REIGNING Formula Prostocks Bandits champ and series founder Keith Chambers admits retaining his title is a tall order this year – thanks to the success of his championship.
Chambers took the title in series’ maiden season last year, but says a repeat isn’t on the cards thanks to the number of strong riders it has attracted this year.
“To be honest, I am hoping for a top five finish this year and in view of the amount of competition I think that will still be tough, but I didn’t start the series for myself and don’t expect to win it!” he said.
“With the amount of new riders, the work load has obviously increased, so it is a juggling act trying to organise and run the series as well as race.”
Chambers’ words come after the sixth and seventh rounds of Formula Prostock Racing Club’s 2017 season, held at Cadwell Park with NG Road Racing last weekend.
Local man Mick Pennell took pole in the Black Widow Exhausts Suzuki Bandit Challenge using wets on a damp track on Saturday morning, while the ever-dominant Phil Webber took the top spot in the Properly Protected Post Classics series.
John Warwick took the opening win ahead of Pennell with Matt Baker third, as Chambers crossed the line fourth ahead of Glynn Nichols, who had fought through from a bad grid spot only to be dealt a 10-second penalty for a jump start.
In Post Classics, Webber started his weekend with another win ahead of Andrew Howe and Ben Maxwell.
Race two was initially red flagged when Matt Orford’s bike gave up in dramatic style and spilled oil. After a clean-up the bikes regrouped on the grid, and this time the win went to James McHardy from Warwick and Nicholls. In FP2 Webber took another an easy victory over Howe and Maxwell.
In Sunday’s first race, the usual suspects were back at it, and this time Warwick took the victory just 0.2 seconds ahead of Nicholls, followed by McHardy who took the last podium spot just 0.1 seconds in front of Baker.
Webber, naturally won in FP2 with Howe second and new boy David Lenton taking third.
Warwick took another win in the final race ahead of McHardy and Nicholls while Phil Webber managed to keep his 100% record with another convincing win, this time over Lenton.
“This year we have had a massive influx of new riders, including several previous and current champions from other series so I was under no illusion as to how tough it would be defending the title,” said Chambers.
“We also have several new comers to racing who have really got into their stride and are proving to be worthy competitors for podium positions.”
While his winning days may be over – at least for now – Chambers says he is delighted with the interest his championship has gathered in such a short time, and even hints that there could be more to come.
“We always knew it was going to be hard work setting up a new club and starting a brand new series, and although it started slowly – as predicted – the interest was there right from the start.
“Last year we had lots of people coming along to watch us race before, understandably, they were prepared to take the plunge. Also they wanted to know that it was here to stay before investing their hard-earned cash.
“We do have plans of further classes in the not too distant future, but with the interest in the Black Widow Bandit Challenge bigger than ever, we are concentrating on that for the short term. We are very pleased with the way this season is going so far and with new riders joining all the time, it can only go from strength to strength.”
*Main and action images: Hairy Beast Pix
Keith Chambers image: UK Clubsport