MATTY Whelan may have made it a perfect weekend in the Golden Era Steelsport ranks at Oulton Park, but it was Ryan Garside who secured the championship.
The Myerscough EasyPay rider bagged a second and a sixth, enough to hold off double podium finisher Gethin Edwards – his nearest title rival – and clinch the steelie crown.
While the Golden Era Supersport title had already gone to Tony Waistnage at Cadwell Park, it was all up in the air in the Steelsport ranks as the battle heated up for top honours.
After Waistnage dominated to take pole position in the first race, 2017 title holder Luke MacRae rocketed out to the front as he diced with the current champ before Waistnage hit engine issues, leaving MacRae to hold off Liam Vella for the win as Alex Platt battled through from fifth early on to take the final rostrum spot.
Just a couple of seconds behind Platt, ATS Racing’s Whelan scored the Steelsport victory with Garside getting the better of TN Robinson’s Edwards to bag second, enough for the college lecturer to be crowned champion.
It was a two-horse race in the second Supersport scrap of the day as MacRae and Vella were neck-and-neck before MacRae got the better of him by a mere 0.114sec to double up on wins as Edward Ansell took third.
And a hair-splitting 0.001sec further behind and a whisker from the overall podium was Steelie leader Whelan with Edwards and Brad Davey completing the podium.
Crossing the line sixth, however, was a jubilant Garside who admitted it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing this season.
“The aim at the start of the season was always to win the title, but we knew it was a tough task having never been to most of the circuits before,” the former Aintree champ told UK Clubsport. “So to relax at the end of the season with lap records, a jam packed trophy cabinet and the title in the bag is a good feeling.
“The Myerscough students have loved every minute of it, the highs and the lows, and it’s been a cracking experience for us all.
“I’m looking forward to next season, even though I don’t know what I’m doing yet. There are plenty of options but as always it depends on finances. This years awesome sponsors are on board again next year, so we will be out there somewhere, just not sure where just yet.”
*Image: Colin Port