Castlerock’s Marty Nutt got his 2013 Ducati 848 Challenge Championship underway in fine style at the weekend with two podium finishes at Brands Hatch.
With cool weather making conditions tricky, Marty put in two measured rides at the Kent venue to claim second and third and put himself into second overall in the early Championship table.
The weekend couldn’t have started better for Marty with a brilliant pole position although it was close with Jonathan Railton just 0.03s behind. Indeed, from the moment the lights turned green in Saturday’s 15-lap race the two went head to head with veteran Mike Edwards also in the mix. The trio were nose to tail for the first half of the race before Marty took the lead with Railton going with him as they opened up a gap over Edwards. Railton managed to find a way by Marty in the final third of the race and after a slight moment at Paddock Hill Bend, scene of his heavy crash 12 months ago, he opted to settle for a strong second and 20 Championship points.
Sunday’s second encounter saw Marty make a slightly sluggish start and he found himself back in eighth at the completion of the first lap but he gradually worked his way through the pack and was up to fourth by half race distance. By that time, Railton and Edwards were clear in first and second and so Marty had to battle with Darren Fry for the final podium place and he moved up to third at the beginning of the 11th lap. Here he stayed until the chequered flag and the results mean that after round one, Railton leads the way on a maximum 50 points with Marty and Edwards tied for second on 36.
Speaking at the conclusion of the weekend, a delighted Marty said: “I didn’t imagine taking two podiums this weekend so to come away with a second and a third is brilliant and we’re a very happy team right now. We’ve learned a fair bit with the bike over the winter and it all paid dividends off the start line in the first race and being in the top three at the end of the first lap was just where I wanted to be.
“It was a really good, strong and consistent race and although the win looked on the cards at one stage, I had a moment at Paddock Hill when the front wheel locked and it was enough to make me back off a wee bit.
“I made a bit of a schoolboy error on Sunday though and fluffed the start but I know what I did wrong and although I dropped back to eighth I stayed calm and just picked them off one by one. Jonathan and Mike had opened up a fair sized gap but it’s a long season and, mindful of what happened this time last year, I just brought the bike home for third. It’s been a great start to the year and I’m over the moon with how it’s gone so thanks to all the team for their hard work.”
The next round of the series takes place at Donington Park on the weekend of May 26-28.