NEW squad Cunnington Racing ruled the opening round of the No Limits club season as they controlled the three-hour endurance scrap lights-to-flag.
The team, consisting of CPD Kawasaki’s Superstock 1000 contingent – Joe Collier and Luke Hedger – along with Liam Murtagh, led every one of the nearly 150 laps as the trio kicked off their campaign in style.
After edging JDB Racing’s Jeremy Gibbins, Ben Godfrey and Ben Scranage to pole position by a mere 0.017sec, the crews took centre stage for the first Le Mans-style start of the 2019 season.
And while defending champs KT Motorsport’s weekend recruit Jonathan Lodge made a lightning start from fourth on the grid to shoot into the lead early on, Hedger had caught and passed him by the end of the first lap.
While no one could catch the Cunnington crew as they eased to victory with 20sec to spare, JDB and KT were locked in a battle for runner-up spoils, with the reigning champions missing out by just over 30sec as the chequered flag flew after 146 laps.
“I’m pretty happy we won it,” Murtagh smiled. “The credit has to go to Joe and Luke, they were the quick riders, but we did what we had to do and it was a perfect result.
“We’re a new team. We’re running National Superstock this year with these two and then the odd endurance round here and there across the season so it should be fun.”
Hedger, a former National Superstock 600 champ, admitted he went all-out as he was chased by fellow members of the BSB paddock.
“I just went for it,” he said. “No it was good, I got away well at the start and I had Ben Godfrey, the other BSB lad, behind be so he just kept me going but yeah, it was good.
“I think me, Joe and Liam worked well together and it was a good laugh.”
Collier, like Murtagh, didn’t want to take much credit, but added that he found the endurance format beneficial for testing ahead of his Superstock assault.
“Those two did all the hard work – he [Hedger] started and [Murtagh] finished it so I just had to ride around in the middle,” Collier said. “It was good testing for me actually because we tried a few things, went out and did and then came back, changed a few more and went out again so it’s been useful.
“Luke and Liam have done one of these before but this was my first time. From my point of view it was good for testing and from the team’s point of view it was good for us to win an endurance race.”
No more than six laps back, in the battle for Clubman 1000 honours, Mutts Nutts emerged victorious with Mike Wheeler, Scott McFarlane and Phil Abel crossing the line sixth overall ahead of CT Racing’s Nathan Jackson and Paul Pridmore.
Just behind them were Jonathan Panter and Rob Simpson’s Trumpets, giving RJS Superbike the Clubman 600 spoils and the overall 600 win as they came home well ahead of the National runners.
No Limits Racing’s new Twins endurance category was dominated by the Minitwin-wielding GBmoto Endurance squad of Kasey Wyatt, Elliot Lodge and Max Smith-Halvorsen, who took class victory in 14th overall.
Lodge finished the race just eight seconds behind the first National 600s home – Pertemps Network Racing – after the latter, the class’s reigning champs, suffered a trying weekend.
*To find out how the plan came together for GBmoto, check out the endurance feature in UK Clubsport Issue 02, out next month: SUBSCRIBE HERE
*Main image: UK Clubsport
*Side images: Alex James and RJS Superbike