The Teesside Autodrome, just a stone’s throw from the port at Middlesboro, provides a unique setting for a race track and the fast undulating course was improved dramatically with a completely new challenging dirt section including a double jump and a mini “Erzberg” hill. Another benefit to this venue is the ability to run the track in both directions, which gives fantastic variety over the weekend for the sizeable crowd of spectators.
The Michelin Championship
Qualifying is an important part of Supermoto and an exciting part of the programme especially at the elite level. The poor British Summer didn’t change for this meeting so on Saturday morning riders were faced with a wet track for and qualifying with a brand new unused slick off road. However, the overnight heavy rain had helped bind the off-road section which was only completed hours before. Chris Hodgson was the early pace setter and he looked to have found his feet on the new track the quickest with a great third lap. Matt Winstanley was 1.8 seconds off the pace and was being urged by his pit crew to get a move on, this he well and truly did as the clock ticked past the 12 minute cut off time he put in a stellar lap to take almost 3 seconds off Hodgson’s lap to gain a 0.9 second advantage. Scott Murray (TM) was third and Richard Blakeman put his Husqvarna into fourth.
After looking like it was going to dry up after qualifying, the rain started to fall albeit quite lightly and with the new dirt section bringing a fair amount of mud on to the track conditions were precarious. Matt Winstanley took the hole shot followed by Chris Hodgson and these two quickly pulled a gap on Scott Murray in third. Hodgson however made a rare mistake at the end of lap two and slipped off on the greasy surface, the five seconds it took him to rev=cover was all the incentive Winstanley needed, the Wigan rider is a master in slippy conditions and he controlled the race from the front to win by a comfortable four seconds. The main interest was the battle for third place with Scott Murray coming under pressure from Richard Blakeman and Jordan Bannon. Blakeman forced his way past Murray on lap six but the Scotsman soon fought back and was back in third a lap later which he held to the flag. Bannon was right on Blakeman’s wheel as the crossed the line to take fifth.
The rain had stopped for race two and the track conditions were getting better in the sunny and windy conditions. Hodgson got off the line first but Winstanley was right in his wheel tracks. For nine laps Winstanley shadowed Hodgson both riders only split by hundredths of a second and then on the final lap Winstanley pounced. On the steep uphill “Erzberg” section, he just about managed to get past the KTM rider and held the lead for the remaining three quarters of a lap to win by 2/10ths of a second after more than 15 minutes of racing. Bannon and Blakeman again banged bars for the third-place spot after Scott Murray had stalled in the off road section which dropped him to 18th
before fighting his way back to fifth. After passing each other numerous times, Richard Blakeman got the better of Jordan Bannon to take third by less than a second.
With the track completely dry lap times were due to drop further but entering the first corner a couple of riders went down which resulted in a red flag Unfortunately Scott Murray was involved and suffered concussion which ruled him out of the weekend. At the restart, again Hodgson hit the front from the start but Winstanley made a good decisive pass entering the first corner and never lost the lead. Hodgson sat in his wheel tracks but couldn’t find a way past the Husqvarna in front and had to be content with setting the fastest lap as he finished just 3/10ths of a second behind. The rest of the pack had lots of battles all down the field with perhaps the best ride coming from Scot, Jamie Duncan who missed the restart of the race and was a lap down before climbing to 14th
it was Winstanley from Hodgson then Blakeman, Bannon and Charlie Light.
In the class for bikes built pre-2007 Paul Rhodes was dominant on his 2006 CRF450 with three class wins, second was Aberdeen’s Daryl McCall on his 2005 KTM RFS followed by Justin Bullen on an immaculate 2006 Husaberg 650
GIAG Novice Cup
A good grid of Novice riders again turned up for the “Give it a Go class” with series leader Andy Hall dominant winning all three races comfortably. Wayne Abernethy brought his KTM home in second ahead of debutant Marcus Robinson who was very impressive on his CCM 404.
Academy rider Casey Jones was in tremendous form on his KTM 85 and took the overall from Jamie Stables on a Honda CRF 150 mini bike. Ben Bayfield was excellent in second in the Academy class coping with the dirt well and there was a tie between Kyle Bennett, Lewis Hardy and Harley Sharp for third with Kyle getting the place by virtue of the best last race position.
Reversing the track at this venue gives a whole new feel to the circuit and with the new off road in place Saturdays difficult step down became a tricky double jump. The predicted bad weather didn’t appear and thankfully the racing started and finished in dry conditions ensuring that it would be man and machine that prevailed not the elements
British Supermoto Championship Qualifying
: With riders able to choose two of the six available qualifying sessions it adds some spice to the session to see who picks the track at the best time to get maximum return, Winstanley looked to carry on where he left off on the Saturday and claimed pole with Chris Hodgson just 2/10ths away. Jordan Bannon was third with Richard Blakeman completing the front row. Race One
Winstanley led from the start but on the back straight Hodgson passed him, the KTM outgunning the Husqvarna, however Hodgson’s lead was short lived as after clearing the double he stalled his bike on the tight turn immediately after the landing it took a few seconds to restart by which time Blakeman and Bannon had both passed him, Hodgson took three laps to re-pass these two and then chased after Winstanley setting the fastest lap of the race by over a second. However, the gap was too big and Winstanley managed his race perfectly to be one second ahead at the flag.
Although Winstanley led the first lap Hodgson looked really threatening and was soon past, riding his number two bike he found it better suited to the faster track layout and extended his lead lap after lap. At the flag he was a comfortable three seconds ahead of Winstanley. Jordan Bannon and Richard Blakeman resumed their now customary battles with Bannon getting the better of the burly tree surgeon. Jamie Duncan had been suffering all night with food poisoning and did well to finish fifth ahead of York’s Ollie Kemp showing great form in sixth. After the race Winstanley revealed he had lost the use of his clutch after four laps.
Having thought that the clutch issue had been resolved Winstanley discovered he again had no clutch minutes before he went to the grid, Steve Ellis kindly donated his bike but with no tyre warmers on or time to adjust the controls Winstanley had to make do and mend. With no drama for himself Hodgson quickly took advantage of his rivals bad luck and got away at the start whilst Winstanley was still trying to get warmth in the tyres. The rest of the riders engaged in some great individual battles all way through the field, Bannon and Blakeman, Duncan and Kemp, Andy Mitchell and Charlie Light all had their own tussles which ensured the large crowd went home satisfied. At the flag Hodgson was an easy 7 seconds head of Winstanley to claim his second win of the day.
Hodgson took the top step ahead of Winstanley, Jordan Bannon was third after dicing with Blakeman all day. Jamie Duncan was fifth and earned himself rider of the day for his heroics after food poisoning. Ollie Kemp was a brilliant sixth.
Race report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Sports Events Live
Results Day One Michelin Championship
Matt Winstanley (Husq) 105pts - 2nd
Chris Hodgson (KTM) 96pts - 3rd
Richard Blakeman (Husq) 88pts - 4th
Jordan Bannon (Husq) 82pts - 5th
Charlie Light (KTM) 72pts – 6th
Tim Johnson (Husq) 69pts – 7th
Brad Hardy (Husq) 67pts – 8th
Jamie Duncan (KTM) 67pts – 9th
Peter Bennett (Husq) 66pts -10th
Daniel Hall (Husq) 6pts.
Paul Rhodes (Honda) 105pts – 2nd
Daryl McCall (KTM) 96pts - 3rd
Justin Bullen (Husaberg) 86pts – 4th
Steve Coombes (Husaberg) 84pts – 5th
Damon Jasper (Aprilia) 82pts
Andy Hall (Husq) 105pts – 2nd
Wayne Abernethy (KTM) 92pts - 3rd
Marcus Robinson (Honda) 84pts – 4th
Darius Zbyrowski (KTM) 80pts – 5th
Keith Edwards (Honda) 79pts Mini Bikes
Jamie Stables (CRF) 105pts – 2nd
Mick Cartlidge (CRF) 94pts – 3rd
CeeJay Davies (SX85) 92pts – 4th
Anne Savage (CRF) 52pts
Casey Jones (85SX) 105pts – 2nd
Ben Bayfield (85SX) 90pts – 3rd
Kyle Bennett (85SX) 86pts – 4th
Lewis Hardy (85SX) 86pts - 5th
Harley Sharp (65 Husq) 86pts
Results Day Two British Supermoto Championship
Chris Hodgson (KTM) 148pts - 2nd
Matt Winstanley (Husq) 146pts - 3rd
Jordan Bannon (Husq) 138pts - 4th
Richard Blakeman (Husq) 132pts - 5th
Jamie Duncan (KTM) 126pts – 6th
Ollie Kemp (TM) 120pts – 7th
Charlie Light (KTM) 108pts – 8th
Andy Mitchell (Husq) 106pts – 9th
Tim Johnson (Husq) 106pts -10th
Daniel Hall (Husq) - 94pts.
Andy Mitchell (Husq) 106pts – 2nd
Andre Craddock (TM) 93pts - 3rd
Andy Hall (Husq) 50pts – 4th
John Oakes (TM) 44pts – 5th
Chris Burrow (Husq) 24pts
Ross Mailer (TM) 50pts – 2nd
James Wood (Husq) 68pts - 3rd
Blaine Pearson (KTM) 60pts – 4th
Steve Lowe (TM) 59pts – 5th
Chris Eastwood (Husq) 48pts
Tom Laycock (KTM) 74pts – 2nd
Andy Hall (Husq) 50pts - 3rd
Mitchell Bullen (KTM) 49pts – 4th
Dean Smith (Husq) 47pts – 5th
Chris Burrow (Husq) 34pts
Best Two Stroke
Tom Laycock (KTM) 74 points