JAMES Cowton proved he’s still the man to beat in the North East supersport club ranks as he dominated the NEMCRC 600s to take his fifth Laird of Croft title.
The Yorkshireman has held the accolade every year since 2014, and this weekend he was never in any serious doubt of continuing the trend.
Aboard a Cowton Racing ZX6R, the former Lightweight TT podium finisher qualified second in one of Saturday’s few dry sessions, sandwiched on the front row of the grid between pole man Wayne Humble and Richard Charlton.
Charlton took the lead on a drenched circuit in race one, as Cowton sat patiently waiting to make his move. He pounced on the final lap, snatching victory from the Michelin/KRG Motorcycles Yamaha rider by less than half a second as Humble completed the podium.
As the weather cleared for Sunday’s two races, there was no stopping Cowton as he powered to a pair of wins, both 10 seconds clear of trouble as Humble and Charlton took second and third in race two while Stephen Parson and Matt Stevenson nabbed the rostrum spots in race three.
While he was all but unstoppable on day two of racing, Cowton admitted he was intent on taking his fifth Laird title from the moment he turned up at the North Yorkshire track.
“What more could I want? We came to get the trophy again and now we’re taking it home,” he said. “They run a spot on meeting the North East Club, and the sunshine just makes the job better.”
To add to his supersport silverware, Cowton bagged two impressive runner-up finishes in the Open Unlimited Ken Redfern Trophy battles, even leading part of Saturday’s race in a field of much more powerful 1000cc machines.
“The big bikes are cutting the traction and mine doesn’t have traction control. When they are cutting, mine is still driving so I can gain quite a bit out of the corners and push hard into the corners.
“I couldn’t believe how well I stuck with them. This is just a 600 track for me and you just have to keep on your toes around the corners.”
*Images: Paul Soulby