Magnificent seven for Day to kick off the year
28 year old Josh Day has made no secret of the fact that he is out to retain the NG Phoenix Open title. He even has a new ZX10 at his disposal that is being run in stock trim supplied by Kendrick and Spalding, with a host of other backers helping along the way. Despite this, pennies are still tight and this weekend saw Josh on Bridgestone’s for the first time….. the reason…. The are £100 pounds cheaper per set that his old tyres!!!.
Josh took all three Open finals, but Jonathan Railton pushed him all the way in the opening outing. The pair swapped places during the early laps but Railton got the rough end of the backmarkers on his 959 Panigale, and was only half a dozen bike lengths adrift at the flag. Peter Carr had an impressive first outing on his new ZX10 to take third ahead of Max Symonds who was first of the 600’s. In the second and third outings on Sunday Railton was a no-show saving his efforts for the Sound of Thunder, so Daniel Cooper and Max Symonds shared the podium positions. Jordan Gilbert put in a spirited ride on his new R6 to take fourth on Sunday morning just ahead of Michael Blank who now looks at home on his R1 Yamaha improving from sixth to fifth to fourth over the weekend. Chris Pope too on his AFB R1 had a smile on his face with three finished inside the top ten and some good early season points.
The Powerbike saw Day out again but this time had 22 year old ex-Triumph Triple champ Chrissy Rouse to contend with on his new Mission Racing BMW. The pair were in a class of their own and such was the level of competition both Josh and Chrissy went underneath the old class lap record, with Day eventually setting a stunning 47.2 second lap to set new Outright NG figures at Brands. Peter Carr again had a great ride to third just ahead of Michael Blank and David Irons on his trusty 1198 Ducati. Carr looked like he would challenge again in the afternoon but a crash damaged the throttle mechanism on his Kawasaki’s bar and no parts could be found to fix it…. He was gutted!!. Again Michael Blank got better and better on his ever improving Foxcote Fire Systems R1 to take fourth and third. One man missing from the Powerbike grid was defending champion Roo Cotton. The race transporter packed up on Thursday and he had no way of getting to the circuit, putting his on the back foot already.
Day, the former National Superstock Champion was happy that he was able to prove once more that a place back on the BSB grid would be well deserved as he started the season with maximum point in both his target classes. 250GP and 125GP ACU National Championship.
There is a change of format for this years 125 and 250GP ACU National championships. After consultation with the riders there is still a long race on Saturday, but Sunday now sees a sprint race and a long race.
This meeting saw a host of British Hel Performance Moto 3 runners using the weekend as valuable track time, and it was Elliot Lodge that took pole in timed qualifying over Tom Booth-Amos. Booth-Amos was not able to show us his potential in the races though as his 250 KTM expired in race one, a race that was won in fine style by Jake Archer on his City Lifting KTM. Pole man Elliot Lodge took second ahead of reigning champ Phil Atkinson on the first of the two-strokes. Sundays sprint races saw no Archer on the grid and that left Atkinson and Lodge to fight it out for the win. Atkinson’s Declan’s TZ had a slight edge top end, but Lodge and his Spike Racing KTM had the mid corner speed. In a close battle Atkinson took it by two bike lengths at the flag. Two other former 250 champions Ant Hodson and Dan Jackson came through third and fourth and Gary Vines in fifth.
In the longer race in the afternoon the result was exactly the same for the top five. So Atkinson who is not only racing the TZ this year but a Tigcraft 690 Single…a classic two stoke….a Panigale at BSB and an old 50cc is going to very busy but left Brands leading the championship.
Gareth Willis took Saturday’s NG Cup win but Simon Hunt took maximum points on Sunday on his new-to-him TZ. The fight for NG Championship points is underway.
The hugely popular Formula Prostock series is now a full time fixture at NG under the guidance of series co-ordinator Keith Chambers. Over the winter the classes has been simplified to the FP1 Suzuki Bandit Challenge and the FP2 pre 1987 Production Prostocks. All rounds score points so a massive 100 points was up for grabs this weekend and FP2 new boy Phil Webber wheeled out his winter purchase of a GSX-R 750 Suzuki stunning the class regulars with four wins from four starts and a new class lap record. He is going to hard to beat. It was similar story with the Bandits as Glyn Nicholls took all four on his 600 Suzuki, but newcomer James McHardy kept him on his toes as the orange jacketed rider bagged each of the runner up spots with Mike Pennell, Keith Chambers and John Ward in supporting cast.
The Ducati Desmo Dues are another growing popular class with Kevin Ellis at the helm. This weekend saw 2014 champion Matthew Lawson return to the series after sitting out 2016, and made an immediate impact taking a full compliment of wins as Martin Cox, Andy Blomfield and Duncan Baillie could not match the self monikered “Awesome” Lawson for 620cc A class honours. Blomfield the reigning champion had his chain jump off the sprocket in one outing forcing min to start from the back of the grid making it a tough start to his defence. Jack Younge was unbeaten in the 600cc B class each time with winning margin of over 30 seconds over the chasing James Robinson.
Tom Booth-Amos on his KTM Moto3 250 took Saturdays 500 Open over Eugene McManus and Jake Archer, but as the weekend unfolded both Tom and Eugene had bike failures, and with Jake only in attendance on Saturday that left the way open for a different front runner on Sunday. Step forward the European Supermono champion Jerry Van der Bunt on his immaculate 450 Rotax to take the 25 points. Current class champion Dave Hampton had fourth and fifth placings…knowing that the Moto3’s are not going to follow the full NG series. Van der Bunt was also out in the new NG Supermono series, but it was Phil Atkinson who took the wins on his 690 Tigcraft over Van der Bunt and Dave Hampton.
Paul Wardell started his Mini Twins campaign is fine style on the Bee Lighting SV with two hard-fought, narrow-margin victories over Jake Dettloff and William Holland. Holland was not be denied in the Super Twins though as he took both wins there albeit with Jake Dettloff and Daryl Hodder right up the tails pipes of his 650 JHS Gladius. Holland would have a much easier time of the racing if he could get his starts sorted….. however if does provide us with great viewing seeing him cut through to the leaders!!.
The National Ducati Tri-Options runners were out in force for the Sound of Thunder with their new 959 Panigale’s. Sean Neary got the better of Jonathan Railton and Sam Middlemas on Saturday, but Railton upped his game on Sunday to take it over Middlemas and Nicky Wilson in what turned out to be a Ducati benefit, with the first of the Triumph 675’s being Alistair Haynes with eighth and tenth placings…..
Defending Pre Injection champ Jon Wright starting his campaign off in winning style as well as taking a new class lap record, with wins over Liam Turberfield (who only picked his bike up on Friday on the way to the circuit!!) and class new-boy, and long time F400 runner Tim Bradley who was out for the first time on his CBR600. Paul Harlington and John Goulding shared honours in the 1300 Pre Injection with AFB runners Paul Dyer and Thomas Payne taking runner up spots. Payne runs in AFB colours but is grateful to BAS Assessors for the budget to keep him racing.
In the Streetstock classes it was a double wins for both Ciaran Bligh in the 1300 class on his R1, back after a year out, and Simon Bastable in the 600’s on his R1. Bastable headed Adam Grosch and Leif Williams both outings, with Blight taking the scalp of current class champ Paul Jeffery and the entertaining Mark Dangerfield.
Max Symonds has been around the NG paddocks for many years dating way back when his Dad Joe was racing. But Max riding the Adam and Haylee Jeffery ZX6R showed who is the man in the garage this weekend with a stunning win on Saturday over ex-125 British Champion Daniel Cooper on his brand new Ten Kate CBR and BSB Superstock podium man Sam Thompson. Cooper on the Ruby Site Services CBR wanted revenge on Sunday and despite not having the special tools needed to adjust the Hondas suspension he and Max and with Sam who was now looking happy with his new ZX6R squabbled over track position until they eventually ran out of laps. Cooper got the better of the lapped traffic to take the win on the bike he saw for the first time on Friday.
The F125 was a bit thin on the ground this weekend with only James Chapman on the 125 Cagiva Mito getting to the flag.
Mark Taylor was head and shoulders above the rest in the Two Stroke GP class on his TZ250 taking the wins over Mark Olding each time, and but a margin of over 30 seconds…. No one had a answer to the flying yellow TZ!!.
F400’s are still hanging in there as a class despite the fact that the bikes are all now well over 20 years old and Mark Thompson took Saturdays win on his Flintstone Tyres/David Simon ZXR400. At the flag Aaron Ridewood was right on his case after stating from the back of the grid after his ZXR boiled over on the line for qualifying. Ridewood made no mistakes on Sunday to take his ZXR to the win…not bad as he was making his racing return after being away from the competition for over 5 years !.
The Newcomers classes run at all NG’s two-day meetings and there are three divisions. Luke Bailey took the open class on his ZX10 over Kayla Barrington on her 675 with just 0.2 of a second between them at the line. Tom Harrison on his ZXR400 was well clear in the 500 class over Steve Colville, and Michael Rees got the better of Sam James in the Mini Twins. Testing times for Sidecars.
Local Maidstone crew Matthew MacLaurin and Adrian Hope qualified their LCR on pole and took a comfortable win (…and got some valuable testing in) on Saturday over Kev Cable/Guy Pawsey. But the local men went home over night to ready the outfit for the first national sidecar round at Donington. That allowed Sean Hegarty and James Neave who were having an early outing on their CBR600 F2 outfit to up their testing pace and take the win over the Open 1000cc outfits on Sunday. Current NG champs Nev Jones/Tom Bryant had a weekend to forget as they left Brands hatch with no points on the board with two dnf’s….back to the garage boys. Words: Russ Gardner
- NG Road Racing Media Officer Images: EDP Photo News
Web Info: www.ngroadracing.org Next Round: Oulton Park | Saturday 8th April.