Gilbert makes fine start in International Classic GP

Don Gilbert
Don Gilbert

Pulborough biker Don Gilbert has teamed up with the world class EXACTWELD racing team in 2016 to compete in the International Classic Grand Prix.

The bike he will ride is a prototype GP 250cc two stroke which has been developed and manufactured by the East Grinstead based team themselves.

The team won the European 250 GP Championship in 1984 and have competed in the World GP Championship.

Gilbert and the team endured a week’s pre-season testing at Circuit de Cartagena back in February to get dialled in for the season ahead.

The first race on the schedule was Paul Ricard, which is a former Formula 1 circuit and is often used for testing, where the team achieved a fifth and sixth place position which stands them in fifth currently in the championship.

That was after a horror start when the engine seized up and they missed the whole of the practice and qualified at the back of the grid, before picking through the traffic.

Gilbert said: “It’s been a long winter especially after the injuries I sustained racing at the Manx Grand Prix in the Isle of Man and to be honest I wasn’t sure if ever racing a motorcycle was going to be comfortable again with the injuries incurred.

“Luckily after lots of physio and scar massage, my leg is now fully functional and doesn’t affect me on the bike whatsoever and as soon as I could, I was back putting lots of hours of training in on the motocross bike.

“I’m very lucky and privileged to say that I’m riding for such an experienced team, the offer came about shortly after my accident and I couldn’t resist the opportunity.”

On the first race, Gilbert added: “Our lap times where a fraction down on the leader but I’m confident that if we managed to squeeze a few laps in practise, we would of matched, if not gone quicker than the leading 250.”

Their next meeting is at Assen in Holland which is on June 4 and 5.

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