CLASS rookie Ryan Garside stamped his authority on the Golden Era Supersport ranks this weekend with three wins from four and a new lap record.
The reigning Steelsport champ made the switch to a Yamaha R6 this season in a bid to take the crown, and his decision looks to have paid off as he now leads the points chase over 2017 title holder Luke MacRae.
And while he blasted out of the gates to take pole position by just a tenth of a second over Suzuki-mounted Alex Platt, it was Liam Vella who scorched off the middle of the second row on a damp and drying circuit to take an early lead in race one, never letting up en route to a seven-second victory.
MacRae got stuck into second place early on and held it to the flag to bag the runner-up spot, while Garside took the final podium spot less than a second ahead of Platt, as Matty Whelan took a dominant Steelsport victory.
With a much drier track for race two, it was MacRae, Platt, Jack Sim and Dan Jones jostling for the lead before Garside barged through, hitting the front on lap four before pulling away to win by 5.860sec over MacRae as Jones pipped Ash Thompson by just 0.071sec for third while Whelan bagged another steelie win.
After red flags were thrown for Vella’s crash at Coppice early on in race three, Garside grabbed the lead at the restart with Platt right on his tail. And while the former Stocktwin champ clocked a time just a whisker outside Chris Hellewell’s old lap record, it was Garside with another win with Thompson just behind Platt for third.
There were more red flags at the start of race four with carnage on the starting line, but after a quick clean-up it was Sim who took the lead with Garside, Thompson, Jones and Platt all battling for position behind him.
But it was Garside once again who took the lead with just over a lap to go as he dropped the hammer and broke the lap record, completing his hat-trick with a 1’13.464 ahead of Thompson and Sim.
“I honestly didn’t think I would have such a strong weekend for my first time on a newly built bike in such a competitive class,” the new record holder admitted.
“The bike was mega and my sponsors and supporters are all superheroes in their own right. I’m thoroughly thrilled and proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Just 5.6sec off the lead was Whelan, who completed his clean sweep over Gethin Edwards and Paul Debnam.
Garside now leads on 91 points to MacRae’s 61, while Carl Vickers heads the new Veterans class points chase with 10 to spare over Nik Sweet.