CHAMPIONSHIPS were won and points were shuffled as Tonfanau Road Racing round three went ahead before late red flags and an air ambulance curtailed action.
The battle between Paul Stones and Steve Birtles for the Crewe and South Cheshire club’s Forgotten Era Over 501cc title looks set to go down to the wire with just a sole point separating the pair.
Reigning champion Birtles topped the standings by one point after the first round in April, but Stones overtook his rival after round two in May. And now, the champ’s title defence is in jeopardy with a single point to make up heading into the fourth and final round eight weeks away.
In the first Forgotten Era race, John Price’s Kawasaki 400 split the dicing duo as Birtles escaped on his Yamaha FZR 1000 to take the win by over five seconds, with Stones just 0.03 second off the runner-up spot in third.
But Stones bounced back (we didn’t think they bounced at all) to beat Birtles by just 0.01 seconds as Price settled for third two seconds further back.
Race three was one of several abandoned after a major incident in the third 450-1100cc race.
Although he took a second and third overall, Price won both in the Forgotten Era 251-500cc category ahead of Nicholas Ward with Paul Odlum and Wayne Collins sharing thirds, and his gap to class leader Phil Millard is now just two points.
Price is still well on target to retain the Tonfanau 400 Supersport title after winning by four and eight seconds in each race, both times ahead of fellow Kawasaki rider Tony Griffiths with Odlum and Collins splitting thirds.
The third race of the day was halved to four laps after a red flag incident, and Price’s third victory over Griffiths and Odlum means he now sits 20 points ahead of Griffiths in the standings.
Paul Tye added two more wins to his Forgotten Era up to 250cc tally in fourth overall each time and with Caron Roberts failing to finish in race one, Phil Leatherhead climbed to second in the standings just 21 adrift of Tye.
John Bain took advantage of John Nicklin’s absence from the Minitwins line-up and easily nabbed two wins from Darren Raybould and Mike Gittins, which lifted him from second to first in the points table on 55, nine ahead of Nicklin.
The Steel Frame grid was absent of Dean Ephgrave, which didn’t bother Tony Griffiths on his way to four and eight second wins ahead of runners-up Scott Wakefield and Scott Park, with Nick Jefferies rounding out the rostrum on each occasion.
Ephgrave slips to third in the standings on 46, 21 behind leader Griffiths and 12 behind Jefferies.
Two victories were enough to give Paul Birch and his Honda 350 the Classic 251-500cc title a round early with 65 points to Steve Cole’s 34 and only 30 available at the next round.
Richard Ford added two more wins to his tally in the Classic over 501cc class and now, like Birch, cannot be caught by his rivals.
Bultaco pilot Roberts won the opening 125 & 250cc Single Cylinder scrap, but retired in race two and didn’t start race three, handing a double class victory to David Thorp and falling to second in the championship on 50 points to Roger Smith’s 59.
Ted Cornes scored a hat-trick in the Classic 125-250cc races with Geoff Hadwin and Alan Brookes completing the podium each time in one of just two classes to have three races on the day.
If not for a crash in race three that followed two wins, Terry Wales would have wrapped up the 125GP championship – he’ll now have to wait another two months to call the title his.
*Images: Steve Snelling