DAN Frear saved the best for last as he edged Max Wadsworth to the GB Racing 600 Elite title by less than a second in the final race of the season.
And after missing two rounds this season, the North Lincs Components rider admitted taking victory down to the wire at Snetterton this weekend, while clawing back a 16-point deficit with a clean sweep, made it even more satisfying.
But it was clear the wins weren’t going to be handed away to anyone after a cutthroat qualifying session in which the top three were covered by just 0.023s. Frear stole pole position from Luke Hopkins by a mere 0.020s, while Wadsworth completed the front row just 0.003s further back.
Frear took immediate advantage of his starting spot in race one and led Sportsman front-runner Andy Guy on the first lap as Wadsworth dropped to fifth, but it was Hopkins who suffered the most after a missed gear caused him to tumble to 12th place.
While James Hind had moved up ahead of Guy to take over second, Wadsworth wasn’t far off and just a few laps in he took over the runner-up spot before Hopkins scythed through the pack and made a pass for second just before the half-way mark.
But they were all too late to catch Frear, who stretched a nearly six-second lead at the chequered flag to take the win over Hopkins and Specialised Group rider Wadsworth.
Frear grabbed another early lead in race two and shot off into the distance, leaving Wadsworth to settle for second 6.222s adrift as Hopkins bagged another third. But Wadsworth was determined not to let his advantage go easily and with just two points to work with heading into the final race, it was winner-take-all.
With another strong start, Frear hit the front just ahead of Hopkins, but Wadsworth took over second on lap two and reeled Frear straight in to bring the gap down to less than a tenth of a second.
And while he limited Frear’s advantage to under 0.4s for much of the race, Wadsworth slipped a few tenths off pace in the closing laps as Frear laid down a new record of 1:12.023s to secure the title, just 0.945s clear of his rival. Third went to Pre-National 600 Sport champ Stephen Thomas on the Elite Services Racing Triumph.
While Frear admitted he had an advantage on speed, he knew the championship was never going to come easy.
“I knew my bike was fast, faster in a straight line, but I knew Max would be quick around Coram,” he told UK Clubsport. “When we were at Mallory, he was coming around the outside of me there, so I knew straight away he’d be quick down there.
“He actually hadn’t shown his hand all weekend, I thought I got away with it, but in the last race he upped his game. It was like riding against someone totally different, he was absolutely on it so full credit to him.
“I missed a few rounds this year and then my team-mate Jim did the Manx so we went over to support him. But unluckily for Max, he had a breakdown at Anglesey so that helped us out a bit.
“This is mainly down to my sponsor Barry Gissing – if it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be riding motorbikes at all. I’ve never been so nervous in my life, I think I’ll probably wake up with a cold sore tomorrow, but it was brilliant.”
*Main and action images: Colin Port
*Podium image: UK Clubsport