New club class lap records were set in all bar two classes at a sun-drenched Donington Park. It was only Peter Baker’s Powerbike and Dale Thomas’s Mini Twins times that survived after the perfect racing weekend, although the Superbike riders complained that Saturdays humid air was sapping them of top end bhp. Despite this there was an amazing new outright NG Club lap record at 1min 10.29 (100.23mph) set by Opus/Brabus ZX10 Kawasaki man Deane Brown.
Such was the pace of the leading bunch of Phoenix Open runners Brown’s lap record speed was only just enough to see him finish third as Rapid Solicitors MWR Racing teamster Mike Booth gave himself an early birthday treat. Just two days before turning 24 Booth won all three Phoenix Open races dictating the pace from the front each time despite attacks left right and centre from Dean Browne, Phil Bevan, Tom Fisher, Chris Barnes, Deane Brown, Bradley Hughes and Dale Thomas. All three Open races were like open warfare up front but Booth took three hard fought narrow wins. NG Open Champ came closest to spoiling Booth’s birthday party as he tracked The BSB Superstock runner in Saturday’s race right to the flag.
Deane Browne the 21 year old Scotsman with world championship and Red Bull Rookies Moto GP series experience consistently banged in the fastest laps but with everyone so evenly matched, he had to settle for a brace of podiums…. but that stunning 100.23mph lap was some reward as he prepares for the next BSB round.
Despite Booth’s dominance in the longer Phoenix Open races he had to settle for the lower steps of the podium in the shorter Simon Consulting Powerbike races as reigning champ Phil Bevan and Deane (….not Dean !!!) Brown took a win each.
This weekend also saw the ACU / FSRA British F2 championships and a packed grid of chairs. Series leader Conrad Harrison/Lee Patterson and habitual race winners Ian and Carl Bell both retired but that took nothing away from Sean Reeves and Mark Wilkes who took their maiden 2014 series win on Saturday, then repeated that performance on Sunday on their Reeves Water Services LCR Suzuki
Simon Say’s “…injury…..what injury ?”
Just 5 weeks after breaking his collarbone Simon O’Donnell came away from Donington with two wins…maximum points…a new lap record…and closed right in on series leader Richard Hughes in the Metzeler/DTR 1300 Streetstock Championship table. O’Donnell struggles to get his S1000RR off the line due to the in built electronics, but his job was made easier on Saturday due to Hughes failing to finish the qualifier after tipping off his Honda as he forced for the race win…..this meant a back row start !!!!. The exuberant young Welshman cut through to be right with O’Donnell…..the gap at the flag was an agonising 0.1 of a second !!. Sunday saw the pair start side by side on the front row, but again O’Donnell and his big BM held off Hughes for a slender win. In the 700cc category Eddie Whitehurst and Tom Vear shared a win apiece, which was a fair outcome as there was nothing to choose between them all weekend.
Cookson and Thomas keep their heads to win.
Welsh sidecar pairing of Mike Cookson and Alun Thomas took two hard-fought wins and a new F2 Club class lap record in the CSC Racing Sidecar series. The experienced pair on their Ireson Honda soaked up pressure from reigning NG champs Tom and Thomas Quaye, and Lee Crawford and Stuart Ramsey in both finals. Saturday’s race had the three pairings separated by just 0.3 of a second at the line after 8 hectic laps.
Crawford/Ramsey though had lead both races right up until the latter stages, but vital race changing mistakes at important times meant that a grinning Cookson with Thomas in the chair took the flag first keeping their heads as their rivals made the mistakes. For their efforts they were chosen for the Jay Russell Sidecar performance award. The rest of the action in brief...
Liam Delves was once more dominant in the F125, heading home Cameron Horsman in each race, whist Mark Clayton was again in stunning form on his 125GP Honda bettering Arnie Shelton’s lap record on his way to another 100% win weekend. Sam Edwards with his AP Broome was top GP45 and also featured in the 500 Open races that saw wins for Stephanie Waddelow, having an outing on Phil Atkinson’s TZ250, and Mark Strudwick. Daniel Tilley bagged another pair of 400 Streetstock wins.
Simon Low is now showing his class in the Mini Twins class after a pair of hard fought wins over Paul Wardell and Joe Ravescroft. David Carson and Kevin Davies topped the Super Twins, but Phil Atkinson was unbeaten in the Sound of Thunder on his 675 over Sam Middlemas and Darren Rumley who was suffering gearbox issues on his KTM.
Keenan Armstrong and Dale Thomas claiming a win apiece in the 600 open….it could have been to for Armstrong but for a forced put lane start after the team had failed to re fuel the bike….ooops!
Rookie, Thomas Payne and Mike Hobbs shared the spoils in the 1300 Pre Injections whist in the 700 class Chris Hobbs and Phil Webber grabbed a win each.
Stuart Hallam, Aaron Silvester and Daniel Tilley headed their respective Newcomers races home.
Performance of the meeting.... Simon Gates
Simon Gates was a well deserved and popular winner of the Performance of the Meeting Award, after two wins and a new lap record on his GNG Racing / RD Engineering ZXR400 Kawasaki in the F400 class. Simon is one of the quite men in the paddock and his career started more years ago than he probably care to remember now, and has including clashing handlebars with British championship runners back in the 1990’s in the British Super Cup 400 Supersport series.
Although Simon isn’t able to commit to string a full season together now, when he does come out he proves that he is still quick.
This weekend he said that he felt that “……it was the best he had ridden since 2005”……and boy did he look happy when he crossed the line.
This meetings special award winners…
Performance of the meeting Simon Gates
Bardahl Newcomer of the meeting Thomas Payne
250 GP Dunlop performance tyre winner Adam Hoare (Saturday) – Philip Atkinson (Sunday)
Streetstock Metzeler performance tyre winner Adam Grosch (Saturday) – Rob Bowen (Sunday)
Jay Russell – Jay Care Sidecar Performance Award Mike Cookson/Alun Thomas Russ Gardner