WAYNE Sutton snatched the EMRA CB500 championship from Ben Bailey after a crash left the latter scrambling for points in the final race of the season.
While Bailey had arrived at Mallory Park with a 16-point lead over his only title rival, a spill in the first race meant he was down a nearly-insurmountable 34 points in the final race, and a finish was enough to seal the deal for Sutton.
But neither of them managed a victory this weekend as Darren Faulkner edged Darren Conneely to a clean sweep.
Bailey’s near-vertical take-off on the line of race one wasn’t what he wanted as he dropped to seventh on the first lap, while Sutton immediately got involved in the battle for the lead with Faulkner and Conneely.
By lap three, Conneely was ahead of Sutton with Bailey still in sixth, but just three laps later Bailey was up to fourth ahead of Sutton and at the start of the last lap it was Faulkner, Conneely, Dave King, Bailey and Sutton covered by just 1.5s dicing for the win.
The group was whittled to two at Edwinas, however, when Bailey and King went down, leaving Faulkner to win by 0.19 seconds from Conneely as Sutton gained vital championship points in third, giving him the lead with one race remaining.
Forced to start at the back of the grid for race two, Bailey was determined to make up lost ground and by the end of the first lap he had passed a third of the field. Meanwhile, up at the sharp end, Phillip Stevens was heading Faulkner, Conneely, Robert Carver and Scott Adams, with Sutton opting for safety in sixth place.
Faulkner took over at the front on lap three and he and Conneely would continue to battle for the lead for the rest of the race, while Bailey gradually worked his way up to pass Sutton on lap nine and finally take fourth.
And while Faulkner won the race by just over two tenths of a second ahead of Conneely, with Carver in third, seventh place was sufficient for Sutton to clinch the title.
*Image: Robin Capon