AS the regular season at Mallory Park came to a close this weekend for most of the EMRA classes, the club’s 2017 champions were crowned.
The Lakeside Cafe CB500 battle will go down to the wire during the class’s final round at next month’s annual Race of the Year event after Matthew Shaw and Thomas Pickford cut into Paul Sawyer’s championship lead, as Sawyer now leads Pickford by just nine points and Shaw by 12.
Pickford drew first blood in the opening race on Saturday, taking a wet victory five seconds clear of Shaw and 13 ahead of Sawyer. But scooter ace Darren Conneely joined the party as the track began to dry on Sunday and bagged two wins ahead of Shaw as Pickford and Sawyer took a third each.
Amongst the CB500 battles, Graham Wilson clinched the 125GP championship with three podium finishes. Lady racer Jodie Fieldhouse, John Lea and defending champ Gavin Mills shared the wins this weekend, but Wilson hauled enough points to take home the 125 trophy 18 points clear of Mills.
The Two Stroke GP series also hit the track for four races of their own, where Daniel Walling opened up his weekend with a win over Bemsee Blue Haze regular Mark Taylor and RS125 racer Mills. But Taylor easily swept the remaining three for a hat trick of victories that all came ahead of runner-up Walling as Mills, Peter Basile and Gareth Wills took a third apiece.
Martin O’Farrell powered to the Lightweight aboard his ZXR400 after crossing the line in races one and two ahead of the fellow Kawasakis of title rival Roger Neep and Andrew Bailey.
Knowing he had enough of an advantage to take the crown, O’Farrell cruised home last across the line in the final race. But in the race for the lead, Bailey edged out Neep by a hair-splitting 0.077 seconds at the line after chasing him all race long and making a last-lap pass for the win.
Sheffield’s Aaron Staniforth hoisted the Steel Frame championship trophy after dominating all season long on his Honda CBR600. He was kept from a clean sweep this weekend, however, by Martin Ingham, who took the opening race win three seconds ahead of Staniforth and series runner-up Richard Barnett.
But the Yorkshireman went out in style as he dominated both races on Sunday, the first ahead of Barnett and Luke Chambers, then the second from Mark Fletcher to Ingham.
Alec Gilfillan came out on top of EMRA Earlystocks race one just 0.8 seconds ahead of Andrew Howe and Stuart Boatwright, but Andy Jackson powered ahead on his GSXR1100 in race two to snatch the win from Michael Hand, with Howe rounding out the podium.
In the final race on Sunday, Hand overtook Howe early and extended a nearly three second lead at the flag to take the win as Kevin Jones bagged third.
Howe takes the Modified Class 3 championship, while Paul Wilcox edges out Hand for the Monoshock Class 2 title, Stu Poulton dominates the Monoshock Class 1 field and John Brush wins the 750cc Earlystocks trophy.
Newcomer Mark Daines has controlled the Ducati Coventry JHP Rookies championship nearly all season, but Andrew Wilkinson beat the champ to the win in race one by 12 seconds. Daines fired back in the Craig Rudge Trophy race, beating Ben Long and Wilkinson to the line by some three seconds.
But Wilkinson ended his campaign on top by powering to victory in the Richard Moreton Trophy raee, the last one of the event, easily beating Dan Williams and Rafal Kisyk over the line. Daines secured the championship by 34 points over closest challenger Williams.
While John Ingram and Lee Wilson shared the Tamworth Yamaha Superstock wins, Duane Bliss was crowned 1000cc champion after taking a sixth and two sevenths, finishing the season 63 points ahead of Steve Moody.
Ireson Honda duo Andy King and Paul Skinner have finally secured the EMRA Sidecar championship, but this weekend King had Thomas for company in the chair as they fought alongside the FSRA F350/Post Classic/Pre Injection outfits.
King and Thomas took the wet win on Saturday from Stephen Jackson and Rob Child, but Jackson and Child came to the fore Sunday morning and eked out the win over Jen and Giles Stainton, with Brian Ilaria and Jody James just 0.8 seconds off the win for their second third of the weekend.
In the final sidecar scrap, however, it was Kevin and Steve Morgan who led lights-to-flag, crossing the line nearly two seconds ahead of King/Thomas and Jackson/Child.
FSRA honours went to Simon Horton and Steve Broadstock in the first two races, but Greg Noble and Rob Sztajnert blitzed the field in race three by nearly 30 seconds to take the FSRA win in fourth overall among the combined EMRA Sidecar grid.
Dave Tibbles/Raitch Greenwood, Jody/Reece Sims and Wesley Pettman/Lee Saunders-Stewart all rounded out the podium on separate occasions with a second and third place finish apiece.
*Images: Chris Gration