NEARLY 30 post-classic grand prix bikes descended on Cadwell Park this weekend as the GP Originals joined Bemsee’s International Sidecar Revival.
With flawless weather, clear skies and soaring temperatures, action was nothing short of fierce as the series returned to the Lincolnshire circuit.
All-around fast guy Phil Atkinson joined the fray for his first GP Originals outing of 2018 as he replaced the unwell Chris Rose, and the former 250 ACU National Champion immediately put in a fast time in qualifying of 1:38.754s to take pole position for the weekend’s races.
Former 125cc British Championship and Grand Prix wild card rider Fernando Mendes thrilled the crowd with his wild style over the mountain on his little yellow 250 to take second overall grid spot and first 250 with an impressive 1:41.681s lap while another series newcomer, Ant Hart, rounded out the top three on his Harris Yamaha 350.
South African Atkinson bagged the first win on Saturday, 1.753 ahead of Hart with Mendes in third and first 250. But in the next race, Atkinson broke an output shaft whilst leading, handing the big points to Hart.
An epic battle had developed between Mendes and 2015 Manx Grand Prix Newcomer champ Gary Vines, but Vines was also forced to retire with a broken exhaust pipe as he was forced to bide his time for the next race.
Mendes finished second on the road and first of the 250 runners, with Steve Pond taking second 250 spot ahead of Dave Grigson. Regular Goodwood and Lansdowne competitor Duncan Fitchett enjoyed third on the road and second of the 350 runners, while a very excited Jason Burrill grabbed his first 350cc podium as he crossed the line fifth.
Sunday’s racing was just as close with strong battles right through the field, and with an overnight engine swap completed, Atkinson took the win from Hart.
Chris Moore, aboard the JL Exhausts 350 machine, stormed through to grab third. Mendes and Vines were locked together again, swapping paint all race long before Mendes nicked the 250 win by just 0.072s, with Pond taking third in class.
A dominant Atkinson took the final win, but by only by 0.169s from a flying Ant Hart. This time Vines had the bit between his teeth, and with a borrowed exhaust pipe from Steve Pond, he pulled clear of Mendes and came home third on the road and first 250.
Chris Moore split the 250s for a podium 350cc finish, leaving Mendes fifth on the road and second 250 as Pond once more took third in the 250 ranks.
Tony Perkin took home £50 prize money for the Xclusiv Events best placed Master (over-55). Jean René Marmelat travelled all the way from the South of France (to realise his dream of racing at Cadwell on his TZ250L) and was awarded a pair of Tony Green silencers for his efforts, as well as the JL Exhausts prize money for fourth 250cc aggregate position over the weekend.
Due to Atkinson’s DNF on Saturday, Hart bagged the JL Exhausts £120 prize money for the biggest 350 points haul of the weekend, but Atkinson’s fastest 350 lap gave him another £50 from Xclusiv Events to add to his second place prize money. The £50 Fastest 250 lap prize went the way of Gary Vines at 1:41.463s.
*Images: Jenny Wells