MATT Shaw snatched the East Midland Racing Association CB500 title out from underneath Paul Sawyer after a final day of battle at Mallory Park this weekend.
One of the only EMRA classes to have a final round of racing at the track’s famous Race of the Year event, the popular 500cc title went down to the wire between Sawyer, Thomas Pickford and Shaw as the top three were covered by just 12 points.
Having taken a year out of racing, Shaw was keen to match twin brother Will’s championship-winning feat and had an even better opportunity to do so with double points on offer in yesterday’s two races.
But it was Phil Stevens who stuck in a 59.689 on his very first lap of qualifying to beat Shaw to pole position, with Darren Bellworthy rounding out the front row and Andy Whale, Pickford and Sawyer just behind on row two.
Shaw nabbed the holeshot in race one and immediately began to pull a gap over Sawyer, but Bellworthy sliced his way through the pack into third by lap two and then into second four laps later as he looked to draw back Shaw’s near 1.5-second gap at the front.
On the penultimate lap, Bellworthy levered Shaw aside to take the lead the lead and despite his best efforts, Shaw had to settle for a runner-up finish just 0.106 seconds adrift of the win with Sawyer bagging a lone third and Pickford a fourth.
After bringing the gap down from 12 points to eight, Shaw knew he needed at least two places on Sawyer to take the title as they took to the grid for the final CB500 scrap of the season.
Once again Shaw hit the front early ahead of Sawyer, but just like before Bellworthy crept into the picture shortly thereafter and snatched the lead with four laps remaining.
Sawyer succumbed to Martin Radford and Andy Whale late in the race to take the final spot in a three-way battle for fourth that covered less than 0.7 seconds.
With another silver medal behind double victor Bellworthy and ahead of Pickford in third, Shaw raised the EMRA 500 trophy with 150 points to Sawyer’s 144 and Pickford’s 141.
*Main image: Neil Kirby
*Side image: Will Shaw