Thursday April 25, 2019 at 11:47am
Freezing track conditions, oil spills and unusually, engine blow ups were the factors facing riders as the Suzuki GB Motul Bandit Challenge headed to Snetterton for Rounds 3 & 4.
Despite suffering what transpired to be cracked ribs sustained in a crash during Fridays testing, James McHardy (1) continued his ongoing battle with Harley Prebble (2) throughout the weekend.
Race 1 saw Prebble and McHardy dominate with Prebble coming out on top by 0.099sec while Carl Smalley (691) narrowly beat John Ward (5) to take 3rd. A great ride by Nick Waite (67) had him come through from last place on the grid to 9th and newcomer Mark Wardle (78) took a credible 10th.
Conditions improved slightly for race 2 and while McHardy led for much of the time a slide in the latter stages allowed Prebble through for his 2nd win. Ward’s third place was well deserved and popular within the paddock, but it was a close run thing, with David Greenwood (4) close on his tail, who in turn was fending off a hard charging Lewis Rees (70), with Smalley, Allan Jones (61) and David Hatswell (95) covered by little more than a second. Close racing occurred throughout the field and after hovering just outside of the points regularly Doc Rogers (113) narrowly beat Elliott Peach (105) to get his first point of the season.
Worsening conditions for the first race on Sunday led to a red flag on lap one as numerous riders fell prey to the tricky conditions. The shortened restart saw Prebble take victory from McHardy, Smalley third and Wardle a well-deserved 5th. Callum Emms (20) took his first top 10 place.
The final race had Prebble making a clean sweep of the weekend from his injured nemesis McHardy. Smalley in third and Hatswell improved his points tally with 4th and Ward 5th. Peach and Doc resumed their earlier tousle for final honours with Peach coming out on top for his first championship point by 0.4sec.
A special mention must be made to Biff and the Pirate for working through the night replacing riders blown engine and the whole Bandit paddock wishes Brian Warburton a speedy recovery following his serious crash during Friday’s testing.
Donnington Park on May 11-12 is the venue for Rounds 5&6. May the weather Gods be smiling.
Editorial: Doc Rogers