CHAMPIONS were crowned last weekend as Thundersport GB’s 2020 season came to a close in mixed conditions.
But dark and rainy weather over the Lincolnshire Wolds on Saturday made way for clearer conditions on Sunday as riders battled for points for the the final time this year.
Fresh off a strong season in the Ducati TriOptions Cup and National Superstock 1000 paddocks, Craig Neve rocked up for one last hoorah at his home circuit as the roads ace scooped three wins from three in the GP1 Elite ranks over Brendan Mallinder.
And despite Joey Thompson and early title contender Adam Reavill’s charges in third place, it was Mallinder who collected the top prize as 2020 champ.
Back in the Sportsman ranks, however, Daniel Forbes made sure to snatch that accolade in dominant fashion with three wins from three over Joe Miller. And after sharing wins with David Fletcher and Phil Palmer, Neville Lorimer was dubbed GP1 Cup champion.
After two wins in the 600 Elite ranks, it looked like Joe Talbot was set to double up on titles after scoring the No Limits trophy just over a fortnight back. But a final race folly, which left former Stocktwin front-runner Taylor Rose to victory, allowed Arnie Shelton to sneak through in the points chase and bag the crown.
But the 600 Sportsman battle was far from undecided as Stephen Thomas, who ended his charge with a strong eight wins from 11, took the championship from Luke Burnett and Gareth Cunningham as Aran Sadler collected the final race win.
In the Pre-National 600 category, Sport front-runner Ben Grayson needed to simply finish to be crowned champ and while his closest title rival Jack Pearce made an 11th-hour charge, it wasn’t enough to keep Grayson from the silverware.
It was a similar story for Thomas Morris, who needed nil points to take the Freshman 600 title as Wilfred Turner and Keith Stringer were already too far behind after Oulton Park. But the big rookie winner was Josh Alder, who bagged all four wins ahead of Morris.
Ryan Garside drew first blood in the Golden Era Supersport class as he powered clear of Harry Pullar and Dave Langley in race one, but his title hopes were all but dashed when a race two DNF allowed Luke MacRae to take victory and rival Ashley Thompson to regain vital ground in the title chase. And despite a win and third on Sunday, Garside fell just 14 points shy of champ Thompson.
Last year’s Steelsport runner up Gethin Edwards pulled comfortably clear, however, after a hat-trick of wins over rivals Matty Whelan and Paul Debnam gave him enough of a margin to lift the crown.
Kieran Smith’s early-season form had already given him the GP1 Classic trophy last month after the penultimate round, but he rounded out his campaign in consistent form with four seconds behind triple-winner Neve as Andy Scanlon also scooped a top finish.
As outright winner, Neve also scored top finishes in the Golden Era Superbike class, but it was Nick Williamson whose thirds behind Oliver Mann gave him the SBK crown.
He may have arrived at Cadwell with a solid points deficit, but CB500 ace Josh Leaning made sure to scoop the Elite 500 championship with a comfortable margin after title favourite Grant Whitaker’s crash and DNF took him out of Sunday’s action, giving his rival the edge as they shared victories with Daniel Swift.
In the Sportsman 500 class, it was Ross McCulloch and Charlie White who nabbed the opening spoils, but Steven Butterworth’s second and first place on Sunday were enough to push him clear of White as the new champ.
But the battle for Freshman 500 honours went all the way down to the wire between Adam Kirton, Paul Wild and Lewis Smart as Kirton’s double win on Saturday nudged him just ahead of runner-up Wild and gave him the trophy.
Over in the bigger twins class, Max Lofthouse had little trouble zipping up the Supertwins championship and his one finish of the weekend was enough to be crowned king of the 650s over race winners Childs and Ryan Strafford, before roads man Dominic Herbertson rocked up to take the cake with a double on Sunday.
Childs and Jason Markham went head-to-head in the Stocktwins class and despite grabbing two wins apiece, it was Childs who came out on top with 26 points to spare.
After the Superteens scrap became near enough a two-horse race earlier this season, Joe Howard and Finley Arscott did battle for the coveted title, but Howard’s clean sweep and Arscott’s Sunday DNF decided the victor as Howard was crowned champion.
Arscott did, however, manage to scoop another championship as he pipped Howard tot eh GP2 Junior Cup honour by just one point after Zak Shelton and Ash Barnes shared the wins.
In the Military Inter Services series, Team Army’s Leon Wilton pipped RAF man Dave Langley to the title by just six points, even after Langley’s podium finish in the final race behind David Leith and fellow RAF runner James Leslie.
But the RAF Road Race squad’s efforts all season long with a strong showing at all four rounds gave them the team title, almost 200 points clear of the British Army Racing Team and the RNRMRRT.
*Images: Kev Gunstone, Michael Wincott Photography