again and this let Brian Hart (no relation!) past and Jack finished in a still fantastic 9th Position. The riders Jack was competing against are generally one to two years older and have much more experience so to be competing with them was a great achievement.
The next round of the British Talent Cup is run alongside the British Superbike Championship at Snetterton over the weekend of June 15-17th, this is a completely new track for Jack to learn but he is confident he can compete again with the main group and build on this weekend results.