JAMES and Jonathan Lodge scored victory for Earnshaws Motorcycles this weekend as No Limits Racing’s National Endurance series hit Croft.
The duo, running the only one-bike effort on the grid, led almost the entire three-hour scrap to bag their first win of the season and move into title contention.
Under sunny skies on Saturday morning, the Lodges stuck their BMW S1000RR on pole by a mere 0.022sec with Delkevic Racing’s Liam Marchant, Gary Johnson and David Hall lining up second and Smallboy Trackbikes’ duo of Matt Waldron and Ian Mackman third.
But it was all change as the flag dropped when CT Racing nabbed the holeshot, getting away quickly to lead the opening lap with the Josh Daley Racing/Dafabet effort just behind and Earnshaws nipping at their heels in third.
With Clubman 1000 series leaders CT dropping to fourth, Earnshaws worked their way past Josh Daley and Rob Hodson’s effort to hit the lead on lap three as they slowly began to eke out a gap.
Meanwhile, the National championship-leading HasBeens squad suffered a difficult start to the day as they dropped to stone dead last on just the second lap, before clawing their way back throughout the race.
With fuelling and a tyre change required, the odds looked to be stacked against the Lodge boys as they held just a 45sec lead over Kade and Luke Verwey at the one-hour mark. But with a 70+ sec gap heading into the final hour, the battle was on for the remaining podium places as Earnshaws looked to have it all wrapped up.
As the race entered its final 40 minutes, it was a scrap for second as Team XG Racing’s Verweys tussled with Waldron and Mackman before the National Junior Superstock contenders hit the pits, as the Triumph-powered squad took over second with Daley and Hodson chasing just ahead of Delkevic.
With less than 10 laps to go, however, the Smallboys team was forced to make a stop, paving the way for Delkevic to take second as Earnshaws took the flag some 60sec clear of trouble, with Josh Daley Racing/Dafabet clinching third.
Three laps off the lead, Give a Duck’s Jon Woodcock and Daniel Jones secured the National 600 class win with podium finishers Premier Racing and EMR Racing further down the order.
Holding onto their strong start, CT Racing bagged the Clubman 1000 honours in ninth overall ahead of RPM Racing and Plenty In The Tank, Sir, while the Clubman 600 win went to Datasys ahead of Datasys 2 and HEC/LPS Racing by Track Prep UK.