After three previous podiums finishes, Chrissy Rouse and the Morello Racing Kawasaki finally got to stand on the top step of the podium in the 2019 Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship when they claimed a brilliant win at Donington Park on Sunday.
The weekend had started on a damp note with wet weather during Friday’s free practice sessions but qualifying on Saturday saw good, dry conditions and a time of 1m31.481s on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR enabled Rouse to qualify in a strong fifth place, only two tenths of a second adrift of second placed rider Lee Jackson.
The threat of heavy rain for Sunday’s 15-lap race thankfully proved to stay away although it did get underway in damp conditions albeit with a dry line appearing. A good start from Newcastle’s Rouse saw him move up three places to complete the opening lap in second, sandwiched between the championship’s leading two riders, Taylor Mackenzie and series winner Richard Cooper.
On the third lap, the safety car was deployed due to a number of incidents and when racing resumed on lap six, Mackenzie crashed out of the action. Soon after, Chrissy took over the lead from Cooper and he never looked back, quickly opening up a lead over the Suzuki rider.
Aided by the fastest lap of the race, the second half of the race saw him extend his lead over Cooper on each and every lap and he eventually took the chequered flag and the win by a commanding 3.5s with the 25 points seeing him close to within three points of fourth place in the overall Championship table.
Rouse also had a new team-mate for the weekend in the form of former Morello Racing rider Fraser Rogers and he acquitted himself in both practice and qualifying, lining up on the fifth row of the grid for Sunday’s race.
However, that was just the precursor to what would prove to be an excellent race as he moved through the pack, especially in the early stages. After moving up to 13th on the first lap, two more places had been gained by lap three and with the next three laps seeing a flurry of activity he’d climbed up to sixth by half race distance. He remained in the position until the end to make it an excellent day for the team.
“We made a late decision to switch to dry tyres and it was that late that we didn’t have time to alter the settings of the bike so I went into the race with dry tyres but with a wet setting,” said Rouse.
“The race couldn’t have gone any better though and although the first few laps were a bit sketchy with the damp, as the race wore on, there was a good dry line which I used to my advantage.