By Alec Trusler and Kirsty Bremner
Multi Scottish Supermoto Champion Douglas (Dougie) Cunningham began racing for Motosupplies in conjunction with Aquarius Thermal Systems in the British Supermoto for the 2011 season. Dougie was aiming to have a top 5 finish in his rookie full year racing in the British Supermoto Championships.
After completing the first 2 rounds, with a few problems, he was sitting in a respectable 7th position in the championship. Before Round 3 at Rowrah.
Rowrah saw Dougie’s first ride on the SM 450RR, and after a short warm up he was straight into qualifying, qualifying in 3rd place on the front row for race 1. After a great start a stall in the off-road caused Dougie to fall back, but after a strong recovery he managed a 12th place finish. Race 2 saw Dougie complete a superb consistant race moving up from 12th to finish 5th over the line putting him back in contention for the final. Dougie was already causing ripples throughout the paddock, what was about to happen stunned everyone, from 5th on the grid Dougie was first out of turn 1, a position he held to the chequered flag, taking his first ever win at British championship level in 2011. On the Sunday (open championship), Dougie decided to stick with the 450cc bike, and again stunned everyone with his pace. A very consistant day with no mistakes, he managed two 3rd places in the heat races giving him another front row start for the final. Moving up to 2nd off the start, he held this position to the flag, giving him 2nd on the podium, but top points scorer of the day.
Round 4 was at Three Sisters race circuit, Wigan. It saw yet annother great points scoring weekend for Dougie, where he ended up 4th in the final, just missing out on the final podium positions. Dougie was now mainly concentrating on the British SM Open Championship. Day 2 Dougie fought back from a first corner crash to finish 7th in race 1, and in a similar incident in race 2, where he was 2nd going into turn 1, he was shunted from behind and a pile-up occurred, resulting in Dougie fighting back from last position, to 6th for the final. Not wanting a repeat of race 1 and 2, Dougie kept out of trouble and come over the line in 4th, boosting his points tally, and jumped into 4th in the championship.
It was Dougies first time at Blyton, Round 5. After some good practise time on the Saturday, he went into the open class championship on the Sunday, not that far off the pace. Dougie finished 6th in race one, a position he wasn’t happy with, but the Blyton experts were going to take some catching. Race two was a different story, a better start and solid race finishing 4th giving him a front row start for the final. Off the start in the final Dougie jumped up to 3rd, a position he held for a few laps but as the race went on he was passed by a couple of riders due to a slight loss of power (which turned out to be a leaking radiator, and over heating engine). Finishing 6th, rounded off another consistant points scoring weekend, keeping his 4th place championship position.
Back to Three Sisters at Wigan for Round 6 and Dougie was now getting to grips with this circuit. Again Dougie used Saturday for practise, he went into Sunday morning qualifying not far off the pace but struggled to get a clear lap and ultimately finished 7th. Struggling to see the start lights in the bright sun in race 1, Dougie had a slow start but with some great racing he finished 5th. Race 2 was similar, with some great racing against Richard Blakeman and Craig Venske, which he held off to the chequered flag again to finish 5th. From the start in the final he slotted into 4th position, and although pushing hard to close the gap to the front 3 who were lapping at a similar pace, so with a couple of laps remaining Dougie cruised over the line in 4th to complete another excellent points scoring weekend.
Round 7 saw the championship return to Blyton Park, Lincolnshire. Again Dougie was getting more used to the track and the bike qualifying in 5th place race 1. Race 1, Dougie had a great start into 4th, closely followed by Dave Hartley, one of Dougie’s main championship rivals, trouble was ahead and a few laps in on a tight off-road corner a slight contact between the two caused Dougie to stall and Dave to come off. Dougie lost valuable positions. Race 2, following a really bad start dropped Dougie back to 18th, which really fired him up, he showed his full racing talent lap after lap passing other riders and moving closer to the front, he managed to get back to 5th position at the chequered flag. Race 3. Sitting 5th on the grid it was looking for a podium finish, but again his luck ran out when on the first lap going into the same tight off-road corner in 3rd, he was blocked in the bottleneck with nowhere to go he had to sit and watch as others past, and the hard work began again. Back in a lowly 15th position the fight back began, and a repeat of race 2, awesome passing and speed got Dougie back upto 5th over the line. Disappointing points scoring weekend but Dougie proved his skills and talent.
Going into the penultimate round at Silverstone (Stowe Circuit) it was imperative to score maximum points to fend off his close championship rivals. Qualifying in 5th position for race 1 was a good start and all 3 races didn’t disappoint. From the off a close fought battle with Richard Blakeman and Lee Williams ensued, Dougie, with many passes and awesome riding came out on top to claim three 3rd place finishes, very consistant and entertaining the crowd, keeping him on track for a remarkable 3rd place championship position.
The final British Supermoto Round is at Cadwell Park on the 5 & 6th November 2011, a group of Scottish racers are going down to show their support and participate. More information about who is going will be on the forum shortly.