AFTER 18 months away, Wirral 100 riders finally got back on track this Saturday as the club rolled into Oulton Park.
And with plenty of double-winners on hand making strong starts to their title bids, as well as guest classes on hand, it was all action in Cheshire.
The pre-race favourite in the Carl Roberts / Emjess Racing Powerbikes class was the Thundersport champion Lee Williams from Liverpool and he did not disappoint.
A clear two secs faster than the rest of the field in practice, he won the first race by 10sec and the second by 13sec, chased home each time by W100 newbie David Brook and David Jones, getting some mileage under his belt prior to his Ducati TriOptions campaign. Mathew Waldron, Richie Thornton and Nathan Harrison followed them home in both races.
Now in its fourth year, the Pre-2009/Pre-Electronics Powerbikes class was dominated by Tim Poole (Ducati) from nearby Northwich ahead of two other highly experienced racers, Steve Jones and Jon Wright.
The AS Racing Formula 600 class was similar to the Powerbikes, with one rider dominating, and some great racing behind him. Joe Talbot finished seventh in the National Superstock 600 series in 2020, and his talent showed with his two comfortable wins.
The battles for second place heated up with Manx GP winner Nathan Harrison taking it from regular W100 winner Adrian Kershaw in the first race, as the positions reversed in the second . Chris Eden and Chris Jones swapped fourth and fifth positions, with Ben Rea taking two sixths.
There was a wonderful hotchpotch of machines on the grid in the 100-500cc Allcomers races, ranging from 125cc GP, 250cc GP & Moto3 machines, 400cc production bikes old and new, and even a few Classics.
Won two years ago by then-18-year-old Brandon Paasch, who went on to win the British Motostar championship that year, this season’s double winner was the experienced Chris Moore (250 Yamaha) and whilst he is unlikely to have the same meteoric rise as Paasch, he still impressed with the first race win by nine seconds and the second by three.
Kershaw bagged a second and a third, as teen Osian Jones took a third and a fourth ahead of his British Junior Supersport assaut.
Meanwhile, former TT man and UK Clubsport’s tech whiz Ian Mackman also emerged from retirement on his immaculate 250 Aprilia to snag a sixth and ninth in his return to action.
In the Creation Campers Golden Era Supersport races, there was a mix of fortunes as two welcome newcomers took top spots in Paul Sommerville and practice front-runner Jordan Bridge, who made it a one-two in race one ahead of Martin Clare and Craig Makin. However, the top two both had DNFs in race two, which was comfortably won by Clare ahead of James Leatham and Leon Donachy.
In the 650 Twins opener, Sean Seddon proved that his top spot in practice was no fluke by taking the win two seconds clear of Mike Bampton, who is seeking to win the W100 championship for the fourth time in a row, with Craig Kelly in third. But Seddon did not appear in race two and it was back to normal with Bampton taking a nine-second win ahead of the Evans brothers Liam and David.
The club had been encouraged to introduce a class for 1000cc Twins and whilst the entry this time was very modest, two riders dominated. Tim Poole (Ducati) won the first race by 15secs from Nick Williamson (Honda), but the gap between the two was only 0.3secs in the second.
The Pre-Injection prediction was that Bampton (750 Kawasaki) would take some beating and while he was fastest in practice, machine gremlins got in the way. Both wins went to Andy Sailor (750 Kawasaki), the first by a dominant 26secs and the second by 16secs. And it was a family affair with Jake (600 Yam) following his Dad home with two seconds, whilst Matthew Miller (1000 Yamaha) and David Greenwood (750 Suzuki) shared thirds.
The Forgotten Era races were blasts from the past as multiple W100 champion Tim Bradley was back to normal on his 400 Yam with impressive wins in both races. Former club champion Tim Kermode returned to racing and took a solid second place in race one ahead of Colin Sleigh, whilst a different regular duo, Tim Sayers and Adrian Morris, took the podium spots in race two.
The feature race for the W100 Classic riders was the David Swallow Memorial Race. Richard Molnar (Molnar Manx) had been fastest in practice and led for six laps from Mark Cronshaw (Unity BSA) but on the last lap Cronshaw nipped ahead to win by a mere 0.3secs.
Alan Oversby was the fastest of the Japanese four-cylinder bikes in third place, ahead of Harley Rushton, David Tetley and Sam Clews.
The awards presentation in parc ferme, involving all of the riders and dad Bill, was a fitting tribute to the Swallow family and, in particular, to David’s memory. Later on in the second Classic race, Cronshaw claimed a 14sec win from Molnar, with Rushton third.
On hand as a guest class, the GP Originals series’ 350cc class was dominated by highly-experienced South African rider and reigning champ Phil Atkinson, who picked up where here he left off in 2019, winning both races by comfortable margins.
Glen English and Ant Hart were second and third in race one, while Ant Hart moved up a place in race two ahead of Moore.
In the 250cc category the race one win was taken by Nigel Palmer from Jamie O’Brien and Colin Sleigh, but it was all change in race two with Phil Stead taking the win from Gary Vines with Palmer third.
Shortly following the funeral of sidecar legend Dave Holden, who arguably won more sidecar races at Oulton Park than any other driver, one of the late outfit ace’s proteges, Lewis Blackstock and Pat Rosney took the opening W100 Open Sidecar win from the unrelated former TT winner John Holden, with Jason Pitt alongside, followed by Simon Robinson and Mick Fairhurst.
The Holden / Pitt duo won race two from Sam and Adam Christie, with George Holden and Oscar Lawrence in third place.