Auto 66 Racing welcomed huge crowds to the Mount last weekend, for the 2017 Bob Smith Spring Cup. The weekend also marked the first rounds of the UK Road and Track Race Series, the Super 2 Sidecar Masters and the TT Classic Superbike Series.
Overnight rain brought a damp start to proceedings on the Saturday, so tyre choice was crucial for all our riders throughout practice and qualifying. Some competitors achieved great results whilst out on track throughout the morning, with 136 Callum Ward achieving his best qualifying position of 8th in class and 10th overall in the Junior Evens. 169 Andy Hayes also had a great time whilst qualifying, achieving his first time in the A final with a great lap of 2:01:54. As usual, the early damp conditions did not phase 104 Daley Mathison, who flew through qualifying, achieving a best lap of 1:54:70, putting him in pole position for the Junior Race. Out for the first time on the Silicone Racing ZX6R 600, Dean Harrison was also putting in some decent lap times, alongside Senior Manx GP winner Tom Weeden and Oliver’s Mount famous face Mark Goodings.
The F2 sidecars were also out in force, putting in some great qualifying times. Outfit 69 is definitely worth keeping an eye on over the weekend, with rider Greg Lambert and passenger Julie Canipa, following their success at Brands Hatch last weekend! Practice and qualifying was slightly held up for our three-wheeled machines however, due to a slight issue involving an oil spillage on the track just leading into Farm Bends.
Race 1 – Junior A final
After a damp qualifying session, most riders seemed to be on slicks for the first race of the day on a dry track. Due to the overwhelming number of juniors entered this weekend, we opened the afternoon’s racing with the Junior A race for those achieving the fastest times in qualifying. Dean Harrison was on top form; however, the race was red-flagged two laps in due to an incident on Mountside. With all riders up and on their feet, the race was soon re-started with Harrison back off to a flying start, taking the first chequered flag of the day on his Kawasaki ZX6R. Daley Mathison was close behind on his Suzuki GSXR, with Dan Hegarty in a close third, his first race up on the Mount as part of Top Gun Racing.
2. Junior B Final
Running slightly behind schedule, the junior B race kicked off at 15:40 with another Harrison taking a swift lead. Adrian had a great race on his Triumph Daytona 675, finishing in first place. Local lad, Owen Graves, took second place on his Honda CBR with Steve Degnan coming in third with a superb best lap of 1:57:75
3. F2 Sidecars
Time to bring the side cars back onto the grid and with a dry track, the heat was really on! Lee Crawford and Jake Lowther were flying round the circuit with an average of 74.72mph, earning Lee’s first win at the iconic North Yorkshire circuit! Steve and Matty Ramsden were also looking to defend their title out there, with a best lap of 1:57:07. However it was Conrad Harrison who managed to sneak up there behind Lee Crawford and gain second place, with third place going to Dean Lindley and passenger Robert Bell riding outfit no 21. Unfortunately, Dave Wallis and Scott Hardie retired at farm bends so did not finish. Following this race, it was decided that in an attempt to make up for lost time, all races would be reduced to 6 laps instead of the usual 8.
4. Super Lightweight
Local rider James Cowton was absolutely flying around the Mount in the Super lightweight class, with a best lap of 1:53:78, taking the chequered flag on his Kawasaki ER6 650. Darren Cooper came in at third on a similar machine. Changing up the top three a little was Barry Furber out there on his Suzuki SV650, who celebrated a second place.
5. Solo Open A Final
The sun was shining for the start of the Solo Open A race, however it didn’t get off to a great start, losing 3 riders to an incident at Mere Hairpin. The race continued with Silicone’s Dean Harrison taking his second lead of the day, just ahead of Top Gun’s Dan Hegarty. There was very little between them, with ‘The General’ Lee Johnston sticking very close to their heels on his BMW 1000RR. An intense battle to the end, the lads managed to hold onto these positions until the waving of the chequered flag after 6 laps. Another star of the race was Daley Mathison, riding his Eddie Stobart BMW. Starting from the back of the grid he managed to push his way through to 5th place, with a best lap time of 1:50:04!
6. Solo Open B Final
This race really was anyone’s for the taking, with so many fast riders out there on the grid. 188 Julian Tillotson out on the BMW S1000RR, new for the 2017 season gained a best lap of 1:55:68, putting him at second place. Just ahead and crossing the line first was 74 Joe Thompson from Cliffe on the Kawasaki ZX6R 600 with a cracking average of 77.13mph. Third place went to Lewis Bramwell who gained an epic 5 places over the 6 lap race.
7. F2 Sidecars
The Sidecars provided some more ‘edge of your seat racing’ in their second race of the day. Steve and Matty Ramsden, again, fighting to retain their title for the start of the 2017 season were flying around on their yellow and orange outfit, taking the lead once again on the LCR Honda 600. Coming in a close second was Conrad Harrison and Andy Winkle on outfit number 3, with outfit 21, Dean Lindley and Robert Bell completing the top 3. There were a few retirements in this race.
The Senior race marks a hat trick for Dean Harrison, taking this third win of the day on his Kawasaki ZX10. Dean really is on top form this weekend, continuing his great run of wins from 2016 here at the Mount. Top Gun’s Dan Hegarty takes second place, with Daley Mathison crossing the line in third.
9. Ultra Lightweights & Lightweights
Ian Stanford on the Honda RS125, who has caught the Hill Climb bug, has come in third place with a best lap of 2:09:55. Racing legend Ian Lougher came first on his Honda NSF 250, with local lad, Justin Waring, crossing the line in second place on his 250 Kalex Moto3.
Joe Thompson in the lightweight class on the Yamaha T2250 earned a first with an average speed of 66.48mph. Second place goes to Paul Owen on his iconic Honda RS250, with third place going to Millon man Alistair Haworth.
10. Classic Superbike & F2.
It was great to see up and coming French rider, Morgan Govignor, back at Oliver’s Mount this year on the beautiful BMW R100RS. Local lad Gary Graves on the no. 33 Kawasaki ZXR 750 has a best lap in this race at 2:10:29 with an average speed of 66.37mph. However it was No. 19 David Bell who crossed the line in first place with a whopping 1:56:36 lap and an average speed of 66.30mph.
Sunday saw a few famous faces milling around the paddock, including the likes of Guy Martin, John McGuinness and Ian Hutchinson to name just a few. John McGuinness was not racing this weekend, however he took part in a few parade laps the brand new Honda Fireblade before the weekends racing resumed at 11am.
Although a bit of early morning rain caused a relatively damp start, the sun was soon shining just in time for the start of Sunday’s racing. Out first were the seniors…
Kicking the day off with the Senior race, Dean Harrison was yet again off to a promising start hoping to gain his 4th win of the weekend. With a spectacular line-up of racers, including Guy Martin who is racing in the Isle of Man TT later this year, this race was a fantastic start to what was sure to be an action-packed day of racing. Dan Hegarty was also off to a brilliant start, making it around the track first, with Harrison as a close second flying through the first section in 1:05:09. It was on the second lap of the race when Harrison managed to pull through and sneak past Hegarty, making him the front-runner. Auto 66 Club’s brothers Mick and Mark Goodings were having a battle of their own throughout the race on their Kawasaki 1000 machines, with Mick coming in 6th and Mark a very close 7th. Suffering a right-hand injury, Bardney boy Ivan Lintin was also managing to provide a bit of close competition for the boys up front, with himself and no 13 Lee Johnston crossing the line within a whopping 0.8 of a second of each other. Guy Martin, Oliver’s Mount lap record holder, started off from the back of the grid in this race on his Honda Fireblade and managed to push his way up into 12th place! However, continuing his run for the weekend, it was Silicone’s Dean Harrison who took the chequered flag.
12. F2 Sidecars
Following an issue during qualifying on Saturday morning, Dave Molyneux was out for the weekend and his presence was missed on the grid for the first sidecar race of the day. However, it was PMH Promotions backed rider Lee Crawford who crossed the line first in this race, on his LCR Suzuki, with last minute stand-in passenger Jake Lowther of Scunthorpe. These two lads had a brilliant run here at the mount this weekend, with reigning Ian Bell UK Super 2 Sidecar Masters champions coming in a close second. It was Greg Lambert and his passenger, Julie Canipa, who crossed the line in third place following their success at Brands Hatch last weekend.
14. Ultra Lightweights & Lightweights
Although we had a few retirements in this race, there were still plenty of machines left on track to battle it out, from Justin Waring’s Moto 3 and Ian Lougher’s Honda NSF 250 in the Ultra lightweight class, to Joe Thompson’s Yamaha TZ 250 and Nick Anderson’s Kawasaki ZXR 400 in the Lightweight class. It was Justin who took first place in the Ultra lightweights class, just ahead of TT legend Ian Lougher. Joe Thompson, riding for Thompson’s and ILR, was the winner of the Lightweights battling it out against Oliver’s Mount regulars Paul Owen and Rad Hughes.
15. Junior A Final
Daley Mathison and Dean Harrison were neck and neck throughout this race, battling it out for that top spot. This race saw some great lap speeds from the lads out on circuit, with Tom Weeden moving up into 7th place and Callum Ward up into 14th after suffering some engine trouble on Saturday. No 52 James Cowton also put in some great laps on his Honda CBR. Again, it was Harrison who took the win, just ahead of Daley Mathison and Dan Hegarty who came in at second and third.
16. Junior B Final
Keeping it in the family, no 35 Adrian Harrison, brother of Dean, took the win in the B final of the junior race with Jamie Harris in second place. Lewis Bramwell who crossed the line in third place was the star of the show however, gaining the fastest overall lap time in this race of 1:55:40. At an average of 74.03mph, he really was not messing around out there!
17. Bob Smith Spring Cup
Finally, it was time for the feature race of the day, the Bob Smith Spring Cup. The weather really was on our side, with the sunshine providing a glorious start to the race. Dean Harrison began in pole position, with Dan Hegarty and Lee Johnston completing the front row. Making up the second row was Hebden Bridge man Jamie Coward, alongside Daley Mathison and Mick Goodings. Following an off yesterday at Mere hairpin, Mick’s brother Mark was unfortunately starting from the back of the grid for the feature race of the day. It was Lee Johnston who took the lead into Mere hairpin, a lead which he managed to maintain through laps 1-3. However, the fourth lap brought about a massive change, with Dean Harrison flying past the start/finish line in first place, half a second from breaking the lap record, currently held by Guy Martin. What a difference a lap makes!
With 2.2 seconds between Harrison and Johnston, Jamie Coward was also starting to catch up with Daley Mathison and the duo were battling it out in 4th and 5th position. As the guys cross the finish line on the 8th lap to the waving of the chequered flag, it is Silicone’s Dean Harrison who manages to maintain his lead and wins the Spring Cup for the first time in his racing history here at Oliver’s Mount, with a best lap speed of 83.81mph! Top Gun’s Dan Hegarty takes second place, with Lee Johnston taking third on his East Coast BMW. A great battle between the top three lads out there on the 2.43 mile track! Daley Mathison, Jamie Coward, Ivan Lintin, Mick Goodings, James Cowton, Tom Weeden and Mark Goodings, who managed to push his way through from the back, all complete the top 10 finishers in the first major race of the 2017 season here at the Mount!
18. F2 Sidecars
To the last sidecar race of the day and it was previous race winners Lee Crawford and Jake Lowther who manage to make it around Mere hairpin first, closely followed by outfit 99, Steve and Matty Ramsden and outfit 69 Greg Lambert and Julie Canipa. Outfit number 2, Dave Wallis and Scott Hardie provide some tough competition too, pushing their way through to third on the second lap of the race. In a huge turn of events, front-runners Lee Crawford and Jake Lowther unfortunately make a retirement back to the paddock, alongside Gary and Daryl Gibson on outfit number 16, their Shelborn Suzuki 600, allowing Steve and Matty Ramsden to take first place. Dave Wallis and Scott Hardie cross the line in second place with Spring Cup Winner Dean Harrison’s Father, Conrad, taking third place with his passenger Andy Winkle on their Bellas Honda 600.
19. Solo Open A race
Tyres still warm from the Spring Cup race, the solo’s were out on the grid again lining up for the solo open, with the top three finishers crossing the line in exactly the same order as race 17. No 36 Jamie Coward provided Johnston with a bit of tough competition throughout, keeping very close to his heels and leaving only 0.10 second of a gap between them on their best laps. Coward also managed to stay ahead of Mathison, who has had a great weekend of racing here at the Spring Cup meeting and Manx GP winner Tom Weeden on his Honda CBR 1000. A few retirements in this race, including Ivan Lintin, Mick Goodings and Wayne Humble, meant that only 14 crossed the finish line from the original grid line up of 19.
20. Solo Open B Race
With 18 lined up on the grid, this race was anyone’s for the taking. However, it was Joe Thompson on bike no 74, his Kawasaki ZX6R 600 machine, who crossed the line first making it a fantastic weekend for him! Lewis Bramwell came a close second on his Suzuki SXR 600 and 96 Jamie Harris taking third place, again on a Kawasaki 600. An unfortunate retirement back to the paddock for Scarborough lad James Tadman left only Paul Marley out on track flying the Scarborough flag! He crossed the line in 7th on his Kawasaki 1000 machine, with a determined Roger Wibberley close behind him on a Yamaha R6.
21. Super Lightweight
Keeping to schedule, we were down to the last Super Lightweights race of the day. Although he was suffering a right-hand injury, it was finally Ivan Lintin’s time to shine and he was on top form on his Kawasaki ER6 650, taking the chequered flag for race 21. Second was Barry Furber on his Suzuki SV 650 and third, Darren Cooper. Coming in a close fourth was Auto 66 Club’s Brad Vicars, winner of the 2016 Duke Road Race Rankings Rookie of the year Award, who is hoping for another great season in 2017!
22. Classic Superbike and F2
The final race of the day was the classic superbike and F2. Although there were only 7 bikes on the grid, this did not stop the lads from having a good go and making the most of the final race of the weekend in glorious sunshine. It was Dave Bell who took the final chequered flag of the day on his Yamaha OW01 1000 machine, with Craig Neave in second on his Yamaha 750 and Peter boast in third on his Suzuki OW01 750. Crossing the line in fourth place was number 47, Phil Stead, who had a great race and even managed to spectacularly break a lap record by half a second, previously set by himself.
What a great start to the 2017 season for Auto 66 Racing and Oliver’s Mount. Two action-packed days with back to back racing and glorious weather – what more could you ask for? We start as we mean to go on and hope that the Spring Cup event has set the bar for what is to come for the rest of the year.
A huge thank you to all who helped organise the weekend and make it the success that it was, especially those working for and on behalf of PMH Promotions Ltd and all Auto 66 volunteers and marshals. Without you all, racing simply would not happen and this weekend has shown just what we are capable of when everyone pulls together and works as a team! Thank you to all competitors and teams, both from the solo and sidecar community, who attended and provided us with some fantastic racing and to the spectators who came along to watch the event.
Other Oliver’s Mount Road Race Events to watch out for in 2017:
Cock O’ the North Continental Road Races & European Bike Rally – 24-25th June
Barry Sheene Races & Japanese Bike Rally Festival – 22-23rd July
Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup – 23-24th Sept
Report and Photo by Alice Robinson & Millee Lloyd