Wednesday August 1, 2018 at 3:20pm
Paul Westerdale took three giant steps toward a double championship at the East Midland Racing Association meeting at Mallory Park on Sunday. The Sapcote rider was already well in command of both the Buildbase Mallory Trophy and the Tamworth Yamaha Allcomers championships, and his lead has grown in both after a double win in the Buildbase events and a win in the opening Allcomers race.
The first allcomers race was a convincing win over his nearest rival, Mikey Leeson, and the gap is now 38 points with two rounds left. The first Buildbase race saw Paul finish ahead of Curtis Wright on a damp track, but the second race was a real nail-biter as the track dried out and for the first time it was possible to get the lap times under a minute. Curtis Wright led for the first two laps before Westerdale took over at the front, with Mikey Leeson third ahead of Michael Tustin, but having got past, Paul could not open up a gap, and as the race came to the final laps, Tustin forced his Ducati past Leeson and started to close on Wright, and when the flag dropped there was 0.3 seconds covering all three , while Leeson was within two seconds of the winner at the end. 65 points is the gap now between Westerdale and Wright, which will take some catching, even with three rounds still to come.
I have previously described the EMRA 500 races as “legendary” , and they lived up to that description again, with Ben Bailey stealing the first race from under Wayne Sutton’s nose after Sutton had held the lead for nine laps, taking the win by a third of a second. All the riders in race two deserve a medal for going out on track at all in the lashing down rain on naked CB500s, but the rain didn’t have any effect on the quality of the racing. Wayne Sutton made the early running , Ben Bailey was in front at the end of lap three, but there was a new character in the script this time as Mark Brailsford took the lead briefly on lap six, and as the race went on Sutton started to drop away slightly leaving Brailsford and Bailey to slug it out with the final verdict going to Brailsford.
Despite jocular remarks in the race preview about the prospect of the track melting, it turned out to be more likely to dissolve in the rain (as indeed did the packet of mints in my pocket, as I discovered when I got home !).
The variety of entry-level championships both current and in the recent past has persuaded EMRA to run a “various little bikes” series with a 450cc limit, and although most of the entries are GP125 or Formula 125 machines, it gives former EMRA Supersport champion John Lea an opportunity to drag out historical bikes like his TZ250. Some last minute adjustment on the grid may have worried the starter, but it certainly didn’t affect John’s performance as he took off and won the race by half a minute. Gavin Mills was second and first 125, while third overall on an Aprilia was Charlie Tranter, beating a lot of bikes that in theory should have been a lot faster. People called Tranter have been winning races at Mallory almost since the circuit was built, so maybe this is only to be expected, the more so as Martin Tranter was second F125 in both races and heads the championship.
Lee Weston beat Curtis Wright in the first 600 race from fellow Triumph rider Curtis Wright with Michael Tustin in third, and then in the second race the order of the first three was reversed, although the gap between the two leaders barely exceeded a second at any point.than a second
Chris Ashfield once again dominated the miniTwins races, beating Duane Bliss and James Plummer in race one, with Plummer taking second in race two with championship runner-up Richard Saunders in third.
Luke Penney increased his lead in the Rookies championship with a win over Tim Hudson in the first race (although perhaps the most memorable performance in this race was that of Rayner Clarke who led the first lap until he reached the devil’s Elbow when he slid off – the tricky thing about leading wet races is judging how just much it is raining – even if your name is Rayner !). The second race seemed to be in the hands of Luke Burnett, until Jack Pearce started to close rapidly and with one lap to go the lead was down to an eighth of a second, and at Gerards on lap ten Pearce was ahead and held on to win.
Stuart Poulton showed that a 350LC Yamaha, being more nimble, can beat much bigger bikes on a wet track, winning the first Earlystock race from James Fisher on a CBX Honda (not the most obvious choice on a wet day), with Michael Hand’s GSXR750 third. Race two was drier, and Hand took that from Alec Gilfillan.
Report by Robin Capon