REIGNING National Endurance champions KT Motorsport held off the advances of Cunnington Racing to take their first win of the year at Cadwell Park.
The team, fronted this weekend by David Hall, Jonathan Lodge and Gary Johnson, emerged victorious from the three-hour scrap ahead of Donington winners Liam Murtagh and Luke Hedger as the victorious duo moved up into second in the title chase, just behind the BSB paddock regulars.
In a frigid morning qualifying on Saturday, Cunnington looked to be picking up where they left off as they stuck in a 1:32.599, just enough to hold on to the top spot for the Le Mans start as KT missed out by just 0.184sec, leaving JDB Racing, runners-up at round one, to third on the grid.
But when the flag dropped to start the three-hour endurance, it was Lodge who got his Suzuki straight out of the blocks to nose ahead of Hedger before the former National Superstock 600 champ slipped back ahead and began extending a lead.
Hedger extended a lead of over 30sec before hitting the pits to hand over to his team-mate, but KT had done the same and headed in to swap transponders.
When the two emerged, Cunnington’s advantage was tumbling and within three laps it had been sliced from almost 28 seconds down to just 15 and four laps later, KT had the lead.
As the race ticked over the hour mark, KT was up to a 26sec lead ahead of Cunnington and JDB, but the latter squad suffered a crash and a delayed transponder return, leaving ADSS Kawasaki room to squeeze into third as they fought to hold off Dales Sports/Salus Racing.
But KT already had a one lap lead in the bag, giving them enough room to cruise across the finish line for their first win of the season, while Cunnington held on to second to maintain their points lead while Dales Sports/Salus Racing duo Richard Steadman and Aaron Silvester, the latter fighting back from a broken femur last year, secured the final rostrum spot.
On It Racing clinched the Clubman 1000 honours in sixth, just 30sec ahead of Team XG Racing’s Luke and Kade Verwey, who took a clear National 600 class victory.
RJS Superbike’s Rob Simpson and Jonathan Panter continued their win streak as they extended their Clubman 600 lead with 13th overall and the class win, while GBmoto’s Minitwin riders Elliot Lodge, Kasey Wyatt and Max Smith-Halvorsen took another 25 points in the Twins Endurance category.
*Images: Alex James