PRESTON and District Motor Cycle Club racers rolled into Three Sisters Circuit this weekend for a bumper first round of the season.
And with a 26-race programme on tap, including the ACU 50cc championship and a new Single Cylinder class, the club kicked off its 2019 in action-packed style.
Former TT regular Rob Barber got the better of Grant Gaskell and Mark Pattinson after leading lights-to-flag in the first 401-1300cc scrap to take the opening win, but Gaskell pinched the lead early on in race two and led every lap to beat Barber and Andrew Sailor to the flag by some three seconds.
And while Gaskell looked to be on for more with a two-second victory over John Dieterman in the opening Formula 600 race, Dieterman took the win from Gaskell in the final. Back in the battle for third, David Glossop beat Nigel Rea by less than two tenths in race one before Rea got the better of Pattinson by a similar margin in race two.
Dieterman was back out in action in the Forgotten Era ranks, where he destroyed the field and notched up a new track record on the Three Sisters International Circuit of 56.184sec to beat Tony Griffiths and David Blyth. But with Dieterman missing from the grid in race two, reigning champ Griffiths stole the win from Alex Latham by just 0.211sec.
Not content with just one track record, Dieterman laid down another with a 56.705sec lap en route to winning both Pre Injection scraps while Andy Sailor, Denzyl Weavil, Mike Bates and Alistair Milne shared the podium spoils.
Out to claim the 500 crown he missed out on last season, Griffiths swept the Up to 500cc races in some of the tightest battles of the day, beating Jake Campbell and Colin McCabe to both while McCabe and Dan Catherall split thirds.
Griffiths powered to a double in the Formla 400 class, but behind him it was a close scrap for second. Out of a temporary retirement, Myerscough College man Richie Harrison snatched the runner-up spot from Clifford Washbrook by just 0.103sec before Latham got the better of him for second by the exact same margin in race two, both times just a few tenths off Griffiths at the front.
In the opening Steel Frame race, Milne led every lap and looked to be on for a clear win before a 10sec penalty for overtaking under yellow flags sent him down to fourth and handed the win to Laurence Jones. But Milne was out to make amends and beat Stephen Johnson to the chequered flag by over two seconds after passing him early on, leaving Jones to third.
Sam Eckersley was the man to watch in the Twins category as he powered to both wins, while James Eckersley got the edge on Jake Campbell for second in race one before James Hargreaves beat Eckersley to the punch in race two.
It was a close fight at the top of the new Single Cylinder class order as James Gerrard pipped Scott Dootson in both races, while Mike Powell took a lone third each time out.
Dootson, however, controlled the ACU 50cc action with two dominant wins over Mark Pollitt and Clive Somerfield, crossing the line with some 17sec to spare each time. The top Freetech 50cc honours also went to Dootson, while the Classic 50cc trophies went home with Somerfield.
On the little Streetstock 125 machines, Graham Corfield bagged both victories over Dave Sephton, while Stephen Tomlinson Jnr and Kathryn Walker split thirds. Corfield was also the man to beat in the 125 EVO races with another two wins, while Tomlinson Jnr and Harrison snatched a second and a third apiece.
Gerrard and Derek Butler swept the Classic Unlimited and Post Classic up to 500cc races with two apiece, while Classic 250 honours went to BSA-mounted Powell as he broke the lap record twice and set a new mark of 1:03.139sec.
*Images: Martin Corfe