SPRING Cup action returned to Oliver’s Mount for the first time in four years today as sidecars and solos stormed the North Yorkshire hillside.
In the opening 600cc heat race, Lee Johnston stole the show as he took an early lead before controlling the action after leading every lap. The Ashcourt Racing man never came under fire as DC Racing’s Mike Norbury crossed the line 2.3sec behind with Jim Hind in third a further 2.7sec adrift.
Dom Herbertson was the man to beat in the second heat of the day as he, Steven Haddow and Tom Weeden did battle early on as the trio stretched away from the field. But no one could stop the Cowton Racing rider, who slipped back ahead of Haddow late on in the scrap to bag the win by 0.700sec as Weeden secured third.
In the third and final heat race, Supersport lap record holder Dean Harrison quickly hit the front with Joey Thompson and Mike Browne in tow, but Thompson and Browne were both hit with a jump start penalty to knock them back down the order. And with the Silicone Engineering Racing star already more than 12sec in front with just a lap remaining of the five-lapper, he had no trouble securing victory over Callum Ward and Thompson, the latter of whom clawed his way back to pip Martin Morris for third.
Straight off the back of his penalty-hit 600 race, local ace Thompson was back out on form aboard his TZ250 in the Ultra Lightweight opener, leading Phil Harvey by less than half a second with Nick Anderson slotting into third. And although he looked to be pulling away, Harvey reeled him in and stole victory on the final lap as Thompson was forced to settle for second ahead of Johnston, who stuck a pass on Anderson late in the race to nick third. Mark Purslow took the F400 class honours in fifth overall, nearly 10sec clear of Richie Welsh.
In the first of the two Twins heats, lap record holder Jamie Coward controlled the action with a lights-to-flag win on the KTS Racing 650 some eight seconds ahead of VRS Racing’s Adam McLean, who edged ahead of Paton man Ian Lougher to take second.
While a Paton didn’t dominate race one, it was a different story for heat two as Jim Hind took his Team ILR Supertwin to victory, leading after Dom Herbertson dropped out of the early scrap with issues. With Dafabet’s Rob Hodson right on Hind’s tail, however, the win was far from easy as Hind fended him off to cross the line less than half a second clear of trouble as Purslow clinched third another 19sec further back.
Neil Kernohan took charge early in the first Supersport 600 B race as he stretched a lead over Harry Jackson, but the scrap was called early after Chris Burns hit the deck at Farm Bends, forcing marshals to throw red flags. Burns was up on his feet and walking as the race was halted.
When the B race was rerun later in the day, Kernohan was back in control with a 3.3sec lead over Andy Sailor on the opening lap and Jackson just behind, fending off Ryan Whitehall. But Jackson and Whitehall both cut ahead of Sailor on lap two and while Kernohan was off to victory by 3.666sec, Jackson did enough to defend for silver as he pipped Whitehall by 0.085sec.
In the final Ultra Lightweight battle of the day, it was Thompson and Johnston in a battle of the 250 two-strokes as the local rider led the TT winner. Thompson built a lead of just under a second with two laps to go, but like the earlier race he dropped like a stone on the last lap as Johnston stormed ahead to win by 6.2sec over Anderson, with 400 winner Purslow taking third overall ahead of Welsh.