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Battle for the 848 Challenge hots up at Donington Park

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Railton and Nutt go all-out for victory in front of a packed Donington crowd.

The race for the third Ducati TriOptions 848 Challenge crown hotted up this weekend at Donington Park as the series once again provided some scintillating racing. Marty Nutt took victory in race one after pole-sitter and pace-setter Dennis Hobbs was forced into retirement with a broken gear lever early on.

Crucially from a championship perspective, Jonathan Railton appeared to have a turnaround in both confidence and pace over the course of the weekend, setting a front-row worthy lap time in race one to give himself a great opportunity in the second contest.

The Boast Plumbing-backed rider looked on it from the very first lap, and had soon moved into second place behind Marty Nutt with the pair pulling a big gap to the chasing pack running a blistering pace that saw the lap record broken three times. The pair were inseparable for most of the 10 lap race, but it was an incredible move around the outside of Nutt from Railton on the penultimate lap that handed the young rider victory and kept him in the hunt for the title with four races left to run in 2013.

Railton said, “It was a fantastic race and I really enjoyed it. I had to push so hard to catch Marty and to get past was very rewarding. We’ve had a dry run of podiums recently and I’ve had a lack of confidence, but that win has certainly helped fix that.”

In National Superstock 1000 both Tristan Palmer and Robbie Brown raced hard to fly the Ducati flag in a class recently dominated by Japanese machinery. Palmer has been something of a revelation aboard the 1199 Panigale, but started out this weekend on the back foot with his competition having raced in support of the World Superbike Championship round at Donington earlier in the season before the midlander signed to ride for Rapido Sport Racing. Track time was further reduced with Friday’s running lost to rain, but Palmer still managed to run top ten pace during the race and finished in the points in 12th across the line.

Palmer said, “It’s not been the best weekend – we started out on the back foot as everyone else raced here earlier in the season and I didn’t. We did improve the bike in the two dry sessions we had before the race, but we just didn’t have enough track time to close the gap on the front guys. I wrecked my tyre trying to come through the field which made life difficult at the end of the race. Silverstone is a good track for me, so we’ll just get on with it and get back to the front there.”

It was a tough weekend in the main superbike class for Rapido Sport Racing and rider Matteo Baiocco. After topping a very wet free practice session on Friday, Baiocco couldn’t replicate his pace in the dry on Saturday and Sunday. 20th position in qualifying made the job even harder, and the reigning Italian Superbike champion was forced to retire from race one with set-up issues after just eight laps. Race two proved a little more successful for the rider from Osimo, posting his fastest times of the weekend and crossing the line just outside the points in 17th.

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