Rollo reigns in the rain as Swaffham superbike squad tastes Donington Park race victory
The Swaffham-based RAF Regular and Reserve Kawasaki squad had silverware to take home after the penultimate round of the British Superbike Championship.
Lewis Rollo beat both his rivals and the weather to score the team’s maiden victory in the National Superstock 1000 class at Donington Park on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, his team-mate, Ryan Vickers, recovered from a crash in practice to record two top 10 finishes in the premier category.
Frequent spells of heavy rain made conditions at the Leicestershire circuit challenging throughout the weekend.
Organisers were forced to revise Saturday’s race schedule because of the weather, while there was also fierce criticism of the track surface from some riders.
But the conditions didn’t slow Rollo down as he leapt from his starting position of ninth up to third on the opening lap of Saturday’s Superstock race.
He then passed the reigning champion, Chrissy Rouse, and the early pacesetter, Australia’s Billy McConnell to take the lead on lap three.
And, while others including McConnell fell in the conditions, Rollo stayed upright to bring home maximum points.
He said: “It was really tricky out there and wee moments felt like huge moments so I just concentrated on hitting my apexes and clicking my laps off.
“It felt mega to get the win and be on the top step and I was so happy to get the team a trophy as it’s been a hard old year at times.”
The joy proved to be shortlived as a crash ended Rollo’s second race of the weekend on Sunday.
But team boss Lee Hardy said the Scotsman’s win was “something we really needed as a team”.
He added: “Lewis put in a phenomenal ride on Saturday. The bike was on rails and he rode impeccably.”
A crash in Friday’s opening session put Vickers well down the Superbike field in practice.
And a lack of track time in dry conditions proved costly in the second of the weekend’s three races when he finished 15th.
But after eighth and sixth placed finishes in the other two races, which were both run in the wet, Vickers said he had felt much more comfortable in the rain.
He added: “We’ve had a difficult few rounds of late but a huge thanks to the team for sticking by me and keeping their heads up, I really appreciate it so it’s good to reward them with two strong finishes this weekend.”
The season reaches its climax next weekend at Brands Hatch.