Stunning weekend for Gearlink Kawasaki Donington Park - Round 4
The fourth round of the Pirelli National Superstock 600 Championship was held this weekend at Donington Park in front of a big World Superbike crowd and the two Gearlink Kawasaki National Superstock riders did a stunning job in front of a big crowd, Luke Hedger took a fantastic second place and the new recruit on the team after the departure of Nicole Mc Aleer was young Australian Mark Wilkinson, he had a great debut ride for the Gearlink Kawasaki team finishing in eighth place.
The two Superstock 600 sessions on Friday were a bit of a wash out with terrible conditions on Friday making all the sessions nearly impossible to go out in. It was like a different track on the Saturday with glorious sunshine and the two Gearlink riders had a good qualifying session with Luke qualifying in fourth on the second row and Mark in 14th.
Luke rode fantastically well all weekend and after a great start he was soon out leading the race and pulling a good lead after every lap. Soon he had a 3.8 advantage over his nearest rival but unfortunately the safety car was deployed on lap six which bunched the riders together. The car pulled into the pits with only two laps remaining and it was a dash to the line, he was very unlucky to miss out on his first win but still took another second place.
Luke Hedger - "I was really looking forward to coming to Donington as it's always been one of my favourite tracks. I felt really comfortable on the Gearlink Kawasaki all weekend and was happy with my qualifying position; I got a good start and got my head down. I managed to take the lead and just wanted to continue to remain focussed and putting in good lap times. I soon built up a large gap and then the safety car was sent out and we all had to bunch together, I knew the last few laps would have been messy and I really didn't want to get involved in any of that. Sadly I lost out on the win but still really pleased with second and some more good points for the Championship. I've really gelled with the bike now and learnt how to ride it properly and looking forward to getting to Knockhill in a few weeks' time."
Mark Wilkinson secured his best qualifying in the Superstock 600 class and instantly clicked with the Gearlink Kawasaki after having only one full session on the bike during the qualifying on Saturday. He got a good start and unlike Luke the safety car helped his progress and after the pack bunched together he was able to make some strong passes on the closing laps. Mark Wilkinson - "It was a brilliant debut weekend for me with the Gearlink Kawasaki team. I had my best qualifying result which put me in a really good position for a good race and a chance of some good Championship points. I made a solid start and got to work eventually moving up to 8th overall as the flag came out. I'm really pleased with my first result with the Gearlink Kawasaki team and for organising things on such short notice this week, I only spoke with Michael at the start of the week, I had a brief test at Brands Hatch mid-week and then raced this weekend and equalled my best race result. I would also like to say a big thank you to everyone back in Australia for their support and Plaza Auto Sales, GS Automotive, ROMP Design, the Oil Warehouse for all their help and support for 2013."
Team Manager Michael de Bidaph - "I'm really pleased with the results this weekend at Donington, both Luke and Mark did a fantastic job for the Gearlink Kawasaki team. Luke rode an extremely mature race and I'm very sure the race win is not far away now. He rode well in qualifying and despite the lack of track time set some really good times during the race. It was disappointing about the safety car but it had to come out due to the debris on the track, it left the race as a two lap sprint race but he was very mature and did not do anything stupid in the final laps. We are really pleased with the progress he has made so far and we're very sure there is more to come from him.
We are also extremely pleased to welcome Mark Wilkinson to the team, Nicole withdrew her ride from the team about a week and a half ago and Mark called at the beginning of the week to enquire about riding for us. We took him for a very brief test at Brands Hatch and then his first real time out on the bike was during the second qualifying on Saturday, he's really adapted well to the bike and to finish 8th is brilliant in his first ride for us.
I would also like to say a huge well done to Alastair for taking his ninth win on the Gearlink Kawasaki at the Northwest 200 last week. He rode a great race on the Thursday night despite a technical problem forcing him to miss the majority of qualifying and he had to start with the second wave of riders but he rode great and took the win. It was very sad for all the organisers involved that they had to cancel all the racing on Saturday due to the horrendous weather conditions.
We're really looking forward to getting to Knockhill with the full team in the middle of June and hope we can continue the good form from all the riders."