RIDERS of Bemsee splashed back into action last weekend as the club hit Oulton Park for a mixed-weather season opener in Cheshire.
Team Respro MRO 600
Former series runner-up Adam Hartgrove returned for the opening round and showed why he was one of the riders to make the step up to the National Superstock 600 Championship, qualifying on pole by nearly three and a half seconds in the wet conditions.
He was joined on the front row by Glenn Walsh, himself almost three seconds up on Dawid Krawiecki, to make it an all Yamaha R6 front row.
Despite the track drying for the afternoon’s seven-lap race, Hartgrove converted his pole position into a race win, setting the fastest lap in the process to take victory by just shy of 10 seconds. But the battle for the remaining places was a far closer-fought affair.
Cameron Fraser and Louis Valleley both set their fastest times on the penultimate lap as they duked it out for second place. Come the chequered flag half a second was the gap between them, as Fraser took the spot.
Walsh and Krawiecki finished fourth and fifth while Barker, in 11th, picked up the Clubman win.
Both of Saturday’s races had an identical top four from both races as Krawiecki was twice a winner, ahead of Walsh, Hartgrove and Edmondson.
Krawiecki’s win in the first race of the day, aboard his Code Blue Ltd Yamaha, came after taking the flag three seconds up on Walsh. A further three seconds back was Hartgrove, two seconds ahead of Edmondson, as the four riders came home in a rather processional manner.
Yet despite a repeat finishing order in race two, the spectacle was anything but. Krawiecki disappeared at the front, pulling out a lead of nearly 12 seconds come the chequered flag, but three riders battling for two podium positions provided the action.
Half a second covered all three in the end after a race-long scrap, just a tenth splitting Walsh and Hartgrove in second and third.
Alex Barker, in seventh and sixth, was twice a Clubman 600 winner to make it a clean sweep. Craig Howton and Mitchell Gilbert finished second and third in class in both races.
In the three Rookie 600 races Dan Burnham took two wins on his Triumph, with Matt Pallett winning the final race on his Kawasaki.
For the Rookie 1000s there were three races over the weekend, but only one winner. Antony Hunter was three times victorious but his margin of victory came down drastically from one race to the next. His 14sec advantage in race one was cut to seven in race two. In the final race he beat Seamus McGlynn by just half a second to complete his hat-trick.
ACU Team Green Junior Cup and Senior 300
To mix things up, Phil Atkinson, went toe-to-toe with reigning Junior Cup champion Mikey Hardie and last year’s runner up Jack Kirsch.
It was the South African who set the fastest time in qualifying to start from pole as the front row was completed by two Junior Cup riders, Dylan Mellor and Kirsch.
Race one became something of a two-horse race and despite plenty of other riders exhibiting similar pace, Atkinson and Kirsch were left to contend for the win as Atkinson claimed it, though by less than a second, as Kirsch collected the Junior Cup win.
Graeme Hardie was third and second Senior 300 rider across the line, ahead of Huskinson, who came through from 12th on the grid, and Graeme’s son Mikey.
The pace quickened on Saturday, despite two more wet races for the class, but it was Mikey who upped his speed the most to take a brace of victories, taking a comfortable win in the morning, 5.5sec clear of Senior 300 class winner Atkinson and Huskinson, who completed the podium.
In the afternoon, though, it was anything but comfortable as four riders – two Junior Cup and two Senior 300s – went at it for the win. But it was Mikey who took it with Junior Cup title rival Kirsch second by a little over a tenth and Senior winner Huskinson third.
A dry qualifying led into a damp and two wet races for the MRO Minitwins, but the conditions mattered little to Dan Harris, as he took all three wins to make it a perfect start to the season.
Harris qualified on the front row in third, behind the unrelated Cameron Harris and pole-sitter Matt Wetherell, but as the conditions changed for Friday’s race he was one of only two riders able to get into the 1:58s. The other was Glynn Davies, who finished second ahead of Wetherell.
Dan’s speed continued and in race two, with the rain coming down, he set a best lap time nearly five seconds quicker than eventual runner-up Povah, who beat Kevin Lilley to the silver medal by a tenth.
In race three, Povah pressured Harris as the pair scrapped for the win. But after setting his fastest lap on the final lap Harris took it by three quarters of a second as Wetherell rounded out the podium places. Mark Gillam made a dream start to his Rookie Minitwin campaign, collecting three wins from three starts.
DFDS Yamaha Past Masters
Doug Edmondson decimated the YPM field at Oulton Park to take three wins from pole position.
With 26sec in hand, he beat Scott Carson in race one while the battle for third heated up as just over half a second overed Geoff Mook, who beat Grant and Rik Ballerini.
Another comfortable win for Edmondson came in race two, with Carson again second, this time with reigning champion Peter Branton third by half a second from Ballerini.
A best race lap five seconds faster than his nearest challenger allowed Edmondson to take his third win by nearly half a minute as Alan Cooper was second, denying Carson three second place finishes as the latter finished third.
The Lansdowne Classic British Championship
Sam Clews won all three races in the Lansdowne Classic British Championship at Oulton Park, though despite a 100% win record, it was anything but a foregone conclusion.
Clews set the quickest time in qualifying aboard his Norton before taking the race one win and beating Michael Russell by a tenth of a second. The pair, though, were the class of the field, with third placed Chris Bassett over 30 seconds behind.
The same was true in race two, though this time Clews was able to pull out a slightly more comfortable lead come the chequered flag, winning from Russell by one and a half seconds. This time Andrew Glasgow beat Bassett to third.
Another Clews-Russell one-two rounded out the weekend’s action, but it was third different rider picking up the bronze medal, with Ian Bain pipping Glasgow to the finish.
Steve Jordan Motorcycles Thunderbike Sport
Reigning Thunderbike Sport champion Jack Sim took two wins from three starts at the opening round of the 2021 season at Oulton Park, with Adam Jamison collecting the other available victory, beating Sim to the line in the final race of the weekend.
Sim qualified in the middle of the front row, as Elliot Fricker took pole, but it was Sim who converted his front row into a win in race one ahead of Fricker. Two more Yamahas scrapped it out for third, with Ricardo Branco coming out on top in his battle with Shaun Wallis.
After Sim set the fastest lap of the race along the way, he took win number two ahead of Jamison as Sam Digby-Baker nabbed third.
In race three it was all change at the top, however, as Jamison pipped Sim by two tenths to take victory with Digby-Baker again third.
Steve Jordan Motorcycles Thunderbike Extreme and Thunderbike Ultra
Three winners hit the top step and the first was Steve Palmer, taking the overall and Ultra class win on his Mk1 Transit Racing Suzuki, with Extreme winner Donald Gilbert second ahead of Sim.
A red flagged race two, in which Palmer crash out at the halfway point, was won by Wilby. Cecil Dinsmore was credited with second, the pair first and second in the Ultra class. David May, in third, was the leading Extreme rider, finishing ahead of Gilbert and Sim.
In race three it was Dinsmore who became the third winner head of Palmer, with the Extreme class winner Gilbert finishing third.
Chilton Motors BMZRC 250
Reigning champion Peter Woodall qualified on pole in the Chilton Motors BMZRC 250 series, but it was Chris Kent who took a brace of wins as one went to Andrew Wales.
In true MZ fashion, Kent won Friday’s race by two tenths of a second. Just over a second covered the entire top four, with Woodall second, Wales third, and Chris Rogers fourth.
Wales’ margin of victory in race two was nearly 16sec over John Ashmead, after both Woodall and Kent crashed out in unison on lap five, leaving Wales to ride to victory. Third went to Gary Howlett.
Kent and Woodall were back in action in the final race of the weekend and again finished one-two. This time Kent beat the reigning champ by less than a tenth of a second, with Wales third.
RKB-F1 and F2 Sidecars
With a number of British teams on hand to get extra track time, though not scoring points, Friday’s win went to the F1 outfit of George Holden and Oscar Lawrence with Gordon Pottinger and Dave Dodd second overall. Craig Goodier and Mark Stone completed the podium, taking the F2 win in the process.
In Saturday’s opener Holden and Lawrence bagged another win, heading an all-F1 podium of Christopher Wright and Paul Bailey and Paul and Tom Kirby. The F2 winner was the pairing of Mick Alton and Keith Brotherton.
But with Holden and Lawrence only managing one lap of race three, Wright and Bailey seized the opportunity and claimed their first victory of the season. Kirby and Kirby’s second place made it two F1s in the top two, but Goodier and Stone’s F2 class win came with a fine third overall.
EDIasia Formula 400
Richie Welsh proved he could win in the dry and the rain at Oulton Park, taking two wins from three races over the weekend, finishing second in the other.
The former class champion qualified fastest, and strolled to victory in a dry race one on his FZR400 Yamaha. Some 28sec behind, Joe Thomas finished second and James Seath third in a fairly processional affair. Alan Cooper’s fourth gave him the Sub-64bhp class win.
Cooper, on his Sub-64bhp machine, went head-to-head with Welsh in the rain and managed to snatch Saturday’s opening win by a mere three hundredths of a second. Thomas was three seconds back to round off the podium.
It was a similarly close margin in the final race, but this time between Welsh and Thomas, five hundredths of a second the gap at the line. James Robinson was third, with Cooper fourth to take another 25 points in the Sub-64bhp class.
Blue Haze GP and GPF
In the GP class Phil Atkinson, the reigning champion, won Friday’s dry race handsomely from Kevin Wholey and Michael Russell.
Finishing third in Saturday’s opener, he was unable to quite match Russell and Jack Worth’s pace at the very front, as they finished first and second.
Wholly returned to the podium in race two to narrowly take the win from Russell and Worth, a second and a half covering the trio, with Atkinson fifth behind Andrew Glasgow.
In the GPF races Ian Mackman converted pole position into victory on Friday, before Scott Carson and Billy Perkins took a win apiece on Saturday. Carson and Perkins completed Friday’s podium, with Carson only two tenths off the win.
But on Saturday morning Carson raced to a comfortable win, this time with Perkins second and Mackman third. In the afternoon Perkins took the win from Denis Halil and Mark Haigh.