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Wirral Hundred at Anglesey: Josh Owens Back to His Roots

Wednesday June 26, 2019 at 12:15pm
Wirral Hundred at Anglesey: Josh Owens Back to His Roots
The Wirral Hundred club’s now traditional mid-summer weekend (22nd & 23rd June) at Anglesey, using the 1.55 mile Coastal circuit on the Saturday and the 2.10 mile International circuit on the Sunday, saw some exceptional racing in almost 100% perfect weather conditions. It was a pity that the forecast rain arrived just in time for the last race on Sunday bringing out the red flags and a premature end to the weekend.


Josh Owens, the Club’s GP125 champion in 2013, the British GP125 champion in 2015, and the BSB Moto2 champion in 2018, and this year a force to be reckoned with in the British GP2 series, competed in the two Anglesey Senior Open races aboard his Honda-engined Kalex GP2 bike, and won both races by over 15 seconds, from Scotsman Scott Shand (Yamaha 1000) on Saturday and from local boy Joey Taylor (BMW 1000) on Sunday. Chris Eden was the best of the Formula 600 riders in both races.


Owens also gave a high-speed demonstration at the front of the four Formula 600 races, sponsored by Paul Bland Motorsport, but as the Kalex was ineligible for the championship, the remaining 600cc riders could concentrate on themselves and each other. The first race on Saturday was won by Irish roads specialist Paul Jordan, paying his first visit to the circuit and testing ahead of the Southern 100, but his weekend was sadly shortened by a fall and a suspected broken thumb. This left the way clear for championship leader Chris Eden to win the next race, but on the longer course on Sunday, former champion Adrian Kershaw had a day to remember with two wins, but Eden, not far behind in both races, consolidated his championship lead. The best of the rest were Mike Norbury, another returning ‘roads’ man, young Irish rider Eoin Collins, and regular W100 supporter Alex Dyla, having his best event for some time.


In the Carl Roberts / Emjess Racing Powerbikes class, the impressive Scott Shand followed up his two 2nd places behind Jamie Coward in the Club’s March meeting with a clean-sweep of four wins, taking over the championship lead from Graham Hornby. Paul Jordan, before his injury, and Joey Taylor took the runners-up spots on Saturday, whilst Ireland’s James Chawke, after three bronze replicas at the TT, got into the act with two 2nd places on Sunday. Sonny Martin, who could only ride on the Saturday, took two 4th places whilst the best of the rest on Sunday was Jonathan Perry, another rider returning to action with the Club.  In the Club’s unique Pre-2009/Pre-Electronics Powerbikes category, Chris Ganderton, the Club’s champion in 2016 and 2017, returned after an absence of 18 months, came second on his R1 to Adrian Kershaw (ZXR 750) in race 1, but then won the remaining three races. Championship leader Jon Wright (R1) had some technical issues most of the weekend, but still managed four 3rd’s and therefore damage limitation to his championship lead.


In the AS Suspension Services Golden Era Supersport races it was a topsy-turvy sort of weekend. James Leatham came out on top with two wins and two seconds, and moved to within 8 points of championship leader Simon Robins who contrastingly had a win, a third, a fall, and a fifth. Former champion Ray Stevenson, despite a fall, had his best weekend of the season so far, as did Martin Clare and Damian Davis. The 650 Twins shared track-time with GES, and in this class Manxman Tim Sayers, with two wins and two 3rd’s consolidated his lead. His main rival Mike Bampton had a race win then a blow-up, whilst Max Dixon won a race on Saturday but was unable to compete on Sunday.


Several of the other classes also had impressive and commendable quadruple or triple winners across the two days – Dan Jones (100-500cc Allcomers) and Chris Ganderton (Pre-Injection) with four each and Phil Millard (Forgotten Era) and Michael Hand with three each.


18-years old Dan Jones, one of the favourites for the 2019 British Motostar series switched to one of the three Bryn Taff 125 Hondas entered for the weekend and did his confidence no harm with four comfortable wins. Andy Jackson (250 Honda) followed him home each time. There was a similar tale in the Pre-Injection races where Chris Ganderton had the upper hand on Jon Wright; James Leatham was the best of the 600’s and it was good to see Tim Poole, the Anglesey Grand winner in the three years from 1999 to 2001, picking up a good third place.


Phil Millard had won both Forgotten Era races at the Club’s one-day March meeting and was again in dominant form; he won the first three races but with an engine showing visible signs of wear and tear he sensibly withdrew from the final race; this enabled Craig Newton, another W100 rider recently returned to racing and getting faster and faster as the weekend progressed, to claim a popular victory. Stephen Kennedy and Ian Riley were the best of the rest. The Earlystocks Racing Club were guests at this meeting and shared track-time with the

Forgotten Era bikes. These beasty pre-1987 bikes were again a great spectacle with Michael Hand taking wins in the first three races and John Chambers a win in race 4,


The next Wirral Hundred meeting will take place on the Anglesey Coastal circuit over the weekend of 3rd & 4th August, one week later than its traditional date. This meeting will include a full complement of W100 championship races, together with the visit, for the thirteenth successive year, of teams competing in the ACU/FSRA British Formula 2 Sidecar championship. Well worth seeing!


Report by Dave Francis

Photos by Neil Lambert

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