UNDEFEATED Thundersport 500 man Pete Bardell showed British Superbike Championship race winner Richard Cooper that he’s all business at EMRA’s second round.
The diminutive parallel-twin class is known for producing some of the closest racing in Britain, and the battles at Mallory Park this weekend all but proved as much.
It was Coopes who put his little Honda on pole for the Reve Racing Formula Lightweight and 450 Unrestricted race, but was forced to start from the back of the grid in all four races. By the end of the first lap of race one, he had launched up to sixth, but Bardell was already out in front.
The Shefford small-bike specialist had some close dealings with Tom Fisher midway through the race, but eventually took the lead back while Cooper crept up from behind – at the flag, it was a mere .012 seconds that separated the former National Superstock 1000 champion from victory as Bardell took the win.
Cooper struck back in the Lakeside Cafe EMRA 500 class later in the day, where once again he started from dead last. As before, Bardell was out to an early lead, but left the door open on lap four for Richard Blunt to take over at the head of the pack.
By lap eight, Cooper had taken the lead and while Bardell and Blunt battled for the runner-up spot, the Cooper-Blunt-Bardell train took the chequered flag within the same three tenths of a second, over ten seconds ahead of the 29-bike grid’s remainder.
Seven races on the programme later, the trio were at it again with Bardell out to an all too familiar lead from the start. But the order changed when Blunt hit the front on the penultimate lap and Cooper, who fought back from a near four-second deficit at the end of the first lap, slotted into second.
As the three protagonists circled the lake for a final time, it was Bardell who doubled the day’s win tally less than six hundredths of a second ahead of Cooper, with Blunt rounding out the rostrum.
They all took a turn at the front in the last 500 race of the day, proving just how exciting a show the little twins can put on. It looked like anyone’s game until Bardell nabbed the lead on the very last lap and completed his hat trick of triumphs in a photo finish just .014 seconds ahead of Cooper, as ever-the-bridesmaid Blunt took the flag less than two tenths off the top of the podium.
While the pint-sized Nottingham lad prepares for the National Superstock Championship at Brands Hatch this coming weekend, the full-time TSGB CB500 threats are expected to return to action at Snetterton in just under three weeks’ time.
As he aims to carry on his perfect record in eight races with Thundersport this season, someone had better act fast and ride even faster if they plan to stop Pete Bardell…
*Image: Terry Bishop