FORMULA Prostocks Racing Club’s final round before its inaugural showdown proved to be a battle as the club descended on Donington Park.
Race one got under way in spectacular style as Matt Jones lost the front in the first corner and his bike cartwheeled end over end through the Redgate gravel, but it suffered very little damage and he managed to get back out.
But at the front it was Matt Baker who got straight into the lead, which was the last the opposition saw of him as he took a convincing win.
Second place was a close fought battle with Harley Prebble just taking it from John Bolsover. John Ward took fourth by 0.08s over David Greenwood while Bob Southgate just pipped Nick Waite for sixth.
Baker got another flying start followed by Bolsover and Prebble as Prebble slipped through into second on the inside at Hollywood and gave chase, ending lap one ahead of Baker after a move at Redgate.
But it was short-lived as Baker took it back down Craner curves and pulled out a healthy lead all the way to the chequered flag.
That left Prebble and Bolsover to battle it out for the final podium positions with Prebble taking second, but only just. Greenwood took fourth from Ward and Steven Heath, with Waite right on his wheel.
While Saturday night’s heavy rain had stopped as the Prostocks hit the grid on Sunday morning, conditions were still mixed with a dry line appearing to favour those out on dry tyres.
Ward was the best starter in race three as he launched off the second row and led briefly, then Prebble took up the running with Bolsover third and Baker in an unfamiliar fourth spot, but by the end of lap one, Baker started to make his move and made his way to the front by the end of the following lap.
Baker went on to take another impressive win from Prebble, while Ward fought his way through and snatched his first podium in third place, followed home by Greenwood and Bolsover. Fifth was enough to secure both Greenwood and Bolsover’s positions in the showdown, but the final place was still up for grabs with only two points separating Ward and Southgate.
The final race of the weekend was no different for Baker as he broke away at the front and pulled out a healthy lead from Prebble and Bolsover, but the action was slightly further back, where the two showdown contenders were having a battle for the final position.
Southgate tried to out brake Ward, but instead he lost the front and went down, leaving Ward to cruise home in fifth behind Greenwood and clinch the final showdown spot.
James McHardy had chosen to sit out Donington as he had already qualified for the showdown, but it’s all to do again for he, Baker, Prebble, Bolsover, Greenwood and Ward as they begin the next round at Combe on zero points in the chase for the 2018 Black Widow Bandit Challenge Championship.
And it’s still not over for the remaining racers as their points continue to accumulate in the battle for the Rider’s Cup, while the highest over-50 racers will be chasing their own class honours.
In the FPR Protect My Income Classic Championships, John Tatham continued to dominate the FP1 series with a brace of wins on Saturday, from Greg Gibson in race one and Keith Higgs in race two.
Higgs took his first win of the series in race three from Bart Reid, another newcomer to the class, before Tatham was back to his winning ways ahead of Higgs in race four.
Rob Pragnell took FP2 victory in his welcome return to racing after a very nasty accident at Anglesey earlier in the year. But in race two it was Mark Carels-Watson taking the spoils in front of Pragnell before Carels-Watson completed a hat-trick with two more ahead of Pragnell on Sunday.
Only one FP3 race was held on the Saturday and Lewis Rees extended his championship lead, with victory over Andy Bailey. Newcomer Nigel Manning-Morton got his first win in Sunday’s first race from Rees and Bailey, before doubling up with another in the final race of the weekend ahead of Rees.
*Images: Hairy Beast Pix