PHIL Crowe, Chrissy Rouse and Matt Truelove stormed from the back of the grid to outright victory in this weekend’s NLR national endurance scrap.
The National Superstock champ and his title-winning bike builder crossed the line with time to spare in the three-hour battle at Donington Park, but with a Dunlop-shod bike and rules barring tyre makes other than Pirelli or Metzeler, it was Hawk Racing’s Leon Jeacock and Barry Burrell who bagged victory.
While the latter topped Saturday morning’s qualifying with Crowe, Rouse and Truelove half a second behind and Dales Sports’ Richard Steadman and Tim Neave third quickest, the rules of rubber forced Crowe’s lot to the back of the grid for the Le Mans-style start as Chelsea’s Legacy riders Mark Cooper, Chris Green and Luke Hopkins were promoted to third.
But when the lights went out, Neave was quickest off the blocks as he jumped ahead of Hawk Racing on the start with Delkevic Racing and Earnshaws Motorcycles in tow.
By lap two, however, the Chelsea’s Legacy crew was up into third and nipping at the heels of Hawk as Crowe Performance/Motorbikepod continued to scythe their way through the field.
And before the first hour was up, the number 71 machines had made their way ahead of nearly 50 other teams to move into the lead with a lap to spare over Hawk Racing and Earnshaws’ boys Jonathan and James Lodge some 24sec further back in third.
The front-runners continued to pull away over the next 50 laps, but the fight for rostrum honours was on behind as Dales Sports moved clear of Earnshaws, who were out in a single-bike effort, as HasBeens John Ingram, Lee Payne and crept up into fifth overall.
With the laps winding down and the leading two teams seemingly going nowhere, the battle was on for third over the line as Earnshaws and HasBeens jostled for position before Ingram and Payne sneaked through a few laps from the finish to bag a 10sec gap and the top-three spot.
And despite Crowe, Rouse and Truelove’s 54sec lead as the chequered flag flew, they were knowingly excluded from the final result for their tyre infringement, putting Hawk’s Burrell and Jeacock on top of the box with HasBeens second and Earnshaws third.
Give A Duck’s Alan Naylor and Daniel Jones bagged the National 600 win while CT Racing trio Nathan Jackson, Paul Barker and James Skelding took the Clubman 1000 spoils in 12th ahead of Clubman 600 winners Karl Freeth and Johnny Panter of Datasys Racing.