WIRRAL 100 riders battled Storm Hannah as strong wind and rain played havoc with the club’s annual visit to Oulton Park.
In the tricky conditions, keeping machines upright was the main aim, particularly when braking into Hizzy’s and avoiding the fallen leaves at Druids.
The Paul Bland Motorsport Formula 600 class practised first and it was a cagey affair with riders picking their way through the puddles, and it was a surprised Keith Ferrari who claimed pole position for race one, with championship leader Chris Eden down in a strange 10th place along with reigning Junior Manx Grand Prix winner James Chawke in 17th.
Richard Wilson, fourth in practice, forced his way to the front on the first lap of race one and was never headed, but Carl Jones seemed to be relishing the difficult conditions, moved into second place on the third lap and closed to within 0.2 secs at the flag. Rich Baker, Eden, Jones and Ferrari completed the top six.
Wilson did not start in race two and it was instead Baker who took an early lead. Carl Jones again was the main pursuer, on this occasion well clear of his cousin Chris Jones, followed by Ferrari, Eden and young Irish rider Eoin Collins. Eden still leads the championship but only by five points, with the two Jones boys and Baker separated only by two points.
A hotchpotch of machines hit the 100 – 500cc Allcomers grids, ranging from 250cc Moto3 and GP machines, 400cc production bikes, a Supersport 300 bike, a few Classics and more in between. American Brandon Paasch and his 14 years-old FPW British Motostar teammate Jamie Davis belied their lack of experience in such trying conditions and dominated both races. Veteran Jamie O’Brien was third in the first race and in the second race it was 13 years-old Corey Tinker, taking advantage of an opportunity to test ahead of the Motostar season opener, who bagged the final podium spot.
In the Golden Era Supersport races it was Simon Robins who dominated, just as he had done in the Club’s first championship round at Anglesey in March. He won the first race by eight seconds and the second by 11sec. Club champion Tim Bradley had been fastest in practice but sadly an off in the first race put paid to his chances. The beneficiaries were Matthew Stephenson and James Leatham, who had a second apiece while Damian Davis took two thirds.
Reigning 650 Twins Mike Bampton fell in the first race, which enabled his main rival, Manxman Tim Sayers, to take the win ahead of Sam Clews. Sayers repeated his win in race two, but this time Mike Bampton did enough to secure second place, albeit 36sec behind, while Tony Leach and Tommy Hodge split thirds.
The adverse weather conditions caused a number of withdrawals in the Carl Roberts / Emjess Racing Powerbikes class, but race one proved to be a scrap with the ever-consistent Graham Hornby eventually finishing 0.2sec ahead of Leslie O’Connor.
Both newcomers to W100, Stephen Ryan and Anthony Healey had an equally entertaining battle for third place, with the former just coming out on top by 0.5sec. Hornby and Ryan were the top two in the even more miserable conditions in race two, whilst Liam Goodson kept going when others didn’t and secured third. Now in its third year, the Pre-2009/Pre-Electronics Powerbikes category honours were split between Paul Stones and Jon Wright.
The cancellation of the last two races of the day meant that the Forgotten Era, Pre-Injection and Classic bikes only raced once, but it was Wirral 100 newcomers Stephenson and Ian Riley who won the Forgotten Era and Pre-Injection races. Stephen Kennedy’s second place took him to the top of the FE standings, while Jon Wright’s second place in the PI class put him into an already dominant position in that championship.
In the Classic race, Manx Norton-mounted Clews finished an impressive 32sec ahead of Peter Bardell, who managed to hold onto second despite a 10sec jump start penalty. The second race was to have been the David Swallow Memorial but with its postponement, the intention now is that this will be run as part of the Anglesey Grand meeting in October.
Guest racers from the Earlystocks Racing Club shared track-time with the classic bikes and Nicholas Jones won by 16se from Sean Gauchwin, both riders aboard 750 Yamahas.
Wirral 100 racers will head back to their home track at Anglesey late next month for the annual double-header on 22 and 23 June, with action on the Coastal circuit on Saturday ahead of a switch to the International circuit on Sunday.
*Images: Neil Lambert