Regular readers will know about Tyler Donovan: the up and coming star of the British bike racing scene, whom Tinder has the honour of sponsoring.
We asked Tyler to give us the lowdown on his latest progress:
“Round 3, Snetterton, infamously my least favourite race track on the calendar! However I was oddly looking forward to the round: we had made some tweaks to the bike and she was running smoother than ever, and for the first time I’d be using a Q/A (quick action) throttle.
By the time it came to the Qualifying round, not only was it my first time on track all weekend, but we’d already had torrential downpour, thunderstorms and sleet, so I was pretty nervous. Luckily, come my time to go out, it had started to dry.
Race 1, I was starting P15 (13th in class), however for the first time in my thunderbikes ultra career, it was raining and raining hard, something I was excited for because two years prior it rained in my debut rookie race weekend and I rocketed through the grid! The only question now was – can I still do that now I’m no longer a rookie and on a bike with a lot more power?
I got a good start and moved to the left, everyone’s very nervy going into turn one and I just found the sweet spot and charged through, finishing the race 4th with close to 20 seconds to the next bike behind me.
Race 2: Starting P7 I knew I was even more in the fight then yesterday’s race so again with a good start I was in P3 by turn 1 and dived up the inside of 2nd into the second corner. This was the point I knew I’d say goodbye to using my tyres again and went for it with zero tyre preservation in mind at all.
First pulled a couple of seconds ago however I knew that the tyre manufacturer he was using was much softer and in these dryer conditions wouldn’t last and within a couple laps this was evident, all of a sudden I was reeling him in and quickly too, we joined the back straight and he had the exact same moment I had in the previous race (and he was the guy who took my 3rd from me so it was time to repay the favour) and I was off, for the first time in my racing career I was the first bike that came around each corner to be seen but the emotions was out of this world, I had to compose myself and keep telling myself I wasn’t in first and that I’m still racing for first and lap by lap I just kept going quicker and quicker and pulled the best part of a 4 second gap! On the last lap I see I had a fair margin so just had to make sure I hit my marks, the guy in second had an intermediate rear tyre in that was starting to come to its own but I knew to get round that last corner well and it didn’t matter. The last corner come around I got a beautiful, smooth exit and powered on to take my very first win, my head was down in my tank before the line as my emotions finally caught up to me and it was finally done, my first race victory.
Race 3, this would not only be the first time racing here in complete dry but the first time properly racing with the Q/A throttle. I knew I needed a good start and to follow and learn from my more experienced peers, I started P4 and did just that for a good portion of the race. I held my punches well and managed to finish P7.
Race 4 was looking good, until I noticed a judder that almost felt like the chain was skipping teeth on the sprocket, and slowly but surely straight by straight it was getting worse until I joined the start finish straight to be met by minimal drive and a lot of juddering. I knew it was dangerous to carry on so quickly pulled into the pits to find my rear sprocket no longer had teeth on it and what was left was more like curves!
As unfortunate of an ending this was, it was definitely a day I’ll never forget and what an achievement to finally get after years of only dreaming of the moment”