Hopkins continues his Superstock progress
Despite the weekend being disrupted by bad weather, Hollins Strategic Land rider Luke Hopkins recovers to finish 18th, having started 31st, in the second Pirelli National Superstock 1000 race at Donington Park on Sunday. That was after struggling to a 27th place finish in the damp first race.
Hopkins switched from the Kawasaki he had been using up until now to a new 2020 Honda Fireblade for the penultimate round of the series. Having successfully used the bike at club racing level he was keen to try it in the National championship.
He registered the 19th fastest time in FP1 on Friday before further progress was halted in a wet FP2.
Qualifying was due to take mid-Saturday morning but the organisers were forced to revise the racing program due to adverse weather. This mean that qualifying was cancelled and the grid positions were based on the free practice times.
As the weather continued to deteriorate during Saturday the first Superstock1000 race was held over until Sunday.
On Sunday the weather had improved but it was cold and the track still damp for the first of two races this weekend. The opening lap proved eventful for Hopkins as twice he found himself forced off track. The result was he plummeted down the timing sheet to find himself dead last on the 2.5 mile Donington Park circuit, at the end of the first lap.
Hopkins struggled to get into any sort of rhythm after that. Although he made up several places he crossed the line in a disappointing 27th position.
Later the same day Hopkins was back out on the Honda. For the second race he would start 31st on the grid. Hopkins never one to shirk a challenge was determined to perform in the improving conditions.
He launched himself off the starting grid shooting through the opening corners of Redgate and Hollywood. On the first lap he made up a phenomenal nine positions, moving into 22nd position.
There was still more to come from the Sittingbourne racer.
He then went head to head with Tom Tunstall. The two switch places a several times as Hopkins moved into twentieth place before Tunstall retook the position.
The two then began to close down on the number 5 of Johnny Blackshaw. With five laps remaining Hopkins passed Tunstall. The following lap he got the better of Blackshaw and went on to finish the race in a fantastic 18th place.
Luke Hopkins said, “Firstly thank you to my team Hollins Strategic Land and all my sponsors including HM Quickshifter and Scuff 2 New. We made the decision to switch to the Honda and I am confident it will be better for me. With the weather we had this weekend it proved difficult to get it just right as we had to keep switching settings. Race one was not what I wanted. After the first lap I found myself off the track and dead last. Although I made up some of the lost places I was unable to get a consistent good lap time. Starting the second race in 31st was not ideal but I knew in the improved weather we had more pace. It was a lot of fun catching and overtaking a number of riders and was delighted that we recovered to cross the line where we did.”
The final round of the championship will be on the GP circuit and Brands Hatch on 16th to 18th October.
Images: Kerry Rawson