GARY Thwaites thundered to a mammoth 14 wins from 15 starts at the annual Bob McIntyre Classic Races this weekend at East Fortune.
The Cumbrian all but cut up the competition in every class he entered at the East Lothian airfield, only losing out in the first 350 Mixed race of the weekend to Brian Alexander following a retirement from the lead late in the six-lap scrap, leaving Rich Hawkins and Steve Mason to complete the podium.
Alexander was confined to a clear runner-up spot behind Thwaites in the other two Mixed races of the weekend, while Hawkins and Stephen Atkin both took a third each on Sunday.
Thwaites was at it again in both 350cc Classic Single races where he took 16 and 13-second victories from Hawkins and Meredydd Owen, the latter two nabbing two seconds and two thirds each, respectively. But it was Alexander that dominated the 350cc Classic Twins battles, on both occasions ahead of Atkin and Mason.
Adrian McCarthy swept the Post-Classic Senior class with five wins, twice ahead of James Gerrard and thrice ahead of David Suddas. Ian Robertson took third place in the first three races, while Gerrard rounded out the rostrum in the final two behind Suddas.
Paul Kirby was the man to beat in the Post Classic Junior races, sweeping the class with five faultless wins from five starts. Andy Dunnett was the nearly-man on Saturday as he took two runner-up finishes in front of Brian Nichol and Alexander Robertson. In the battle for second on Sunday, Derek Glass took silver ahead of Richard Lambourne in race three, while Lewis Murray came out on top ahead of Robertson in race four. Robertson finally took a runner-up finish in the last race of the day four seconds clear of Tony Perkin.
250cc Classic honours were shared between Wattie Brown with three and Thomas Moore with two. The latter pipped Brown late in the first race, but only just managed to squeeze out a 0.144-second victory as Colin Wilcock was confined to third nearly two seconds adrift. Brown was back on top in race two, over 10 seconds clear of Moore and Phillip Shaw.
And Brown continued his form in races three and four on Sunday, taking the first win of the day ahead of Moore and John Cragg, and the second ahead of Cragg and Michael Titchmarsh as Moore retired at mid-distance. But the latter redeemed himself in the final race of the weekend with a 0.4-second win over Brown as Cragg had to settle for third over 42 seconds in the distance.
Dominant in each 500cc Classic race with a combined winning margin of over 45 seconds, Thwaites was yet again untouchable with wins on Saturday over Brown and Manx Grand Prix rostrum man Mark Herbertson, as David Matravers and Dougie McNab shared bronze. The Burneside bullet continued his tear on Sunday, storming to the first win of the day ahead of Matravers to McNab, and the second and third ahead of McNab to Robert Walker.
And as was nearly customary by the end of the annual classic event, there seemed no limit to Thwaites’ prowess as he took five Unlimited class wins, four with Stuart Gray on his tail and one with Ian Myers bringing up the rear in the runner-up spot. Myers managed three additional rostrum finishes behind Gray, while Mike Kemp took one third behind Myers and one behind Gray.
Eddy Wright and Kieran Clarke were the unstoppable force in Saturday’s Classic Sidecar duels, with the outfits of Colin Lewis/Dan Quirk and Clint Faulkner/Andrew Street taking a second and a third each on the first day of competition. But Faulkner and Street came out swinging on Sunday when they took race three victory as Wright and Clarke retired, leaving Lewis and Quirk in a runner-up position just ahead of Alan Shand and Chris Yuill in third.
With the Wright/Clarke outfit missing from the grid in race four, it was yet again a Faulkner/Street victory as they crossed the line just 0.6 seconds clear of Lewis/Quirk and nearly 25 seconds ahead of Tony Thirkell/Trevor Johnson.
A race-long battle ensued in the final sidecar scrap of the weekend, with Faulkner/Street desperately looking for the three-peat, but they were bested on the penultimate lap by Lewis/Quirk as the latter came home just 0.3 seconds ahead, with Shand and Yuill nabbing third once again.
In the separate Camathias Cup race, victory went to the duo of Thirkell and Johnson, ahead of Clive Faulkner/Brian Robson and Noel Bruno/Yan Bouvais.
*Images: David’s Photographs