A STUNNING start helped Lewis Rollo to record his first podium of the season at Donington Park.

The National Superstock rider had already demonstrated his pace around the near two-mile circuit in free practice but technical issues saw him qualify a lowly 22nd.

Back on the eighth row of the grid, the East Lothian biker had his work cut out for him in Saturday afternoon’s race, which was cut from 20 laps to 15 due to a short rain shower.

However, a brilliant start put him in eighth at the end of the opening lap.

Rollo then posted a series of fastest laps and he was soon fighting for the lead, albeit with seven other riders.

He grabbed the lead on the eighth lap at Redgate Corner and, although he could not hold on, he eventually took the chequered flag in third for a brilliant podium position.

The result meant he started Sunday’s race from the much more advanced position of fourth and, although he got a good launch off the line to move into second, he was back in fourth at the completion of the opening lap.

East Lothian Courier: Lewis Rollo (right) finished on the podium at Donington Park over the weekend. Picture: Impact Images PhotographyLewis Rollo (right) finished on the podium at Donington Park over the weekend. Picture: Impact Images Photography

The next few laps saw Rollo, who lives near Gifford, shuffled back through the pack and, unable to repeat Saturday’s heroics, he ended the 20 laps in a solid, albeit slightly disappointing, ninth place.

The RAF Regular and Reserve Kawasaki rider said: “I had a wee spill in FP2 [Free Practice 2] and then qualifying didn’t go to plan so I was miles back on the grid for the first race and I hadn’t had much time in the wet on the Kawasaki ZX-10RR either but I made a mega start which really helped!

“Conditions were sketchy but I managed to get into the lead and eventually take third and my first podium of the season.

“It’s been a long time coming but I can’t thank the team enough.

“Sunday’s race was tough as I was struggling for rear grip practically from the word go.

“I made a couple of wee mistakes but kept plugging away and held on for another top 10 finish and we’re certainly not out of it yet.”

There is little time for Rollo and his team to regroup as they head to Cadwell Park this weekend.

Lee Hardy, team owner, said there was all to play for with Rollo sitting 35 points off the lead, which is held by Alex Olsen and Tom Neave.

He said: “Lewis rode superbly on Saturday to take his first podium finish of the season and although the sketchy conditions made it more of a level playing field, his track craft was excellent.

“He put in some amazing overtaking manoeuvres and we were all delighted to see him on the box as it’s just what he deserved.

“Unfortunately, we still haven’t found the ideal dry setting and we need to back up our results in mixed conditions in the dry.”