PHIL Crowe and Adam Reavill came up trumps at Donington Park as they scored top honours in the GP1 class in Thundersport GB’s opening round of 2020.
And the two were joined by a host of British Superbike support championship riders as both 600s and 1000s battled for the Duke of Donington crown.
In a dry GP1 qualifying stint on Saturday morning, however, it was club regular Seb Bulpin who nicked pole position from Ross Simpson by a mere 0.016sec as Sportsman class graduate Lee McLaughlin rounded out the front row.
It was Reavill who grabbed the early lead as the lights went out for race one, but Crowe was on a charge from the middle of the third row on the grid and it took him just two laps to fly past Reavill and Bob Collins to take the lead.
As Collins came under fire from Simpson before eventually falling into a fight for third with Simpson, Crowe inched away and crossed the line with nearly seven seconds to spare while Simpson crossed the line second ahead of the scrap for bronze where Collins pipped Bulpin by just a few tenths.
The GP1 runners narrowly missed Saturday’s downpours and lucked out with dry weather on Sunday as Crowe lined up on pole ahead of Simpson and Bulpin. And while it looked to be another Crowe show, the BMW man tumbled down the order to sixth place as Reavill and Simpson assumed the lead.
But they weren’t alone – the pair was soon joined by last year’s 250GP champ and 600 Elite runner-up James Hind, impressing in his first competitive outing on a big bike as he snatched third place from Brendan Mallinder at the line while Reavill took 25 points.
Reavill was back in front at the start of race three, but by lap two Hind had stolen the lead and soon put a full second into Reavill and Simpson. As the trio edged away from Mallinder in fourth, it quickly became a three-way battle for victory and while Hind looked on for a rookie upset, he was only just pipped at the chequered flag as Reavill doubled up with another win over Simpson, leaving the 20-year-old to another third.
In the Duke of Donington battle with more BSB paddock regulars on hand, Bradley Perie scorched to pole in the wet almost half a second clear of Joe Ravenscroft and 600 runner Max Stainton while Josh Daley, Ryan Gibson and Barry Graham rounded out row two.
Perie pulled a few seconds over the field early on, but was soon under threat from a charging Crowe and the Lincolnshireman’s new Superstock 1000 recruit Chrissy Rouse, who started at the back of the grid after missing qualifying. But Rouse’s charge came just a bit too late and he was forced to settle for third ahead of Matt Truelove, as Perie held off Crowe by 0.694sec to take victory.
With Crowe taking pole ahead of Rouse and Truelove for Sunday’s races it looked to be a different story, but Perie was quickly back at the front with Rouse in his tracks while Crowe suffered a massive high-side at Coopice and left Daley to third.
Back at the front, however, Rouse levered Perie aside with three laps to go and held on to take the win by 0.372sec as Truelove bagged third.
It was more of the same in race three as Perie hit the front early doors before Daley took a turn at the front, but Rouse wasted little time taking the lead and pulling away to win by some five seconds ahead of a repeat podium with Perie and Truelove behind, taking the points aggregate as the Geordie took the Duke of Donington crown.
The Duke of Donington 600 wins went the way of Arnie Shelton, Harry Truelove and Caolan Irwin while Jack Nixon, Rhys Irwin, Max Stainton and Max Wadsworth all finished on the rostrum.
In the GP1 Sportsman ranks, it was a double for Antony Moore as Rob Coppock scored the Saturday win, while Daniel Forbes and Alberto Solera shared the podium honours.
While Reavill scored two GP1 victories over the weekend, it’s now Simpson in control of the points with 60 to his name, just one clear of the double winner.
*Images: Colin Port, Kerry Rawson