Champions crowned at Tonfanau season finale

In News, Tonfanau

TITLES were won and lost as the Crewe and South Cheshire Club rolled into Tonfanau for the final meeting of the 2017 season.

Paul Tye, who led the Forgotten Era up to 250 class coming into the weekend, was missing from action on Sunday, leaving Phil Leatherland to lead lady racer Caron Roberts by just a single point.

And to keep the battle tight, Leatherland lined up 23rd on the grid for race one aboard the Tuning Works Suzuki, with Roberts alongside him vying for the same piece of tarmac.

Paul Johnson swept the Classic over 501cc category, but it was to prove too late as Richard Ford secured the title at the previous round…

Following an advantageous start, the points runner-up fought his way up the pack to finish eighth overall and first in class, ahead of teen 50cc sensation Sam Grief on a Kawasaki 250 in second and Roberts third on her Yamaha.

Leatherland made an even better start in race two and took another class victory in fifth overall. With another class win in seventh in race three, Leatherland was crowned champion on 79 points as Roberts missed out on the crown by just six points.

Back out in familiar territory, Grief also took to the Racing 50 grids on his Kreidler classic where ACU 50cc championship runner-up took two wins from three.

Ian Cowles sat fifth in the 50cc championship heading into Round Four, but two runner-up finishes and a win gave him the title a comfortable 17 points clear of small bike fast-man Darren Eaton.

Running alongside the diminutive displacement 50s were the Classic 125-250 Single Cylinder bikes in which Mark Purslow, making his first appearance of the season, bagged all three race wins on a Honda RS125.

Purslow swept the single cylinder Classic 125-250 races on his Honda RS125…

Behind him, however, a battle ensued for championship honours as fast female Roberts led race one before it was red flagged and brought to a halt. But because there was a lengthy delay sorting out the incident, she had to stop her Bultaco engine to prevent overheating – potentially costing the fast female championship honours.

Tragically she couldn’t get the motor going again for the race restart, leaving Ducati rider Dave Thorp to take second place and fellow Duc pilot Roger Smith to complete the podium in third.

Roberts chased Purslow home in races two and three, but Smith brought home the spoils to win the title from Thorp by a single point.

John Price was out to retain both the 400 Supersport and the Forgotten Era 251-500cc titles, and he sealed the former with a hat-trick of wins, ending the year with 11 to his credit on 110 points, 24 clear of Tony Griffiths.

In the Forgotten Era ranks, Price trailed arch rival Phil Millard by just two points at the start of action on Sunday. Despite collecting a 10-second jump start penalty in the first race, Price still took the win from Millard by 1.5 seconds.

He went on to double up in race two with a seven second win over Millard, levelling out the points standings heading into the final race of the year.

Supersport 400 championship honours went to Price with a perfect weekend to cap off his season…

The pair battled it out at the front of the pack, passing each other a number of times. But drama struck a chord when Price’s Kawasaki was seen spitting fluid, causing him to be black-flagged and ending any hopes of the Forgotten Era championship.

Millard nabbed the win, taking the title by ten points from a bitterly disappointed Price.

A single point separated Forgotten Era over 501cc series leader Paul Stones and championship rival Steve Birtles. Birtles won the first race by just over 0.4 seconds to level things up, Stones was keen to win race two and regain the advantage – too keen, in fact.

The early points leader hit the front at the start of race two, but crashed out on lap two and suffered a leg injury. It was the machine damage, however, that prevented him returning to the grid for race three as Birtles took the title at the end of the day with 94 points, 20 ahead of a damaged Stones.

John Bain wrapped up the Minitwins title with progressive improvement throughout the day that led to a third, second, then first place as he beat his closest rival, John Nicklin, by a comfortable 20-point margin.

Griffiths took a hat-trick in the Steel Frame races and defended the number one plate…

Tony Griffiths was unbeaten in his three Steel Frame 600 rides, taking his tally of wins for the season to eight. He ended the championship with 97 points, 24 ahead of Dean Ephgrave, who was runner up each time out.

Roger and Bradley Stockton racked up an impressive hat-trick of Sidecar victories aboard their Windle Suzuki, but it wasn’t enough to stop fellow windle racers Gary Wilson and Sue Taylor, who were runners up each time out, from taking the championship.

Richard Ford had already made sure to secure the Classic over 501 series championship, but Paul Johnson was the day’s big winner with three class and overall victories.

Paul Birch comfortably wrapped up the Classic 251-500 championship with a hat trick, while Ted Cornes also won all three Classic 250 races to make it ten top step finishes for the year.

*Click here for the full results round up from Tonfanau Round Four

*Image: Steve Snelling

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