Wednesday July 5, 2017 at 4:37pm
James Evans increased his lead in the Crewe and South Cheshire club’s 401-1100cc championship to 17-points in the third round of the series at Tonfanau, with two runner-up spots. Once again, though, it was reigning champion, Chris Mort (Honda 600), who dominated the racing, winning both races comfortably.
Evans, the 33-year-old motorcycle dealer from Shrewsbury, on his Pro Bike Repairs Yamaha 600, is now on 63 points, 17 clear of Grant Gaskell (Kawasaki 600), who had two third places. Mort beat Evans home by nearly 14 seconds in the first eight-lap race, with Gaskell, the 29-year-old brick layer from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, less than two seconds further back. Mort won the second, this time just over 14 seconds clear of Evans, again setting the fastest lap. Gaskell was seven tenths of a seconds down, in third place. Mort’s hopes of a hattrick were dashed when the third race was stopped and then abandoned after a serious incident.
The battle between Paul Stones and Steve Birtles for the Forgotten Era over 501cc title looks set to go to the very end of this season’s championship in August. Birtles, the reigning champion, is just one point behind Stones at the end of the third round of the series at Tonfanau and it’s been that close all season. Birtles was ahead by one point after round one. Stones topped the points’ table by a similar margin after the second round.
In the first Forgotten Era over 501 race Stones and Birtles also had John Price on his Forgotten Era 251-500 Kawasaki 400 to worry about. Price split the pair, with Birtles on his Yamaha FZR 1000 just over five seconds ahead. Price beat Stones, on his Yamaha FZR, by three hundredths of a second.
Stones won race two from Birtles by just one hundredth of a second, with Price third, two seconds back. Race three was one of several abandoned after a major incident in the third 450-1100cc race.
Those two class wins helped Price to narrow the gap on Forgotten Era 251-500 leader, Phil Millard (Kawasaki 400) to just two, 62 to 60.
Paul Tye (Yamaha) added to more wins to his Forgotten Era up to 250cc tally to go on 70 and with Caron Robets (Yamaha) failing to finish in race one, Phil Leatherhead (Suzuki) climbed to second in the standings. Tye is 21 ahead of Leatherhead with 30 points to be won in round 4.
Price is still on target to retain the 400 Supersport crown. He won his first race by a clear four seconds from Tony Griffiths (Kawasaki) and then beat Griffiths to the line by over eight seconds in race two. The third race was cut to four laps after a red flag incident, with Price just over three seconds ahead of Griffiths The hattrick gives Price a 20-point lead over Griffiths, going into the final round in August.
John Bain took advantage of John Nicklin’s absence from the Minitwins line-up and two wins lifted him from second to first in the points’ table, Bain is on 55 to Nicklin’s 46. Dean Ephgrave was missing from the Steel Frame grid and that did not help his chances of winning the title. Ephgrave slipped to third on 46, 21 down on Tony Griffiths who won both races and 12 behind Nick Jefferies, who two thirds.
Two victories were enough to give Paul Birch, Honda 350, the Classic 251-500cc title, one round early. He has 65 points, with Steve Cole on 34 and unable to catch him.
Caron Roberts (Bultaco) won the opening 125-250 Single cylinder racer, but went out of race two and did not start in the third, to slip to second in the championship on 50, nine down on Roger Smith (Ducati) who took three thirds on the day.
Richard Ford added two more wins to his tally in the Classic over 501cc class and he, too, cannot now be caught by his rivals.
Terry Wales would have wrapped up the 125GP championship, if he had not crashed out of his third race, after winning the first two. He will have to wait till August to take the title.
Report by Chris Carter