Thursday, June 23, 2011

BMCRC Silverstone: Weekend race review

MRO Clubman 600 leading rider Martin Turner

By James Sharpe
Image by Racing Line Photography

With championship leader Rob McNealy absent in the MRO Powerbikes, two overall wins and an additional class win for Michael Neeves saw him close the gap at the top of the standings to just 20 points. A fact made all the sweeter with a new Bemsee Powerbike lap record set along the way.

After qualifying second behind Mike Goodfellow (Carbontek BMW S1000RR), Neeves (Team VariTrac BMW S1000RR) took victory in Saturday?s rain hit race by just two tenths of a second from the pole sitter.

Goodfellow was the leading Stock 1000 rider in second, while Byron Beckett (A. Williams Engineering Yamaha R1) was the leading Clubman in third.

In Sunday?s opener Goodfellow romped to victory by 10 seconds. Beckett sat second for the early stages but he was caught by the two doing battle behind, before eventually being passed on lap nine.

It was Dan Fowler (MG Sear Plant Hire Yamaha R1) who took second, just ahead of Jon Waghorn (JW Smart Services BMW S1000RR). They took second and third respectively in the Stock 1000 points.

Beckett was the leading Clubman, but he was just beaten to fourth overall by Powerbike winner Neeves.

Neeves turned up for the second of Sunday?s races like a man on a mission, flying off the line as the red lights went out and surging into the lead. He soon opened up a gap, and set a new lap record of 57.9 seconds on lap three.

Goodfellow started to close slightly, but Neeves stepped it up and led to the chequered flag.

Goodfellow was second and leading Stock rider home ahead of another close battle between Waghorn and Fowler, second and third in the Stock points. Beckett was again leading Clubman in fifth.

In the 600 series, MRO Stocksport 600 championship leader Jordan Simpkin qualified on pole position, just four hundredths of a second ahead of his nearest challenger Tommy Mountain, as the championship starts to take shape.

Ed Smith and Lewis Wright made up the front row, while undefeated Bemsee Rookie 600 rider and club prospect Scot Hudson qualified in a commendable seventh.

And Hudson (Yamaha R6) made anyone who hadn?t already, sit up and take notice as he took the win in Saturday?s race in adverse weather conditions.

The young rider edged victory over pole sitter Simpkin (Wheelfit Yamaha R6) by two tenths of a second in an excellent display, also taking the win in the Clubman Cup. Simpkin was the leading Stocksport rider with Wright (Wright Solutions Photography Yamaha R6) on the bottom step of the podium and second in the Stock series.

Smith (Four Anjels Kawasaki ZXR 600) was the leading Supersport rider in sixth.

Sunday brought with it drier conditions, and some excellent racing, with the final race a real spectacle.

Mountain (Mountain Motors Yamaha R6) helped his championship ambitions with a win in Sunday?s opener, hitting the front early on and leading to the line. He took the win in the Stocksport class.

Simpkin took second in the Stocksports and second overall. After not making the start he would have liked he found himself battling for third and fourth, while Hudson came from the second row to fight his way to second.

The likes of Wright, Martin Turner (Yamaha R6), and Peter Hay (PH Paintworks Yamaha R6) were quickly dropped, and soon it was a two-way battle between Simpkin and race one winner Hudson for second.

It went the way of Simpkin by three tenths of a second. Hudson was again leading Clubman and helped his title aspirations along nicely.

Smith was again the leading Supersport rider in seventh.

The final race of the weekend kept everyone?s heart pumping, with a thrilling three way dice for the lead, as well as a spectacular battle for fourth.

Mountain hit the front early on, taking with him Simpkin and Smith, as the front three broke away. Behind, Hudson and Gavin Little (SDC Yamaha R6) were chopping and changing for fourth.

Mountain led until Simpkin carried enormous corner speed to go round the outside at Woodcote and into the lead starting lap eight.

The front three were nailed together, and starting the last lap Mountain was back the front, but by the time they hit Becketts he had dropped to third behind Simpkin and Smith. Smith then got himself to the front for the first time and led through the final turn, but Simpkin again carried that fantastic corner he speed, and snatched victory by three hundredths of a second. Mountain was third.

The battle for fourth ended in disaster for both riders after a coming together through the final turn on the last lap saw them end up in the gravel.

Smith?s second meant he was the leading Supersport rider, while Simpkin was first Stocksport and Hay the leading Clubman in fourth.

The ever-exciting EDI Asia Formula 400s were without reigning champion Steve Palmer, who has retired from this year?s championship after becoming a father.

The three challengers to his crown were still all present and correct, and went at it hammer and tongs.

Richie Welsh (Yamaha FZR400) arrived third in the championship, but kept the heat on the Michael Smith (Kawasaki ZXR400) and championship leader Steve Murphy (Kawasaki ZXR400) above him, with two excellent wins, a second and a third.

He was helped in his title plight with Murphy down in eighth in race one, while Smith dropped out of proceedings on lap six.

Colin Martin (David Simon Kawasaki ZXR400) took a superb second ahead of Dan Willmott (Kawasaki ZXR400).

In race two Phil Polden (EDI Asia Kawasaki ZXR400) took a win ahead of Martin, in another good second place, with Welsh third. Murphy was fourth why Smith?s title hopes took a hit with another DNF.

He did regroup Sunday, and shared a win and a second with Welsh, with Murphy third on both occasions.

Welsh was also in action, riding for the ARC EV Racing team in the European TTXGP Electric Bike championship, where he finished fourth.

The win went to Alessandro Brannetti (CRP Racing) ahead of teammate Alex Battistini and David Hallett (Team Agni).

In the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters Pete Fishwick retook second in the championship from Graham Higlett, taking a win in Saturday?s opener, while Higlett was down in ninth. Terry Poulter scored an impressive second ahead of Dexter Eyre.

Fishwick unfortunately scored a DNF in the second race of the weekend, but his championship second remained intact with Higlett struggling in the wet, finishing down in sixteenth and outside of the points.

Keith Roissetter took the win from Poulter and Ben Miles.

Championship leader Michael Smith finished fifth after his no-show in race one.

He returned to winning ways on Sunday with a double win, while Fishwick and Higlett shared a second and a third apiece.

Second in the Thunderbikes championship, James White (Louigi Moto Ducati 749), helped his title hopes by taking three wins across the weekend, his first in race one by five seconds from Matt Wildee (Triumph Daytona 955) and Sarah Jordan (Steve Jordan Motorcycles Ducati 748).

Saturday?s wet second race threw up some surprises, with the win going to Kevin Van Der Worp with David Wass second. Third was Anthony Hever in the Pro Series, while third in the club series was Ian Davies in fourth.

White took both wins Sunday, from Wildee and championship leader Martin Cooper in race one. In race two Chris Matthews was second, with third overall Wesley Pearce. He was leading Pro rider, with third in the club series Wildee.

The BMZRC showcased some fantastic racing over the weekend. Current champion Andrew Saunders took the win in Saturday?s opener from former champion and current championship leader Chris Rogers, with Jonathan King third.

The 250 MZ?s second race saw the win go to King, with Adam Clarke and Nick Murton-Jones on the podium, also.

Saunders took two more wins on Sunday, with exciting battles going on behind. In race one places second to fourth were covered by just two tenths of a second. Second eventually went to Rogers ahead of King, while in race two positions two to six were covered by just one second.

Rogers was on the second step of the podium, this time ahead of Clarke.

Max Symonds (J&C Symonds Aprilia RS125) took all four wins in the MRO Superteens, the 15 year old from Salisbury turning out another dominant display after his clean sweep at Pembrey.

In the Bemsee F1 sidecars Mick Bleakley and Heath Lane shared two wins with Ricky Stevens and Ian Johnson.

In the F2 series Marc and Rik Vannieuwenhuyse took three wins from four, the other going to Dean Nicholls and Anne Garnish.

Mike Goodfellow (BMW 1000) took all four wins in the first round of the new Bemsee All-Comers Open Championship.

It?s an Open series that allows all classes of motorcycle but mainly appeals to larger bikes. Each entry is judged on its merit, so there were a few 400?s out in the pack at Silverstone. In the main the grid is made up of riders who are adding the Bemsee Open to their weekend as an extra class, at only �45 it?s fantastic value with four extra races in the weekend. A few just entered the Open too again at a discounted rate. The Club is now extending the deal on extra classes over a weekend, the �45 flat rate will be available as the extra class price to all, Open or otherwise from Snetterton 300 in July onwards.

The two-stroke GP Classic Series was also in action, where Rich Grinling (Yamaha TZ250) took three wins. Nigel Palmer (Yamaha TZ350) was his closest competitor, taking one win, but he unluckily crashed out of the final race.

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