Wednesday May 17, 2017 at 4:58pm
It is quite some time since Mallory Park has hosted a national championship round, so it was a great pleasure to see a nearly-full grid of 50cc machines taking part in the ACU championship race on Sunday. It is also something of a surprise to see how many there were, given that the class ceased to be a world championship class more than thirty years ago, and the last 50cc race was the Anglo-Celtic match races in which England took on a combined Scottish ,Welsh and Irish team, and I’m sure that was not this century.
The races brought joy for Sam Grief, who dominated both events, averaging a remarkable 70mph on his Kriedler with a best lap at more than 72, but behind him Simon Dillon and Douglas Marton had a race-long scrap in both races, Dillon taking the place in race one by quarter of a second, with Marton getting the verdict by almost exactly the same margin in race two. Scott Dootson took fourth in both races ahead of former Superstock 1000 champion Hudson Kennaugh whose Yama Gamma must seem very strange after a machine with twenty times the power.
Gavin Mills should have earned a prize for the busiest rider, racing to third place in the Classic 50 event, winning the first GP 125 race ( second on the track to Myles Wasley on a Moto 3 machine) and then second to Graham Wilson in the other 125 event, leaving Wilson exactly as far ahead in the championship as when the day began – 24 points. He then went out in the first 500 race finishing third behind Joe Barton’s CB500 and Richard Molnar on the Manx Norton, and rounded off his very busy day by winning the second 500 race on his 125 Honda ahead of Sean Dobie on another 125, Andy Whale taking first place in the CB500 category ahead of Paul Sawyer.
Reigning Buildbase champion Lee Wilson continued to extend his lead in this year’s championship, but as always he had “guest riders” to contend with – not assorted members of the official Suzuki team this time, but Aussie Dave Johnson and former European Superstock contender Barry Burrell both on Superstock BMWs. Johnson beat Burrell in both races, with Lee third ahead of Dave Manley in race one, and Michael Austin in race two.
Wilson also won both Allcomers races, finishing well clear while Michael Austin, Steve Brittain and Russ Burrows had a race-long scrap for second with Burrows grabbing the place from Austin on the very last lap. The second race saw Burrows chasing Austin for second place for the first half of the race only to crash at the Devil’s Elbow on lap six, leaving Austin to take the place ahead of Arnie Shelton.
Barry Burrell snatched victory from Dave Johnson in the first Superstock race with Will Shaw taking third overall and winning the 600 class from Arnie Shelton. Race two saw Johnson win from Burrell with Shaw third again and top 600 in front of Shelton.
Gary Aerden won both Minitwins races, Jonathan Wells taking second ahead of Neil Reading in the first, third behind Reading in the second. Mark Daines continued his unbeaten run in the Rookie races, taking his fifth and sixth wins of the year ahead of Dan Williams and Matt Speed.