Wednesday April 19, 2017 at 4:28pm
Darren Eaton (Freetech Honda) ran home a comfortable winner of the opening round of the ACU’s re-instated 50cc championship at Tonfanau. Starting from the second row of the 14-strong grid, Eaton grabbed the lead early on, pulling away to win by over 11 seconds.
It was Paul Whiting (Classic Kawasaki), though, who had started right at the back of the grid, rocketing through the pack to end up close to the front, before most had even left the start line.
Eaton entered the pinch point of the hairpin first and screamed away, followed closely by Hudson Kennaugh (Freetech Yamagama), with a good lead over the rest of the field.
Warren Atkinson on another Freetech machine, a Metrakit, was third at the end of the eight-lap race, over 14 seconds behind Kennaugh. Whiting was fourth home, first of the Classic machines.
Mark Bainbridge (Freetech Aprilia) was fifth and Martin Robbins second in the Classic class, on his Derbi, was sixth. Further down the field a close tussle between Ernie Parry and Alan Naul, both on classic machines, lasted the whole race. Naul overtook Parry, just seconds before the flag.
Eaton won the day’s other two races. He beat Kevin Burton (UFO Minarelli) by over 18 seconds in the second, with Atkinson third, one and half further back. Eaton won the third four and half seconds in front of Kennaugh, with Burton third.
Paul “Potchy” Williams and James Evans are level pegging on points on top of the Crewe and South Cheshire club’s 401-1100cc championship after the first of the season’s four rounds at Tonfanau,
Williams, the 41-year-old MOT test centre owner from Abercynon, South Wales, took his GP Motorcycles-sponsored Triumph 675 to victory in the first two of the day’s three points’ scoring races, but could only manage a third in the final outing. Evans (Pro Bike Repairs Yamaha 600) runner-up in races one and two, won the third to end the day on 28 points, just like Williams.
Things did not go well for Evans in race one. He overshot the hairpin on the fourth of eight laps, when in second place to Williams and little more than half a second down. Evans lost a great deal of time and was almost six seconds behind at the end of the next lap. At the chequered flag Evans had cut the gap to under four seconds Things did not go well for Evans in race two. The 33-year-old motorcycle dealer from Shrewsbury took the lead from Williams on lap six, but an incident forced the red flags to come out. Instead the race result was called as the order at the end of lap five, with Williams the winner by eight hundredths of a second.
Evans made no mistake in race three, leading from start to finish. Grant Gaskell (Kawasaki 600) was second home, two and half seconds down, to wrap up a good day. Gaskell was third in race one, despite having to start from back in 17th place on the grid. Then the brick layer from Skelmersdale, Lancashire missed the second call for race two and was put at the back of the grid. He fought through to fourth place, behind Williams, Evans and the veteran Martin Powell on his big Suzuki.
Gaskell gave himself an early 29th birthday present with a good second place, behind Evans, but ahead of Williams in race three. Williams and Evans joint leaders on 28 points, but Williams will not be back at Tonfanau again this season. Gaskell is third on 24.
Mark Purslow (Kawasaki 650) was robbed of a possible hat trick in the Minitwins races. Winner of race one by just under a second from Paul “Pothchy” Williams on the Reps Motorcycles-tuned Kawasaki 650, Purslow was leading the second race till knocked off by a rival two laps from home.
That gifted Williams the lead, but he, too, fell, without injury, on the last lap. John Nicklin (Suzuki 650), fourth in the opener, was a surprised and lucky winner. Purslow bounced back to win race three, with Nicklin second home in the class, less than half a second back. Williams was fifth over the line. Nicklin tops the championship table on 26, five more than John Bain , (Suzuki 650). Purslow is third on 20.
Dean Ephgrave (Honda) won the first two of the three Steel Frame races, run alongside the Minitwins, but finished the day with just a slender one point advantage in the championship.
Tony Griffiths (Honda) won the third and final outing of the day heading home Nick Jefferies and Ephgrave. He is 27, one down on Ephgrave, with Jefferies on 26.
John Price, as usual, dominated both the 400 Super Sports and Forgotten Era 251-500cc classes.
He was overall winner on his Kawasaki, in all six combined races. Price beat the 250s of Simon Harris and Paul Tye in the first race of the day. It was Harris who chased Price home in race two, but over six seconds down. Harris was runner-up in race three, but over eight seconds behind. Price tops the 400 SS points’ table on 30, five clear of Tony Griffiths.
Price was equally unbeatable in the Forgotten Era machines. He was over ten seconds in front of the battling John Nicklin (Suzuki 650) and Steve Birtles (Yamaha 1000) in race one. Birtles was second over the line in race two, just under ten seconds down. Price completed his hat trick in the third race, with Paul Stones second, over eight seconds behind.
Paul Tye was another hattrick man in the Forgotten Era 250 class on his Yamaha. Corey Lewis took runner up in the first two races, but crashed out of the third race on the opening lap. That allowed Phil Leatherhead (The Tuning Works Suzuki 250) to take third place, behind Caron Roberts, taking his day’s points’ tally to 24, six down on Tye. Steve Birtles heads Simon Mara by just a single point in the FE over 501 class.
Richard Ford started the defence of his Classic over 501 title with three clear cut wins, chased home in all three by Alan Bud Jackson.
Reigning champion, Ted Cornes won two of his Classic 125-250 Single Cylinder class races, with his arch rival Geoff Hadwin taking the other. There was an impressive performance from Steve Lawton on his Honda 80, who split Cornes and Hadwin in two of the races.
A disappointingly low sidecar line-up meant there were just five outfits on the grid for their first race. Gary Knight/Dan Evenson (Suzuki LCR 1000) were the winners, almost 17 seconds ahead Gary Wilson/Mark Griffiths (Windle 1000). With Knight out, Wilson won race two, just under 20 seconds in front of Roger and Bradley Stockton (Windle Suzuki 600). There were again only three outfits at the start of race three, with Wilson Griffiths winners again.