Wednesday April 13, 2016 at 4:07pm
ACU Team Green Kawasaki Junior Cup / Senior 300s
The second Bemsee round of the 2016 season saw the club head to Donington Park, and also saw the ACU Team Green Junior Cup and Senior 300 series get their season underway after the class missed the opening round at Brands Hatch.
Unfortunately the programme was cut from four races to three, as a series of red flags and delays meant there wasn’t enough time to run a full schedule.
Perhaps it was lucky for the rest of the junior field that it was, too, as Elliot Pinson got his season off in the best way possible, taking all three wins in commanding fashion. He will be the one to watch this year.
After qualifying on pole from a field of 30 riders, Pinson rode a steady but controlled race in the opener, the youngster eventually taking victory by over one and a half seconds ahead of Luke Hopkins. The gap was deceiving though, a mistake from Pinson on the last lap costing him three seconds. However, with third place over 20 seconds adrift, Hopkins looks like he’ll be the one to push Pinson this year, as he set the fastest lap of the race on his way to second place.
Third went to Charlie Farrer after a close race with Graham Haw - who claimed victory in the senior class - and Joey Lambden.
Pinson didn’t look like he was going to have it all his own way on Sunday, as he and Hopkins locked horns in the first race of the day.
Hopkins led the opening laps before relinquishing the lead on lap three. Pinson began to stretch his advantage at the front, before Hopkins crashed out on the penultimate lap, handing the victory to Pinson.
Farrer was promoted to second place, with third going the way of Lambden. The Senior 300 class win went Luke Hopkins’ father, Gareth Hopkins.
The final race again saw Pinson take the win ahead of Farrer, who in turn crossed the line two tenths of a second ahead of Lambden.
The Senior class win went to Nick Ford in sixth, as Gareth Hopkins this time crashed out of contention with a lap to go. Luke Hopkins came from the back of the grid to claim fifth, behind Brandon Payne.
BG Products MRO Powerbikes
After a difficult opening round at Brands Hatch for Peter Baker, the reigning champion got his title aspirations back on track at Donington Park with a double win.
Baker put his Kawasaki ZX-10R on pole position, and was joined on the front row by Daryl Dance and Seb Kelly, the two Yamaha-mounted riders split by eight thousandths of a second.
However, it was Colin Parker who came through from the second row of the grid to take the win in race one, with a last lap move on Baker. After holding the lead in the early laps, Dance claimed third place at the chequered flag.
Christos Bouzoukis took the win in the Clubman class after a close race with Jamie Tibble, the pair finishing eighth and ninth overall.
Baker went one better in the first of Sunday’s races, as he led from start to finish to take his first win of the season. Colin Parker finished second with Michael O’Brien half a second adrift in third. There was misfortune for Dance however, as he crashed out on the opening lap.
In the Clubman class, Tibble’s eighth place finish was enough to earn him win.
It was a four-rider scrap for the win in the third and final race of the weekend, the quartet split by a second at the flag.
Baker took his second win after hitting the front on lap three, but he was pushed to the line by O’Brien, who finished second ahead of Stephen Draper and Parker, while Tibble notched another Clubman class win with 10th place overall.
Team Respro MRO 600s
There were three winners from three races in the Team Respro-backed MRO 600s, with Grant Newstead, Dominic Pettit, and Adam Clarke all standing on the top step of the podium across the weekend.
Newstead was the first to taste victory, the Tinkler’s Motorcycles Yamaha rider leading from start to finish from his second place grid spot in race one.
David Tinkler crossed the line in second place, less than a second behind Newstead but never close enough to really trouble the winner, while Mark Piper took a lonely third place finish and the win in the Clubman class.
Race two saw an impressive Dominic Pettit take the overall race win as well as the honours in the Clubman class. After hitting the front on lap three on the Camclad Contractors Yamaha, he was never headed, and pulled out a gap of over two seconds to take the win.
Behind, Tinkler, Newstead, and Joe Morphett did battle for the remaining podium positions, with Tinkler claiming second place ahead of race one winner, Newstead.
Clarke, who’s best finishing position from the first two races was a sixth place, was the surprise of the weekend, as he stormed to victory in the final race, his margin of victory nearly five and a half seconds.
Clarke took the lead at the halfway point in the race, and from there he put the hammer down to leave the chasing pack behind and take his first win and first podium finish of the weekend.
Newstead and Tinkler were again on the podium in second and third, while fourth and the Clubman class victory went to Pettit.
BMCRC Rookie 1000s
Kyle O’Donovan was the standout rider in the BMCRC Rookie 1000 class, qualifying on pole and taking a hat-trick of race wins.
In Saturday’s race he secured victory with a margin of over four seconds, as Rafal Grzeda and Mick Whalley took second and third.
Sunday’s double-header saw O’Donovan claim two more wins to make it a perfect weekend.
Grazed and Whalley reversed their positions on the podium in the first of Sunday’s encounters, before Justin Bone made it onto the podium in the final race, as he finished in third place, as Whalley took another second placed finish.
BMCRC Rookie 600s
After impressing at the opening round with a brace of victories, Callaghn Edser was back on the top step of the podium at Donington Park, taking a clean-sweep of victories and asserted himself as the title favourite.
However, he was made to work for his 100% weekend, with pole-sitter David Shoubridge pushing him all the way.
It was Shoubridge who led the way in the opening stages of race one, until Edser hit the front at the halfway stage to take his first win of the weekend by a narrow half a second. Callum Hammett took third, but was 13 seconds adrift of the Edser and Shoubridge, the duo easily the class of the field.
Edser’s margin of victory was even narrower in race two, as he and Shoubridge this time crossed the line just three tenths of a second apart, the pair at it hammer-and-tongs throughout the race. Third went the way of Phillip Baker.
Edser’s clean-sweep was complete in the final race, as he again escaped the close attentions of Shoubridge to take another win, the gap between the pair less than a tenth of a second at the chequered flag. Hammett took another third place finish.
DFDS Yamaha Past Masters
Donington Park also played host the opening round of the DFDS Yamaha Past Masters, which had seen a resurgence in grid numbers over the winter.
However, reigning champion Matt Barber picked up from where he left off in 2015, and, despite starting from the back of the grid after a technical problem in qualifying, took the win in the opening race of the season.
After stalking down former BMZRC champion Mark Taylor and returning YPM champion Rik Ballerini, Barber snatched the lead on the final lap, seizing on a mistake from Ballerini, to draw first blood of the season.
Ballerina also lost out to Taylor in the dying moments of the race, as Taylor finished second on his YPM debut with Ballerini third.
The Clubman win went the way of Giles Harwood, who finished ninth overall, while Rookie honours went to Mark Ewens.
It was also a race of attrition too, with last year’s dominant Rookie champion, Scott Grant, crashing when trying to negotiate a back-marker, while Paul Middleton and Malcom Hutcheon came together on the last corner of the last lap.
Barber was again on the top step of the podium in race two, after stalking Ballerini for most of the race. On the penultimate lap he made a move for the lead stick, but was chased to the chequered flag, the gap less than two tenths of a second at the end of the race.
Doug Edmondson bettered Taylor on the second lap to move into third place, and from there was never challenged for the final spot on the podium. Harwood was again leading Clubman, and Middleton came from the back of the grid to take the Rookie win.
Barber was denied a perfect weekend, however, as Edmondson proved he will be in the hunt for the championship this year with a dominant start to finish victory.
The rest of the field could only watch the 14-plated TZR250 disappear into the distance, and were left to do battle behind.
Six seconds after Edmondson crossed the line, Taylor came out on top in the scrap with Barber, the duo second and third, highlighting how hard-fought this year’s championship will be.
Harwood was again the leading Clubman, and Middleton the first of the Rookies across the line.
EDIasia Formula 400s
The EDIasia Formula 400 races looked a forgone conclusion after qualifying, with Andrew Gill a whopping three seconds quicker than anyone else. Unfortunately for him that didn’t transcend into race pace, as he could only muster three second placed finishes over the weekend.
Race one saw Emma Jarman race to a commanding win in tricky conditions. Mastering the damp conditions the best, Jarman lapped three seconds quicker than second placed Gill on the final lap, as she romped to victory by over 10 seconds.
Gary Smith finished third, while Oliver Fooks was the leading Sub-64bhp class runner in fifth place.
Smith went two better in both of Sunday’s races, taking a brace of victories with Gill second on both occasions, while former champion Richie Welsh was third in both races.
Two eighth placed finishes gave Fooks the Sub-64 class win, making it a clean-sweep for the former Kawasaki Junior Cup rider onboard his new Surrey Engineering Plant Services Aprilia.
Adam Hartgrove took two wins in the Rookie 400 class, with Bob Masters taking the other.
FreshDrop BMZRC 250MZs
Peter Woodall picked up from where he left off at the opening round, as he dominated the second round of the FreshDrop BMZRC 250MZ series.
After his hat-trick of wins at Brands Hatch, Woodall took three more wins at Donington Park, and it’s hard to see anyone bettering him for the title this season.
Joe Baldry was the best of the rest in Saturday’s race, as he took second place ahead of Andrew Wales.
Baldry was again on the podium in Sunday’s opener, as he finished third behind Chris Rogers and Woodall, before Woodall completed his perfect weekend in the final race, with Rogers again second and Wales third.
MRO Minitwins (Supported by PropertyProtected)
Richard Hickling and Kurtis Butler are still the only two riders to win a race in the MRO Minitwin series, as the shared the honours at Donington Park.
Hickling closed in on Butler in the early championship chase with a double win, his first coming ahead of Butler and Paul Witherington.
Butler was again second as Hickling led from start to finish to win race two, this time with Tyler Walsh on the podium in third after he lost out to Butler on the final lap in the fight for the runner-up spot.
The third and final race of the weekend saw Butler mount the top step of the podium, as this time he took the chance to lead from flag to flag for win number four of the season.
Hickling finished second with Glynn Davies making it three different third placed finishers from the weekend, which also meant that Butler and Hickling have started to gap the rest of the field in the championship, and it’s becoming an early two-horse race for the title.
In the Rookie classification Daniel Singleton was unstoppable, racing to three commanding wins from three races, for his first victories of the season.
RKB / BMCRC F1 & F2 Sidecars
Donington Park gave the F1 and F2 Sidecar classes their first racing action of 2016, and it proved to be nothing short of a dominant display from the F2 outfit of Lee Crawford and Sam Christie, as they took a hat-trick of overall victories.
The first race looked looked to be a tight affair, with Sean Reeves and Andy Winkle, also on F2 machinery, sat right behind Crawford and Christie for the duration of the race. However, they were never in a position to mount a serious attack, and had to settle for second. Simon Gilbert and Carl Morgan finished third and also completed the F2 podium, with Kev Cable and Harry Payne the leading F1 outfit down in eighth place.
Bruce Munro and Tom Pettman took second place in the F1 class in 11th with Shawn and Anthony Hildige third in class.
If race one was close, race two was anything but, with Crawford and Christie crossing the finish line a full 20 seconds ahead of the chasing pack to take win number two of the weekend.
It was an all-F2 overall podium again, with Wayne Lockey and Mark Sayers taking second place with Gilbert and Morgan back on the rostrum in third.
After a mediocre race one, the Hildige pairing found some form in Sunday’s opener, crossing the line in fourth place overall to take the F1 class win. Wes Pettman and Paul Jeffrey took second in the F1 class with Julian Cole and Lee Edwards third.
Crawford and Christie took another convincing win in the final encounter of the weekend, racing to a comfortable victory on the number zero-plated LCR Suzuki. Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley and Lockey and Sayers made it another all-F2 podium.
Hildige and Hildige took another F1 class win on their LCR Suzuki, with the pairing of Scott and Lee Edwards second and Pettman and Jeffrey third.
BMCRC Thunderbike Extreme
After dominating the opening round at Brands Hatch, Jason Byard was again the man to beat in the Thunderbie Extreme series, as he continued his 100% record at Donington Park.
The series leader qualified on pole, but dropped down to third on the opening lap of race one. After moving into second place as Anthony Copley crashed out, Byard then set about hunting down the race leader, Paul Newman.
At half race distance Byard made a move for the lead, and went on to take the win ahead of Newman. Thomas Kiy impressed with third place, as he also took the Rookie win.
From there however, it was a more comfortable weekend for Byard, who cruised to two more wins to assert his dominance on the championship.
A technical problem for Newman, the only rider who looked capable of challenging Byard, forced him to retire, allowing Byard to ease to victory in race two, with David Abraham and Kiy on the podium in second and third.
That podium repeated itself in the final outing of the weekend, as Kiy wrapped up three wins in the Rookie class.
BMCRC Thunderbike Sport (supported by Steve Jordan Motorcycles)
Mark Trowell scored a brace of wins in the Thunderbike Sport class at round two of the series, with Andrew Gill taking the other available win from the weekend.
Gill was the victor in the opening race after a fantastic charge through the pack from his 17th place grid spot.
After the opening lap Gill was up to seventh, and from there carefully and calculatedly picked off his rivals in front, progressing up third place with two laps to go. A lap later he was second and on the last lap he made his move for the lead, and held the advantage to take 25 championship points.
Trowell started his weekend with a second placed finish, with Jake Povah completing the podium. Benjamin Rowswell was the leading Rookie across the line in 21st place.
The top three in race one were again the main protagonists at the front again in race two, as a second and a half covered them at the flag.
Trowell managed to hold the lead throughout the race, but it was behind where the action was, as Povah, Gill and Steve Costin battled for the podium.
Positions changed readily, but with two laps to go Povah went from fourth to second, while Gill went from second to third and Costin, unfortunately for him, from third to fourth, in an exciting and hard-fought race.
Trowell’s second race win was a far more comfortable affair, as he built up a lead of nearly six seconds to take victory.
After missing out on the podium in the earlier race, Costin worked hard to slot into a comfortable second place, and held the position to the chequered flag, while Paul Witherington bested Povah on the last lap to snatch third place.