Small makes a big impression on track

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Chesterfield motorbike racer Lara Small made a big impression at Brands Hatch in the opening round of the GB Racing British Military Inter-Services Championship .

Firmly embedded in the Army Motorcycle Sprint Road Racing team, representing 350 Field Squadron, Lara and the Knight Road Racing Ducati 1198 made their mark in adverse, wet conditions.

It wasn’t quite the perfect start to 2017 as Cartagena testing was cut short because of gearbox problems and then only a few of the Friday test day sessions were ridden.

Wet weather over the weekend also made life difficult for the rider.

That meant qualifying at Brands Hatch was Small’s first proper test session on the bike, where it was soon realised that the Knight Road Racing Ducati didn’t have a useful second gear.

Small was towards the back of the grid for the first race of the Military Inter-Services Championship, but battled hard despite the early problems.

She used the bike’s power to annoy some smaller engine riders.

Races on the Sunday saw the pace pick up in the GP1 grid — the fastest grid in the paddock — and Small bagged a 25th place from 28 racers, starting at the back of the grid.

She also nailed a 21st placing from 27 racers, again from the back.

It was a progressive and safe result for the racer in mostly-awkward racing conditions, where riders were never sure which tyres to use.

Lara said: “Paddock Hill Bend with a squishy, slipping front wet tyre isn’t the most comfortable of feelings, but I learnt a lot about riding a big bike and could appreciate the pace of those around me.

“There is plenty to learn and respect.”

Small is backed by 350 Field Squadron, 33 Engineering Regiment; Royal Engineers in Nottingham; Alan Knight of Knight Road Racing (owner and mechanic); FUCHS Silkolene (oils and lubricants); and Knox (motorcycle clothing and protection).