Tough day of Racing at Tonfanau

Thursday June 1, 2017 at 12:43pm
James Evans opened up a 15-point lead in the Crewe and South Cheshire club’s 401-1100cc championship after a dramatic second round of the series at Tonfanau, but it was reigning champion, Chris Mort (Honda 600), who dominated the racing. Evans, the 33-year-old motorcycle dealer from Shrewsbury, on his Pro Bike Repairs Yamaha 600, notched up a third and a second in the day’s two races, to take his tally to 45 at the halfway stage of the championship.


Mort, who missed the opening round of the series in April, won the first race, which was stopped several times and then re-run late in the afternoon as a five-lapper, by less than a second from Mike Norbury (Yamaha 600), who blamed wrong gearing for his narrow defeat.  Evans was third home, almost ten seconds further back. Further back the battle for fourth, fifth and sixth ended with Josh Williams (Honda 600), Grant Gaskell (Kawasaki 600) and Liam Evans (Suzuki 600) crossing the line all covered by just seventh tenths of a second.


Less than half an hour later the big bikes were out again and this time Mort’s winning margin was just under ten seconds over James Evans, in another five-lap race. Liam Evans was third home, nearly seven seconds down, with Saun Wynn (Kawasaki 600) fourth. Neither Norbury nor Gaskell raced. Like others, both thought their day’s racing was over, and had started load up their bikes.


Despite racing just once, Gaskell, the 29-year-old brick layer from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, stayed second in the points table, but instead of being just four points down on the leader, he is 15.


The big winners on this difficult day, which saw the air ambulance called out twice to the Welsh circuit, which normally has a fine safety record, were the organisers.They worked hard to salvage a race programme that gave everyone two races, after it had looked as though there would be much less than that.


John Price looked set to dominate both the 400 Super Sports and Forgotten Era 251-500cc classes, until a spill in the second FE race, when he slid off the Kawasaki 400 at slow speed at Paddock.

He was unhurt, but that dnf cost him the lead in the championship. Victory in race one put him on 40 points, but a third and a second gave Phil Millard (Kawasaki 400) a total of 44 points. Paul Odlum (Kawasaki 400) won the second race, but trails in joint fourth in the points behind Millard, Price and Nicholas Ward.


Price was impressive in that first race, setting the fastest lap and beaten by Paul Stones (Yamaha 1000) by less than seven tenths of a second. Stones won the second race to take his points’ tally to 46, one more than Steve Birtles (Yamaha 1000), who had two seconds. Unlucky Simon Mara, who was joint leader with Birtles coming into this meeting was one of several riders hospitalised in one of the day’s bad accidents.


Price made no mistakes in his two Supersport 400 races. His two wins takes him to 50 points, 15 more than Mike Carter (Honda).Tony Griffiths (Kawasaki), who failed to finish in the first race, but was third in the other, slipped to third in championship, 17 down on Price. John Nicklin (Suzuki 650) was unstoppable in the Minitwins races. He beat Saun Wynn (Suzuki) by 11 seconds in the first and by over two seconds in the next. Nicklin tops the championship table on 46, 11 more than John Bain  (Suzuki 650) and Wynne.


Two wins for Tony Griffiths (Honda) in the Steel Frame class moved him into a one point lead over arch-rival Dean Ephgrave (Honda), 47 to 46. Nick Jefferies (Honda) is still in contention after two third places, on 42.

Paul Tye (Yamaha) added two more wins to April hat trick in the Forgotten Era 250 class. Caron Roberts (Yamaha) grabbed two seconds to climbing to second in the points’ table, nine behind Tye.

Richard Ford maintained his unbeaten run in the Classic over 501cc class, adding two wins to his April hat trick. Mick Crompton (BSA 750) notched up a fourth and a second to climb to second in the standings, 34 behind Ford.


Ford was out in the Classic 250 class, taking runner up spot behind Ted Cornes in the first, but not scoring in the second. Cornes leads the series on 41 points, with Geoff Hadwin second on 37. Caron Roberts showed the pace of her Bultaco 250 in the Classic 125-250cc Single Cylinder class, winning both races.


She beat Dave Thorp and Roger Smith, both on Ducatis in the first, but it was girl-power in race two, with Roberts winning again, but this time from Sarah Measures (Greeves 197). Right in the midst of a very mixed grid for races two and nine was Alan Naul on his Kawasaki 50, who was seventh in the first, while Ian Cowles took his Yamaha 50 to a ninth and a seventh.


Report by Chris Carter

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