WEATHER woes dominated the weekend as classic riders flocked to Snetterton for the CRMC and Lansdowne Classic Series’ final event of 2019.
And with almost every title still up for grabs, the action in Norfolk heated up despite the difficult and rainy conditions.
John Warwick looked to be on for a clean sweep in the Production class as he dominated Saturday’s action on his FZ while Martin Radcliffe, Stephen Cross, Dominic Clegg and Ashley Beckett shared podium honours. But it was Dave Crampton who stormed to Sunday’s win with a 5.7sec gap over Warwick to spoils his hat-trick hopes.
A team who did complete a hat-trick, however, was the Sidecar squad of Kevin Hunt and Alan Cracknell who beat Doug and Andrew Street as well as Barry and Ashley Phethean by a few seconds and pipped Phil Luhr and Sharon Reeves by less than half a second to win three on the bounce.
Mike Cooper shook up the usual Classic 500 order and pipped Joe Barton and Lee Hodge to the opening race win by just over two tenths of a second, but it was back to business for Barton in race two with a 1.4sec win over Mark Cronshaw, who held off Richard Molnar by a mere 0.005sec to take second. With a depleted grid on Sunday, Hodge stormed to the final win some 26sec clear of Barton.
In the 500 Goldstar ranks, Andrew Guy took two wins to Andy Pike’s one, while Stephen Atkin and Lars Sandberg shared the Senior spoils.
Ant Hart was the man to beat on Saturday as he crossed the line over five seconds clear of Graham Higlett and Phil Atkinson in the first PC350 GP race of the meeting, but Atkinson put up a fight in race two and stole the win some 0.315sec clear of Hart before the South African dominated the final scrap with eight seconds to spare.
Cooper was back in action and drew first blood in the Classic 350 European class with victory ahead of Hodge and Molnar, but it was Hodge who nosed Barton over the line by just 0.012sec in race two before Will Loder scored the final 25 points. Further afield, Mike Hose made a dominant clean sweep of the Classic 350 Seniors as Alex Sinclair, Steve Mason and Dean Johnson took a 350 Twins win apiece.
The PC125 Open honours all went the way of Tom Hayward with two commanding wins over Ashley Beckett and James Blackmore, while the PC125 Piston Port opener went to Mark Handley some 21sec ahead of Mike McDonnell and Jerry Lodge, who only just pipped Stuart Cox for third. But with only two Piston Port finishers on Sunday, victory went to Chris Bray.
Hodge beat his usual rival Barton by more than two seconds in Saturday’s only PC750 Clubman scrap, but it was a walk to the flag with a 28sec victory over Mick Pennell as Pike scooped another third. A bit further back in the pack, the Formula 750 honours went the way of Hose after a hair-splitting dice with Higlett as the two were separated by 0.026sec at the line.
While Warwick braved the conditions to beat Jeremy Longland on both Saturday and Sunday in the PC250 Air Cooled class as Richard Cheetham did the same with his sweep of the 200 Four Stroke ranks, Hose’s winning run was interrupted on day two as he had to settle for second behind Michael Titchmarsh in the Classic 250 European while Guy’s double in the 350 Goldstars was stopped by a DNF and Nicholas Johnson’s Sunday victory.
Once again, Hodge was on the top step for the PC Superbike opener, but a retirement in the second race meant Chris Firmin took over in the winner’s circle. And in the PC Superstocks further back in the field, Malcolm Sampson and Neil Robinson split the wins – both ahead of runner-up Warwick.
But Dean Stimpson put a stop to Hodge’s wins with a 3.578sec win over he and Cronshaw in the ACU Classic 500 scrap.
Joining the CRMC for its club finale was the Lansdowne Classic Series, where Pete Bardell pipped Michael Russell in race one as Russell got the better of him in race two, but it was too late to stop Bardell becoming British 500 class champ.
Chris Bassett nosed George Thomas to the win in the WRR 500 ranks to take one of the closest victories of the weekend by 0.014sec before Thomas won on Sunday, but – like Bardell – Bassett had already laid the groundwork to be crowned champion. Fernando Mendes’ victory on Saturday confirmed his Club class title while David Hebb was this year’s top 350 man.
*Images: Paul Lancaster