Thursday June 2, 2016 at 12:07pm
BG Products MRO Powerbikes
Michael O’Brien fought off competition from Stephen Draper early in the weekend to take three wins from four attempts at Snetterton in the BG Products MRO Powerbikes. The Yamaha R1-mounted rider qualified on pole, but with Draper alongside him on the front row, the opening race promised to be close. Draper hit the front on the first lap, pulling out a gap of nearly a second on his Kawasaki as O’Brien gave chase. Setting a string of quick lap times, including the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap, he put himself on the back wheel of Draper, as the race culminated in a drag to the line.
Just four hundredths of a second split the pair as they took the chequered flag, with Draper taking the win and O’Brien second. The three-way fight for the final podium position saw Peter Baker chased by Colin Parker and John Butler. Baker held third for the duration of the race, but was pushed hard by Parker and Butler. Butler initially sat behind Baker, looking for a way to better the reigning champion and take the final spot on the podium, however, Parker had other ideas, and moved passed Butler into fourth place at the halfway stage. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t find a way to put enough pressure on Baker, and had to settle for fourth as Baker finished third.
The second race of the weekend again manifested itself into a two-horse race, as O’Brien and Draper battled for supremacy. Draper again hit the front as the red lights went out, but this time could not pull out the early advantage that held in such good stead in race one. Instead, O’Brien latched onto Draper’s rear wheel, the pair matching each other’s lap times as they pulled away from the chasing field. Draper held the lead until the halfway stage, when O’Brien made a move and hit the front. From there he pulled out a gap on Draper, eventually taking the win by over one and a half seconds.
Butler and Baker were also again embroiled in a battle for the final podium position. Baker held third in the opening stages, but was passed by Butler on the second lap. From there, they kept it close, but gap between them three tenths of a second as the chequered flag came out. There was also just a tenth of a second between fourth and fifth, as Phil Seton bettered Colin Parker on the last lap. In the Clubman class, Jamie Tibble bagged both wins.
O’Brien had an easier time of it when racing resumed on Sunday, as a titanic battle for second allowed him to escape at the front and cruise to victory with a winning margin of eight seconds. Behind, the four riders from second to fifth were covered by just over a second, and the order shuffled constantly.
Seton snatched second place early on, but dropped to fourth before crashing out on lap five. Butler then moved into the runner-up spot, Baker rose as high as fourth, but finished in fifth place, as Draper pushed through from fifth to third, before finishing fourth. The occupier of the final spot on the podium was Parker, who battled his way forward from sixth on the opening lap to third at the chequered flag.
O’Brien took the win in the final race of the weekend, riding another lonely race to take victory by five seconds ahead of Butler, who in turn finished three and a half seconds ahead of Baker. A pair of eighth placed finishes gave Tibble two more Clubman class wins, making it a dominant weekend for the Club70 Kawasaki rider.
BMCRC Rookie 1000s
Kyle O’Donovan was in dominant form in the Bemsee Rookie 1000 class at Snetterton, taking all four wins onboard his Yamaha R1. It looked like he would be made to work for his wins all weekend, with the opening race wide open. James Chorlton led the way in the opening laps, as O’Donovan worked his way forward from further down the order, eventually taking the lead at the halfway stage. Rafal Grzeda, who held second position and chased after Chorlton, was also eventually overhauled, and as he and Chorlton slipped backwards, Whalley was also making progress.
Whalley moved into second position on the penultimate lap, setting the fastest lap of the race along the way and pushing Mariusz Siemieniuk-Juzwiuk back to third in the process and immediately gapping him. He chased down O’Donovan but could only chase him across the line, as O’Donovan took the win with Whalley six tenths further back in second. Siemieniuk-Juzwiuk relinquished third place on the last lap, as Justin Bone snatched the final podium position.
The second race ran a little smoother for O’Donovan, as he took off at the front, pulling a gap of over two seconds on lap one, before crossing the line over five seconds ahead of the rest of the field. The battle was a little closer behind, as just over half a second covered the three riders fighting for the remaining two podium. A last lap move saw Siemieniuk-Juzwiuk take second, with Bone bettering Whalley for third.
O’Donovan was just as comfortable in Sunday’s races, taking the win in the day’s red-flagged opener by over three seconds, from Siemieniuk-Juzwiuk and Grzeda, while his win in the final race saw him finish ahead of Grzeda and Bone.
Team Respro MRO 600s
Grant Newstead took four wins from four races in the Team Respro MRO 600s, but he was kept honest by a hard-charging David Tinkler, who claimed four second placed finishes. The margin of victory in the opening race was the closest, as the pair streaked across the line, split by just a tenth of a second. Less than half a second covered the podium, as Joe Morphett took third. Ross McLurg’s excellent fifth place handed him the Clubman class win.
Race two was a more sedate affair, albeit only at the very front, as Newstead took the win by a second and a half. Tinkler’s pace for second meant Newstead couldn’t let up, but he was able to keep himself out front and take another win. Michael Hall took a lonely third. The battle for fourth, however, was an altogether different tale, as four riders took the chequered flag split by just a second. It went the way of Burrage, who saw of McLurg, who himself took another Clubman win.
Michael Hall was again third in Sunday’s opener, as Newstead and Tinker took first and second, before pole-sitter Joe Morphett eventually made it onto the podium with a third place in the final race, again behind Newstead and Tinkler. Dominic Pettit and Hayden Platton split the wins in the Clubman category.
BMCRC Rookie 600s
There was more dominance in the Bemsee Rookie 600 class, as Callaghn Edser bagged four wins. His nearest title challenger, David Shoubridge, took three second place finishes, but a mistake on the opening lap of race two saw him drop to the back of the field. He recovered to 12th.
Tom Newman was third in the opening race, and finished second in race two, with Callum Hammett completing the podium. Newman and Hammett then took a third place finish apiece on Sunday.
ProperlyProtected MRO Minitwins
It started out as the weekend of the returnees in the ProperlyProtected.co.uk MRO Minitwin series, as former champion Grant Robertson set pole. After missing last season, the 2014 champion had been building up steadily since the start of the season, and it finally felt like a return to form.
Unfortunately, after a bright start that saw him hold second on the opening lap, he crashed out of third on lap three. Out front, Richard Hickling was leading the way, until he dropped from contention at the midway point, handing the lead and ultimately the victory to another Bemsee and MRO Minitwin returnee, Charlie King. Glynn Davies finished second with James Plummer third.
Race two was nothing short of remarkable for Hickling. After starting from the back of the grid, he crossed the line at the end of lap one in ninth place. He then moved himself into second place, and with two laps to go was a second behind race-leader, King. Two blistering laps, including the fastest lap of the race on the final lap, saw him overhaul King and take the win, swinging the gap full from a second deficit to victory by the same margin. King was second with Plummer third.
The podium repeated itself in race three, as King pushed hard but could never better Hickling out front, while in the final race Hickling again took the win ahead of King, as Davies made it back onto the podium in third.
BMCRC Rookie Minitwins
In the Rookie class, Daniel Singleton was in a class of his own, the victor in all four races with nobody able to match the lap times he was able to post around the Snetterton 300 circuit. Thomas Watson and Steven Edwards joined him on the podium in race one, before Richard Tyrer came out on top in a three-rider fight for second in race two, bettering Edwards who took another podium finish in third.
Marc Cunningham took his first podium finish of the weekend with a second place in race three, crossing the line ahead of Kaine Sheriff, who denied Edwards a third straight finish on the bottom step of the rostrum. Cunningham was back on the podium in the final race, as he finished second behind the dominant Singleton, while Edwards was also back in the top three in third.
DFDS Yamaha Past Masters
The lap times were blistering in the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters series, as the weekend’s action was a showcase of the talents of reigning champion Matt Barber, and reigning BMZRC 250 MZ champion, Mark Taylor, as the rivalry and battle for the 2016 championship kicked up a gear.
The racing was fierce and it was first blood to the series’ newcomer, as Taylor set pole and raced to victory in the weekend’s opener. Barber crossed the line in second place, while a lonely ride for the reigning YPM Rookie champion saw him take third place. Marc Prentice took the Clubman class honours, while the Rookie spoils went to Paul Middleton.
Barber retaliated in race two, smashing the lap record with a 2:11 flat on his way to victory. Taylor finished second, with Doug Edmondson bettering Grant in a drag race to the line to finish third. Giles Harwood’s fifth place gave him the Clubman win, while Middleton bagged another 25 points in the Rookie class. Disaster struck for Barber in Sunday’s opening race, as a DNF saw him drop 25 points to his rival, as Taylor took his second win of the weekend.
Barber’s demise meant Edmondson and Grant’s duel became the fight for second place, a fight that was decided by less than a tenth of a second in Edmondson’s favour. Harwood fended off Andy Davies for fourth and another Clubman win, while Middleton made it three from three in the Rookie classification. Taylor’s win in the final race saw him complete his hat-trick, as Barber recovered from the back of the grid to second place, but surrendered another five points to Taylor. Harwood took another Clubman victory with a spectacular third place overall. Middleton also completed a dominant weekend for himself, as he added another 25 points towards his challenge for the Rookie crown.
ACU Team Green Junior Cup / Senior 300s
Elliot Pinson and Luke Hopkins looked to be the class of the field in the ACU Team Green Junior Cup at Snetterton, as the weekend started with Pinson setting pole, before Hopkins took the win in the opener. Joey Lambden was second, after a last lap move on Pinson bumped him back to third place ahead of Charlie Farrer. Steve Jordan crossed the line in fifth place to take the win in the Senior class.
Race two and Pinson was back to his previous best, following Hopkins for the opening half of the race before making a move on the penultimate lap to take the lead, before taking the win by three tenths of a second. Hopkins was second, with Farrer on the podium in third. Jordan was again the victor in the Seniors.
Hopkins weekend took a turn as he crashed out of the lead on the last lap of the opening race on Sunday, handing the win to Pinson, his second of the weekend. A three-way scrap for third became the battle for second, with Farrer claiming it ahead of Patrick Byrne. Steve Jordan made it three wins from three, as the first Senior 300 runner across the line.
In the final race of the weekend the top four were split by just over half a second, as everyone upped their game. No one more so than Farrer, as he took his first win of the weekend. After leading in the opening stages he was nudged back to second by Lambden, but regained the lead on the last lap to take victory.
Lambden was second, while Brandon Payne finished third ahead of Pinson. Hopkins progressed from the back of the grid to finish fifth, passing his dad along the way, who took the win in the Senior 300s with a seventh place.
Chilton Motors BMZRC 250
Peter Woodall took three wins in the BMZRC MZ250 races, with new series sponsors Chilton Motors now onboard. Woodall qualified on pole position, and held off the attentions of former champion Chris Rogers in race one, the pair just two tenths of a second apart at the chequered flag. Greg Wright finished third.
Rogers went one better in race two, with Woodall unable to live with the lap times he was posting. By the time the chequered flag came out Rogers advantage was over 16 seconds. Woodall was second, with Andrew Wales this time on the podium in third.
A red flag incident in the first race on Sunday kept Rogers out of the final classification, the former champion a non-starter in the re-run. Woodall added another victory to his tally, as he escaped the battling Greg Wright and Robert Dessoy, who finished second and third respectively.
The final race again went to Woodall, as he made it three wins from the weekend’s action. Rogers charged through from the back of the grid to finish second, as Wright was again on the podium in third.
RKB-F1 and BMCRC F2 Sidecars
Ben Bygrave and Justin Sharp dominated in three of the four races at Snetterton in their LCR Suzuki F1 outfit, cruising to three wins with the smallest margin of victory 20 seconds, the largest just shy of 29 seconds.
The win in the opening race came ahead of Gary Smith and Ryan Anderson and Shawn and Anthony Hildige. The leading F2 outfit was Brian Ilaria and Lee Saunders, the pair coming out on top in the battle for fourth place overall.
Race two and the margin of victory increased by a second to 21, although the podium was a repeat of the opening encounter. Ilaria and Saunders’ fourth place again handed them the F2 class win.
Bygrave and Sharp bagged their third win of the weekend in Sunday’s opening encounter, as a 28.711 second advantage handed them their hat-trick of victories. It again came ahead of the Smith and Anderson pairing, with the Hildige duo third. Ilaria and Saunders picked up another F2 in in fifth place.
The final race of the weekend saw Bygrave and Sharp absent from the grid. However, the winning margin was no smaller, as the pairing of Sean Hegarty and James Neave recovered from a DNF in the earlier race to take the win by nearly 21 seconds onboard their Suzuki LCR F1 machine. Smith and Anderson were again second and Hildige and Hildige were third. The F2 win again went the way of Iliaria and Saunders, making it four wins from four attempts from the weekend.