JAMES Welch and Simon Bastable bagged the first IMS 600 wins of 2019 this weekend as rain hampered NG’s season opener.
But Bastable’s double means he now heads the points chase over Dean Richards as the championship heads to Snetterton next month for round two.
Wet weather had already set in as the club headed out for qualifying on Saturday morning, when Welch beat Slipscreens’ Kayla Barrington to pole position by a hair-splitting 0.006s, as Ross Walker rounded out the front row of the grid.
It was Walker who got out to an early lead in the first race of the weekend, with Welch and Chris Sinanan not far behind. But four laps in, Welch found a way through and hit the front, stretching a gap of 2.733s at the chequered flag as his brother Luke bagged third while red flags put an early end to action as Barrington lost the front at Paddock Hill, leaving her bike to fly into the fencing.
Walker again took the lead early in Sunday’s first race, but former Streetstock champ Bastable, who was forced to start at the back thanks to a Saturday off, was making a charge behind and was up to sixth just two laps in.
James Welch dropped out of the fight for the lead with a crash at Graham Hill bend just three laps in, but by then OwnItLive.co.uk’s Bastable was already into third and by lap six he’d taken over at the front, powering ahead to a 3.745s victory over MI Construction Training’s Michael Rees and Richards.
And it was smooth sailing for Bastable in race three as he converted his pole position start into victory with a lights-to-flag sprint over 2.5s clear of Richards and ADS Racing man Adam Grosch.
With 50 points to his name, Bastable now sits at the top of the championship order, just four ahead of Richards and 10 clear of Luke Welch.
*Image: EDP Photo News