CHAMPIONS were crowned as the solo and sidecar racers of Bemsee descended on Brands Hatch Indy for their final round of the season.
And while a number of titles were already decided in the run up to the 2019 finale, plenty went down to the wire this past weekend.
Chris Rogers’ ascension to the Chilton Motors BMZRC 250 throne was a mere formality at Brands Hatch, as he arrived at the Kent circuit with a 77-point lead over Andrew Wales. And after race one of the weekend it was all over, as Rogers’ second place finish to Wales’ sixth gave him an unassailable points lead.
The win went to Peter Woodall, as Alexander Mann completed the podium in third.
Woodall again beat Rogers in race two, his margin one and a half seconds. Rogers, meanwhile, was merely six hundredths of a second ahead of Wales at the chequered flag. In turn, Mann was less than a second back in fourth.
Woodall’s second win of the weekend also saw him take the King of Zeds gong, awarded to the most successful rider on the Saturday of the final meeting of the season.
It was three on the spin for Woodall after the first race on Sunday, the Core Projects-supported rider winning ahead of Wales, as Liam Newman took only his second podium of the season in third.
The final race was won by Mann, who grabbed his second victory of the season, with Wales and Robert Dessoy the podium finishes, all three split by just half a second. The new champion, Rogers, finished fourth.
Doug Edmondson wrapped up the DFDS Yamaha Past Masters title at the final round of the year with three wins, taking his season’s tally to 20. He also won the Danny Whalin and Paul Hogan memorial trophies on the Saturday, awarded to the race winner in memory of two of the club’s former racers. Danny Whalin tragically lost his life at Brands Hatch in 2003, racing with the Yamaha Past Masters, while Paul Hogan was a founding member of the class as it is today.
Aboard his Stan Stephens Tuning TZR250 Edmondson won race one from second on the grid, after Scott Carson – the championship runner-up – set pole. Carson finished second ahead of former champion Peter Branton.
Edmondson went on to win race two and clinch the title a day early. He won by four and a half seconds as the fight for the runner-up spot raged. At the flag three tenths of a second covered three riders, as Carson, Andrew Davies, and Scott Grant flashed across the line together.
Carson managed to taste victory in the first race on Sunday, as Edmondson failed to make the start. Carson dominated the affair, taking victory by 20 seconds from Davies. Paul Toland took an excellent third.
The new champion was out again for the final race and capped off his year with a victory, with Carson a fitting second and Branton third.
Both the G-Force Motorcycles Blue Haze GP class and production-based class championships were still up for grabs going into the final round of the season for the G-Force Motorcycles Blue Haze GP series; Tom Barrett held a 12-point lead over Phil Ellis in the GP standings, with Paul Toland 30 points to the good in the GPF class, with Billy Perkins giving chase.
Ellis took two points out of Barrett in race one, as they finished fourth and fifth in class. Perkins immediately reduced his deficit to 18 points in the same race, finishing second in the GPF class behind Alex Symon – who also took the overall win – with series leader Toland eighth in class.
Things went from bad to worse for Barrett in race two. Unable to make the start, he could only watch as Ellis finished third overall and second in the GP class to take the championship lead, 10 points up on Barrett.
It was equally bad news for Toland. Symon was again the overall victor, but Perkins’ sixth gave him second overall in the GPF category and another 20 points. Toland took 10 points, finishing sixth in class, meaning the gap was down to eight with two races to go.
Overall victory in race three for Perkins made it all square at the top, as Toland finished fourth in class. It was going to go to the wire with whomever beat the other taking the title. At the same time Ellis extend his championship lead to 19 points with victory in the GP class, as Barrett took 16 points home for third in class.
Both Ellis and Perkins went from second in the championship on arrival at Brands to leaving as victors, the pair beating their rivals in the final race.
Rik Ballerini took the overall victory, but Ellis’ third overall and third in the GP series saw him do enough to take the title from Barrett. Perkins finished fifth overall but won the GPF class to beat Toland to the title by nine points.
With 80 points in hand at the top of the Steve Jordan Motorcycles Thunderbike Sport championship, it would have taken a huge turn of fate to deny Dan Singleton the title.
He set the fastest time in combined qualifying before winning the first race, which saw groups A and B in action. He beat Edward Watson and Malvern May.
Jack Sim won the first C and B combined race from Shaun and Jack Wallis, before losing out to Singleton by less than a tenth of a second in Saturday’s A and C race. Adam Jamison was third.
It was victory for SV650 rider Dan Harris in Sunday’s opener as he took the flag ahead of Thomas and Edward Watson. The first B and C race also saw Sim take another win, this time from Shaun Wallis and Jamison.
Despite losing out on the championship, Sim at least got to beat Singleton in the final race of the year, taking the chequered flag under a tenth of a second ahead of the 2019 champion. Thomas Watson was third.
After battling with Alex Robinson all weekend, Tommy Downes eventually sealed the Rookie championship.
Both the Extreme and Ultra classes in Bemsee’s Thunderbike series had already crowned their champions, with Andy Saunders the year’s Extreme title-winner and Aiden Patmore the inaugural Ultra champion. However, while Saunders opted to sit out the weekend, Patmore was still in action and determined to end the year with more wins.
And win he did, leading an all-Ultra podium in race one, taking victory ahead of Steve Palmer and Ande Friend. Dave Shelvey’s fourth handed him the Ultra win.
After storming race one, it looked as though race two would follow a similar pattern, as Patmore pulled out a lead at the front. Starting the last lap he was two and a half seconds up on Palmer, but an off-track excursion cost him 12 seconds, handing victory to Palmer.
Luckily for the new champion his lead over the rest of the field meant he was able to hang onto second, with Jason Byard third overall and third in the Ultra class. Meanwhile the Extreme win again went to Shelvey on his Ymark.com K1 GSX-R600.
Mk1 Transit Racing’s Palmer was back on top of the podium in the third race, after steadily pulling away from the chasing Patmore. Ducati-mounted Stacey Killworth was third in the Ultra class and third overall. Luke Macrae and Edward Ansell fought over the Extreme win, crossing the line in sixth and seventh overall.
Patmore was denied a final victory in his championship-winning year by less than two tenths of a second. He led the opening half of the race before Palmer took over at the front. Patmore gave chase, and set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap, but it wasn’t enough to overhaul Palmer, who took the win.
The new champion finished second, with Friend back on the podium in third. Patrick Mills made it three Extreme winners from the weekend’s four races, finishing fifth.
Tommy Philp and Jon Allum had already secured the RKB F1 Sidecar championship ahead of the season finale, but there was still the matter of settling the matter in the F2 series. However, it was going to take a cruel twist of fate to prevent Charlie Morphett and Paul Halliburton taking the title. Morphett, however, was racing with Andy Haynes in the chair, with Halliburton out injured.
It wasn’t plain sailing over the weekend either. It was an F1 class one-two, with Ian Guy and Rick Lawrence the winners ahead of Dan Knight and Ben Hughes. Third went to F2 victors Matt Dix and Shaun Parker, with second in the F2 championship Andy King – with Andrew Sigsworth as a teammate this weekend instead of Alun Thomas – second in class in fifth overall. Series leader Morphett was fourth in the F2 standings.
Knight and Hughes won race two, with Dix and Parker second to claim the F2 win. King and Sigsworth took more points away from Morphett, finishing third overall and second in class, with the series leader fourth in class, crossing the line in sixth.
It was a return to winning ways for Guy and Lawrence in race three, they took both the overall and F1 win ahead of Knight and Hughes. King and Sigsworth grabbed the F2 win in third. Morphett was sixth, fourth in class.
Despite the pressure, the results were enough to hand the championship to Morphett, even with a DNF in the final race. The race was won by Dix and Parker from Bruce and Ashley Moore and Bruce Munro and Alison Lawrence.
Alison Lawrence and Kez Hughes picked up the Tim McGrane trophy, awarded to the team that was judged to be the best representation of club sidecar racing.
Minitwin champ Glynn Davies arrived at Brands Hatch with the EDIasia Formula 400 title already in the bag, while Doug Edmondson had done enough to be crowned the Sub-64bhp class champion. However, the Yamaha TZR250 pilot was also aiming for an overall championship top-three.
And he managed it, too, finish fourth, fifth, and sixth in the first three races. He was absent from race four.
Chris Burrage won the weekend’s opener, ahead of Matthew Scott and Andy Gill, while champion Davies didn’t manage a lap. He did in race two, however, and took victory to boot, beating Burrage while Gill completed the podium.
Davies picked up the win in race one on Sunday, taking victory in comprehensive fashion by crossing the line nearly half a minute ahead of James Robinson and Connor Swyer. He then capped the year off with victory in the final race, with Scott second and James Seath third. Sam Digby-Baker was the Sub-64 winner in 11th.
With both the MRO Powerbikes and Racebuykz.com Clubman 1000 championship winners confirmed, pride was at stake in the finale, but there was still the matter of crowning the Champion of Brands.
And it was MRO champ Michael O’Brien who qualified fastest on his Yamaha R1 before backing it up with two wins.
He took the win in race one by 10sec, leaving four riders to fight over the two remaining spots on the podium. The runner-up spot went the way of Dodfrey Engineer Kawasaki’s Peter Baker, the former MRO champion fending off Olly Savage, Aiden Patmore, and Steve Heneghan. Max Morgan was the Clubman victor in seventh.
O’Brien doubled-up in race two, again winning by a hefty margin; he crossed the line over eight seconds ahead of his rivals, and again Baker was at the head of a train of riders fighting over the remaining podium positions. The win also saw him collect the Champion of Brands trophy.
Just two tenths separated him from third placed Mark Bridger – the Clubman class champion – Max Morgan, another Clubman, fourth, Patmore fifth, and Tom Norton sixth.
O’Brien sat out the final race of the season, which allowed Baker to take victory. He was again made to work for his success though, as Clubman winner Morgan and Norton chased him across the line.
*Main image: Mitch DuCran
*Side images: JTW Motorsport Photography