Race Report – New Personal Best for Britain’s Woman Racer Lara Small At Donington
You might not know much about Lara Small (local to Jersey, Derby or Chesterfield) but we at MOTORESS are on the fortunate receiving end of her race reports. Lara is an amateur woman motorcycle racer from England and a Troop Commander in the Army Reserves and races with the British Army Motorcycle.
During this season’s race eight of nine, this past September she set a new personal best on her Moto Honda at Donington Park Racing Circuit. With this return to her local track, Lara was determined to make the eighth race meet of the season another opportunity to take chunks of time of her previous lap records. With 5 races during this venue, two of which were back to back, Lara worked hard to get her lap times down.
Lara Was Determined to Make The Eighth Race Another Opportunity To Improve
Her best results have come from being in the thick of it. Lara explains, “It was the last race of the day and I could see how I was gaining on the group in front. I kept myself relaxed and maximized every ounce of corner speed to take chunks out of the group ahead of me. I was braking later than I ever have before, and crucially, getting off the brakes to maximise my corner speed through the Esses chicane.”
“I remember telling myself to be brave, clipping my knee on the left kerb, flipping the bike quickly from left to right, and driving hard on the right hand chevrons on the way out. I was really squeezing all the grip out of the front tyre as I locked on the anchors into the tight hairpins – I even stuffed two people up on the inside!”
Lara finished the British Military Interservices Challenge, Thundersport GB, in 18th place, a fair effort being she was competing on a 50bhp bike against 100bhp+ bikes. This race is for any serving personnel on any bike, a great mix up! “I was really pleased in this race as during the first lap, before any of the bigger bikes could escape on the straights, I kept my corner speed high and overtook a 600cc bike on the climb from the bottom of craner curves to the top of coppice. The rider even came to shake my hand for doing so well on a smaller bike!”
However, disaster almost struck a few laps into the second race, where during some heavy braking into the hairpin, her bike wouldn’t stop. Lara described, “A very disconcerting feeling when you plough into a corner and start missing your turning point…”! She had to stay off the pace to save what was left of her brakes. “When we stripped them down in the paddock, we discovered there was no left brake pad left. Big oops!”
Race Results 23-24 September, 2016
- Qualification – 30th of 59 riders – 1:55.4, reasonable start
- Race 1 – 23rd of 39 riders (stated in 25th) – 1:54.7 lap time – better
- Race 2 – Military Race – 18th of 27 riders (started in 24th) – 1:55
- Race 3 – 26th of 32 riders (started in 10th) – 1:56.1 (brake fade!)
- Race 4 – 28th of 40 riders (started in 28th) – 1:56.2
- Race 5 – 10th of 39 riders (started in 15th) – 1:53.2 –NEW PB! (2015 best result 1:54.6)
More About Lara Small
Lara Small (31), is a semi-professional motorbike racer, sponsored by Via Moto Honda in Chesterfield and races her CB500 in the Thundersport 500 category. She is a Manufacturing Engineering Team Leader at Rolls-Royce in Derby and a Troop Commander of a Troop in Chesterfield. Lara’s main sponsor is Via Moto Honda in Chesterfield. She has lived in Derby since 2011 and is also a team member of the British Army Motorcycle Road Racing team. Lara holds the rank of Captain and is part of 33 Engineer Regiment, 350 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers based in Nottingham. Lara has been racing since March 2015 and races with Thundersport GB, a race meet organizer for tracks all over the UK.
Lara’s Main Sponsors: Via Moto (Motorcycle Dealer in Chesterfield), FUCHS Silkolene (Oils and lubricants), Knox (Motorcycle clothing and protection)