Mixed start to the season for Chris Kent at Brands Hatch

Buxton racer Chris Kent was in action at the opening round of the 2024 British Motorcycle Racing season at Brands Hatch.
Chris Kent in action at Brands Hatch.Chris Kent in action at Brands Hatch.
Chris Kent in action at Brands Hatch.

Kent arrived with a rebuilt MZ250 machine based around a new TS frame, due to last season’s ETZ frame suffering unrepairable damage.

Kent managed to qualify in fourth place for race one, which took place in dry conditions. Despite improving his qualifying time by over a second he was unable to stay with the leaders and had a battle with another rider for several laps before finally being passed on the last lap and finishing fifth overall.

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Afterwards Kent said: “I wasn’t expecting too much from that race. It’s the first time I’ve ridden this bike in the dry so I need to get used to it, but I’m happy to have lapped in the low 58s”

Starting from the middle of the second row for race two, Kent slipped back a couple of places but managed to fight his way forward, eventually taking the lead three laps from the end. Unfortunately a missed gear change coming onto the straight at the end of the penultimate lap dropped him back to fourth place, but still with a fighting chance.

However, it was not to be, as the two leaders from the faster class of bikes racing alongside the MZs, came through and effectively split the group into two pairs making it impossible for Kent to improve from fourth place, and he commented: “I was disappointed not to be on the podium as the bike felt solid and I was riding well.”

Sunday morning saw a wet race with Kent starting from fourth. Initially dropping back a couple of places he fought into third place and was chasing the second place rider for several laps before a couple of mistakes and slides dropped him back a couple of seconds.

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Three laps from the end it looked like the local man would have to settle for a third place finish, until another rider showed him a wheel and galvanised him again.

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At the same moment Kent realised that the second place man had dropped back and was vulnerable to attack, so efforts were redoubled and Kent was able to grab second place on the last lap.

Kent said: “I felt comfortable on the bike again although the rear slides caused me to ease off a little, almost too much as it turned out, but getting into a battle again helped me do my fastest lap right at the end and I’m happy with second”

The final race of the weekend began in dry conditions with Kent in the middle of the front row, but disaster struck as his bike jumped out of gear when the race started, dropping him to the back of the field.

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Determined to begin some ground, the Buxton man began a charge and had picked up ten places when another gearbox glitch caused him to run onto the rumble strip, then into the grass run-off area.

It looked as though he had managed to remain upright and would be able to rejoin the race when the front wheel tucked and he went down, bringing his valiant charge to an end.

He said: “It was a bit of a mixed weekend as far as results go, but overall I’m happy with my progress and the gearbox should be fixed for the next round at Pembrey in April.”

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