Posted: 30.04.21 at 19:05 by Tim Lethaby
Motorbike racer Damon Smith, from Street, came away from the first round of the championship at Brands Hatch with a trophy in a strong start to the season.
This was the first race weekend of the 2021 North Gloucester Road Racing Championship season with Damon onboard the DS Racing Kawasaki #23 Kawasaki ZX10R, racing in the Stock 1000cc class.
Damon arrived at the world famous at Brands Hatch circuit in Kent on Thursday evening ready for an official test day on Friday.
He said: "The test day went well although we had some teething problems with the traction control and a battery issue but ended the day well, getting up to speed quickly.
"A bright, sunny but cold morning followed on Saturday - with some new tyres and brake pads we were ready for morning warm-up and qualifying where we ended fourth in class on the grid for Race 1.
"I got a good start although dropped a couple of places into the manic Paddock Hill Bend and Druids with 40 other riders, but quickly regained some places to eventually finish third in class, grabbing a podium and a trophy, and frustratingly only 0.002 seconds from the fastest lap of the race.
"Saturday night I managed to get some laps in on the bicycle to try and eliminate some areas I wanted to work on with early apex errors I was making.
"In the first race on Sunday morning I had a race long battle with my good local mate Lee Hembury, exchanging places all race but my rear tyre was quickly losing grip resulting in Lee just pipping me over the line with 0.013 seconds between us and I finished sixth in class, shaving another second off my PB now lapping Brands at 0.51.552."
For race 3, Damon had to use a spare used rear tyre that he had from Friday's test day which was past its best but a lot better than the tyre that was on the bike in Race 2.
He got a better start this time but was unable to keep the pace he had earlier in the race due to the rear tyre but kept the leaders in sight having a great tussle, eventually grabbing fifth place.
Damon said: "A great weekend to kick off the season, with some solid results, smashing my PB lap time and a trophy.
"We left Brands Hatch third in the championship overall, a great start to the championship, but there's still a long way to go."
To follow Damon's progress throughout the year on social media, search for DS Racing Kawasaki #23 on Facebook and Instagram.
Damon said he would like to thank his sponsors because without them, the racing would not be possible:
* Simon Lane and Steve Whitear from HEL Performance for the amazing brakes and suspension setup and advice
* Andy Forbes-Buckingham of AFB Motorcycles in Bridgwater
* Dan Lou Howley of Twosixfit Gym & Fitness Centre in Somerton
* Mark Hawks of MPH Telecom in Martock
* Paul and Judith Redmore of P J Parcels of Wells
* Roger Stacey of RA Stacey Plant Hire in Glastonbury
* Carl Woodward of Woodward Mortgage & Insurance Services in Street
* Adi Sully of Vehicle Life Support in Wells
* Julie Williams of Ambrosini Construction Group in Wells
* John Holdsworth of R&T Fish Bar in Glastonbury
* Nigel Eddleston-Dike of EDP Photonews, Opie Oils, Matthew Parsons of ParSigns in Somerton and all at Club 23 personal sponsorship scheme, without you all it wouldn't be possible.
Damon said: "Also big thanks to my amazing partner Cat Barnstable for all your help and support over the weekend. Next stop Donington Park."