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Brown caps Ducati 848 Challenge crown with win

This year's Ducati 848 Challenge season drew to a close at the home of British Motorsport this weekend as the riders took to the fantastic Silverstone GP circuit.

Going into the weekend only one out of the top three championship positions had been decided, as Robbie Brown (Ducati Manchester) was crowned champion at Donington Park two weeks ago. This left plenty to play for, as James Folkard (Minards Pavlou Solicitors), Mike Edwards (OHLINS @ P&H Motorcycles) and Darren Fry (Hirebase Ducati Coventry) were all in with a shot of taking the runner up spot.

The new champion, Brown, carried his season-long momentum into this final round, setting the fastest time in Free Practice on Friday and putting his bike on pole position for Race One. From there Brown ran the race he’d been hoping for, disappearing into the distance at a rate of two seconds a lap.


Brown eventually crossed the line fifteen seconds ahead of second-placed man Folkard, who himself capped off an excellent rookie season in the stock class with the points needed to secure second in the championship, ahead of Edwards who had to retire with mechanical problems, and Marty Nutt (Nutt Travel).

Edwards seized the motor in Saturday’s race and had to get a hire bike for Sunday’s race – and although they tried to swap all his stuff and settings over, with no warm up – it really was a wing and a prayer stuff lining up for the race on Sunday.

The bike didn’t really fit him, and all the settings felt alien, but stayed out and hung on to it, giving him the chance to fight for third in the championship as he lined up on the front row alongside Darren Fry, his rival for that spot. As the race got underway though he was unable to maintain Fry’s pace, and found himself stuck in an epic battle for fourth place with Mark Cheetham (Shorrock/Ducati Leeds Motorcycles) and Ed Smith (Ultim8 Racing).

After a strong showing in recent rounds, Smith showed great form yet again this weekend, displaying maturity and strong pace as he clinched the third place from Edwards.

Ahead of that battle, an uncharacteristic mistake and tumble into the gravel from Brown on the first lap made it a scrap between Fry and Folkard for the lead. Fry, resurgent after a difficult mid-season on and off the track, looked like making a move on Folkard for the majority of the race, but ultimately settled for second place knowing that this would hand him third in the championship overall.

Race 2 winner, James Folkard:

“After Robbie unfortunately went down early on I could see from my pit board that it was going to be a two way battle between Darren and I. I was actually glad it was Darren, because I knew he wasn’t going to push too hard because he wanted to secure third place in the championship, so I slowed my pace down a little bit, and I thought if there was going to be a battle it would be towards the end. The battle never came so it was as easy as a win can be really. I think this win will help push us on to a strong season next year”

Another excellent season of racing in the Ducati 848 Challenge draws to a close and the championship will once again resume with British Superbikes in 2013.

Race 1 Result: Brown – Folkard – Nutt – Fry – Cheetham – Smith – Fowler – Keen – Coventry – Fagan* – Adam – Poole –White – Holden – Beckett – Poyser – Wyatt – Jordan – Neary – Wilson – A Brown – Hasler – de Tarnowsky – Gilbert – Broadway – O’Grady


Race 2 Result: Folkard – Fry – Smith – Nutt – Edwards – Cheetham – Coventry – Fowler – Keen – Fagan* – White – Poole – Beckett – Holden – Adam – Poyser – Neart – Jordan – A Brown – Wilson – Hasler – de Tarnowsky – Broadway – Gilbert – O’Grady – Sarah Jordan

Championship Top Ten after Round Eight, Silverstone GP

Brown (325.5pts), Folkard (213.5), Fry (175), Edwards (168.5), Coventry (128), Smith (127), Beckett (117.5), Cheetham (115), Keen (83), Dawson (77)

Next year the series will be run by MSVR, who are reponsible for putting on the whole British Superbike show.

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