Damon Rees shows the Kiwi racer is the real deal- great test sessions before British SBK Championship Round 1 next weekend

Damon Rees shows the Kiwi racer is the real deal- great test sessions before British SBK Championship Round 1 next weekend

Damon Rees has waited a long time for this moment to arrive- and he could not be more pleased. Completing Final test sessions at Donington Park yesterday, the 24 year old confirmed his place amongst the best riders in 2020 Bennetts British SBK Championship.

Damon Rees BSB Final test sessions at Donington Park Photo Credit: Damon

BSB Final test sessions 1-4 went from P14, to P12, to P4 to P12 in final test. Finishing 7th Overall with gap of 0.302 off leader, Damon has secured confidence heading into debut BSB Opening Round at same venue next weekend.

Damon: ‘It feels incredible to be here! It’s been a long road, but totally worth it now that I’ve had my first day out on track for BSB. My main focus was to post solid times, complete race-stint durations in the sessions and see where I compare with my fellow competitors. I ended up being 3rd fastest in session 3, and 7th fastest overall so I’m really really happy. It’s a fantastic starting point’.

Racing under Astro JJR Racing with fellow Kiwi Shane Richardson, Damon certainly made test sessions count, not only sizing up bike settings but also management of consistent lap-times over the 4 sessions.

Damon: ‘My main focus is bike-set up, a little bit of pre-load here, and a little bit of compression there, can make all the difference – They’re minor changes but are so important to feel comfortable on the bike. I also wanted to ensure I can ride consistently at race-pace, which in the 4th session I achieved well’.

To put into perspective the level of experience in BSB Superstock 1000 class, leader of BSB final test yesterday debut Series in 2016, 2nd Overall won 2015 Moto3 Championship and 3rd placed Overall Tom Neave finished 5th in Superstock 600 class in ‘017, bef0re moving up to Superbike in ‘018 and then back to Superstock for 2020. For Damon to close Overall lap-time gap within .3 seconds – first time out speaks volumes on what lies ahead.

Damon Rees BSB testing Photo Credit: Damon

With oh-so-many adjustments this year- moving across to other side of world to then, sit everything out for number of months, to finally ready to race, Damon has put all learning curves to good use- for the better. #1: making most of opportunity to fully concentrate on training to race. #2: making consistent programme for physical, mental and well-being. 3: making commitment to healthy diet.

Damon: ‘Yeah most definitely, back home I was juggling a full-time job and racing. It meant that sometimes I had to sacrifice training for a day just to make sure I could get through the working week and ride on the weekend’.

‘But here in the UK, my main focus is 100% racing. I’m still working, but very flexible hours so I have a really solid training routine in place led by my partner who is training to be a Personal Trainer. I have also implemented a far better diet, and have lost a few Kgs since I moved here (A very hard task when the main UK diet is Fish & Chips, Pasties, Burgers & Pies!) Hahaha. It’s really great to eat, sleep and breathe like an athlete, and it will hopefully show in my results this season’.

With nerves kept at bay now that final test sessions are complete, and Damon knows where he stands against rest of field- how does it all feel at the moment?

Damon: ‘I was super nervous going into the Official Test, as I didn’t know how I was going to measure up. But now that the days’ done, I’m relieved and confident going into Round 1. The nerves will always be there, but it’s great to finally have the first day of BSB ticked off the list. I really want to make my country & family proud, so I hope I can do that’.

Words: Sharon Cox.

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