AINTREE Motorcycle Racing Club kicked off its five-round series this weekend as old names and new faces featured on the podium.
Reigning double-champ Ryan Garside scooped up two wins from four between the Pre-Injection under 600 and Steel Frame classes in which he’s hoping to defend his titles.
But in the opening race of the day, it was Martin Clare who beat Garside and Damian Davis to the line, before Garside struck back later in the afternoon to nab the win from Geoffrey Lunn, with Clare just behind.
And while Garside pipped James Leatham to the first Steelie win by less than 0.2s, Leatham got the better of the champ in the final race of the day to take victory, while Liam Weston and Ian Perks shared thirds.
Greg Lewis opened his Pre-Injection over 600 title defence with a dominant win over Chris Roberts in race one, but Roberts powered to victory in race two less than half a second ahead of Andy Lovett.
Lewis wasn’t finished, though, as he held off Lovett by just over half a second to take the first Golden Era Superbikes win and open his own title defence on top, but Lovett picked up the race two spoils with seven seconds to spare over Geoffrey Lunn.
Twin ace Mike Bampton took both 650 Supertwin wins, the first over Mark Purslow and Stephen Johnson, then the second from Craig Kelly and Steve Ferguson.
Ferguson beat Perks and Bampton to the punch in the first 500 to 750 Twin, but Perks led lights-to-flag in race two from Bampton and Kelly. Back out in the 350GP ranks, Perks powered to two more wins by six and 20 seconds.
Richard Hunt nearly had a 650 Minitwin win in hand in race one as he charged to within 0.216s of 2017 title man Johnson, but Johnson laid the hammer down in race two to beat Hunt by over nine seconds as Rob Taylor and Ron Pilkington took a third apiece.
But defending Classic 350cc Twin champ Ferguson picked up two more clean sweeps to stamp his authority on the club’s classes. The Wirral man beat Barry Davidson to both 350 Twins race wins, as Davidson and John Cronshaw had to settle for second again to Ferguson in the 500 Classic scraps. Bob Owen, Hefyn Owen and Loris Hunt all nabbed rostrum finishes.
Last year’s champ Bob Millinship bagged both 350 Singles wins over Meredydd Owen and Keith Dixon, while Mick Crompton and John Ivey split the Unlimited Classic spoils.
Ted Cornes swept the Classic 250 Twin races, edging Norman Williamson over the line in race one and Jeff Ward in race two, while Adam Ward beat Dave Thorp to 250 Singles victory before Thorp charged to the front and snatched the win from Bruce McGeoghegan in the second classic battle.
Road racer Jamie Coward grabbed both Forgotten Era Superbike wins, powering ahead of 2017 champion Lovett each time as Perks nabbed the 500 GP spoils in third overall.
Phil Millard narrowly beat Max Lofthouse and Tony Griffiths to top honours in the F400 class, while Steven Howard swept the 125 GP/500 Single Cylinder races by an average of almost 20 seconds.
Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney made a clean sweep of the Sidecar, with two wins over Hauxwell and Taylor and one from Bennett and Binns.
*Images: Colin Port