BEMSEE’s season came to a thrilling end at the weekend as the club descended on its home turf of Brands Hatch for the final round of 2018.
Along with Kyle O’Donovan Memorial Race winner Anthony Johnson and Mick Whalley Trophy recipient Max Morgan, a number of other champions were crowned amid mixed conditions.
Over 40 points separated Properly Protected MRO Minitwin leader Mason Williams and chaser Daniel Singleton going into the final round of the season at Brands Hatch.
But Singleton qualified on the front row in third to bolster his title bid, with Williams immediately behind him on the grid in sixth. But as the lights went out for race one it was Williams that hit the front, followed by Singleton and pole-sitter Paul Witherington.
It quickly became a three-way battle and after Singleton and Witherington scrapped for second, they both overtook Williams by lap six while Witherington led the charge. But with two laps to go he was passed by Singleton and Williams, as Singleton held on to take the win.
It was disaster for Williams in race two as he crashed out on the final lap in the wet. He had just passed Singleton for third place, and was on course to clinch the title, but he slid off and handed third back to Singleton, who then passed Davies for second. And it went from bad to worse for Williams as he fell ill overnight and was declared unfit to race.
It was all over in Sunday’s first race when Singleton finished second to Keith Povah, moving ahead of Williams by a single point in the championship. He was second again in the final race, this time behind Davies by half a second, as Povah took the final podium spot of the campaign.
Harry Rowlings and Luke Hopkins were locked in a battle for this year’s Team Respro MRO 600 championship, with the former holding a 27-point advantage at the start of the weekend.
With Andrew Smith on pole and Hopkins on the second row, Rowlings hit the front early in race one and led the opening half of the race.
But in one lap Rowlings dropped from first to third, with Collins taking over at the front and Hopkins jumping to second as the order remained unchanged at the chequered flag.
It was game over for Hopkins in race two, however, when he took a lowly sixth to Rowlings’ second behind Collins, who bagged a commanding win. The result locked Rowlings into the 2018 MRO 600 champion’s seat.
But keen to go out on a high, Hopkins followed Rowlings for the early stages of the final race of the season before passing him on lap four and pulling away to take the win by nine seconds.
Third went to Clubman championship runner-up Smith with the class victory after Lee Silvain had taken the first.
Mark Taylor finally wrapped up the Chilton Motors BMZRC 250 championship at the weekend, despite a day of mechanical woes on the Friday that severely limited his track time.
However, after the loan of another machine from Peter Woodall, he was able to take the title with two wins, a third, and a second.
Taylor won both of Saturday’s races, bettering Robert Dessoy and Chris Rogers in race one. He then finished ahead of Andrew Wales in the second outing, with Rogers again third.
While the wins weren’t forthcoming on Sunday, he still finished third in the first of the day’s two races, behind Chris Kent and Rogers, before finishing the season with another podium, taking second behind Kent, with Rogers taking another third place.
Barry Chamberlain secured the Steve Jordan Thunderbike Extreme title by playing it safe and wrapping up through consistency. The Airsys.co.uk Suzuki rider came into the weekend boasting a 72-point series lead, and took an 11th, two sevenths, and a ninth to get the points he needed.
At the sharp end of the races, Steve Palmer took a hat-trick of wins, with David Shelvey picking up the other available victory. Rookie champion Robert Breen grabbed three class wins from the four races, the other going to Peter Funnell.
Although Andy Gill had already been crowned this year’s EDIasia Formula 400 champ, there was still the Sub-64 title to be handed out and just 10 points split Harry Fowle and Hayden Wood going into the season finale, but it was to be Wood’s weekend, as he managed to swing the points pendulum in his favour.
The tipping point came early, as Wood picked up the Sub-64 win in race one’s wet conditions, as Fowle crashed out with just two laps to go. The overall win eventually went to Mark Thompson, after Lloyd Collins – who crossed the line first – was handed a 10-second penalty for a yellow flag infringement.
Wood extended his lead over the next two races with two class wins, as Fowle took two class second places while Matthew Scott and Chris Burrage took the overall wins before the latter doubled up in the final race.
While the Senior 300 series win had already been secured by Jamie Kelman, the Team Green Junior Cup was still to be decided. And despite crashing in race one and leaving the spoils to Indy Offer, points leader Owen Jenner raced to sixth in race two and secured the Junior class win and title as Damian Rowley took another overall and Senior 300 win.
Kelman took the overall win by 12 seconds in race three and bagged another 25 points in race four, while Jenner doubled up in the Junior ranks with two wins in second and third overall.
The final round of the DFDS Yamaha Past Masters series highlighted the strides made by rookie racer Scott Carson, who took his first wins of the year after only visiting the podium once before.
He qualified on pole, over half a second clear of this year’s champion Peter Branton. Carson then backed it up with two race wins, the first from Denis Halil and Ben Miles and the second from Douglas Beacock and Scott Grant.
But on Sunday, it was Grant who won the day’s opener ahead of Branton and Paul Whitby, before topping the podium again in the final scrap ahead of Miles and Whitby.
With both the RKB F1 and F2 Sidecar champions already crowned, only pride was at stake at Brands as F2 kings Sean Reeves and Paul Thomas put their Velocity V1 LCR Honda on top for race one ahead of fellow F2 outfit Rob Atkinson and Paul Middleton were second, with F1 winners Ben Holland and Kyle Masters third.
The champs doubled up in race two, this time ahead Marc and Rik Vannieuwenhuyse, with F1 title winners Craig Clarke and Craig Andrew Clarke third. But the F1 outfits of Holland/Masters and the Clarkes finished first and second in race three before a repeat 1-2 in the final outfit battle as Reeves and Thomas also capped off their championship win with an F2 class win in third.
*Images: JTW Motorsport Photography