Jubilant Kent shines in battle royals with motorcycling legends

Buxton rider Chris Kent in action at Donington Park. (PHOTO BY: JTW Motorsport Photography)
Buxton rider Chris Kent in action at Donington Park. (PHOTO BY: JTW Motorsport Photography)

A triumphant weekend for Buxton rider Chris Kent moved him up to third place in the standings for the British Motorcycle Club’s MZ250 Championship.

Kent was the top points’ scorer over the two days at Donington Park, recording a win and two second places to defy a six-week break from action.

He pulled no punches in battle royals with two leading riders, triple champion Mark Taylor and double champion Chris Rogers. And now he can’t wait for the next round of the series at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire on August 18 and 19.

“It was fantastic to be involved in such close racing with two racing legends,” said Kent. “It was very tight, but all the moves were clean and fair, and I’m happy to have closed the points’ gap on the other riders at the top of the standings.”

The initial qualifying session ended with the three fancied riders occupying the front row of the grid, with Kent in second place. And it wasn’t long before he took the lead through the famous Craner Curves, scene two years previously of a major crash which left him in hospital with multiple injuries.

From then on, the lead changed hands several times. At the start of the last lap, Rogers seemed to have a large enough gap, but Kent put in the fastest lap of the race to close him down and edge home by just 0.004 seconds at the flag.

The second race began with Kent in pole position. But again, the top three were very closely matched and the lead changed repeatedly, with slipstreaming being used to great effect on the straights.

Kent led over the line on seven of the ten laps, but it was anyone’s race and always looked like being decided on the last corner. Kent and Taylor rode elbow to elbow at 100mph, and in the final straight, the latter just came out in front by 0.5 seconds, with Rogers a close third.

For the third and final race, Kent started from third place on the grid and as soon as the lights went out, the fight began again.

The Buxton man seemed to have the edge on the first part of the track, but his rivals were able to stay close enough to capitalise on any small errors.

Overtakes happened on every part of the track and Kent was sitting third when Taylor raised his hand to indicate a problem, allowing Kent up to second.

On the penultimate lap, Kent’s clutch lever failed, meaning gear changes became more difficult. He still regained the lead and opened a gap on Rogers but, on the main straight, he missed a gear change and lost momentum.

Rogers was able to nip ahead into the chicane and took the win by four-hundredths of a second.