Four, three, two, one – that was Louis Dawson’s countdown to success at the East Midland Racing Association championship races at Mallory park on Sunday – fourth in his first race, third in the second, second in the third and victory in the fourth and final race.
Luke Stapleford dominated the opening Tamworth Yamaha Allcomers race finishing fifteen seconds ahead of Lee Wilson who just held off the constant challenge of Phil Crowe, while Louis Dawson gradually dropped back in fourth place. In the first Buildbase Mallory Trophy race Stapleford was even more dominant, beating Phil Crowe by 22 seconds and setting a club lap record at 50.299 seconds – 99.48mph. Dawson was a close third with Wilson fourth. The Richard Jones Trophy race was absolutely wheel to wheel for the first six laps with Dawson just ahead of Crowe and Wilson, but once Crowe got ahead he was able to pull out a lead finishing three seconds ahead of Louis Dawson with Wilson in third. The second Buildbase race saw Dawson finally get a win, leading from the start, gradually pulling away from Lee Wilson with Dean Brown coming through to third.
The 500 races lived up to their reputation, the first Bridgestone/Fast Bikes race being a five man battle for most of the distance, with Paul Sawyer leading initially from Wayne Sutton, Martin Radford, Darren Faulkner and Ian Fairgrieve. Radford took the lead on lap six, then Sutton got ahead for a couple of laps, but with one lap to go it was Radford ahead again only to lose out on the final lap , Sutton taking the flag ahead of Faulkner, Radford third with Sawyer and Fairgrieve dropping away at the end. The first of the 500 minitwin races was a scrap between Faulkner, Sutton and Radford with never more than half a second covering the top three until Faulkner’s bike died on lap eight leaving Sutton to take the win 0.4 seconds ahead of Radford. Wayne Sutton beat Paul Sawyer in the second Bridgestone race, Martin Radford took the third ahead of Shay Commins and Scott Gregg, with an epic race-long four-man scrap for fourth going to Lewis Booth. The final minitwin 500 race saw Radford lead all the way from Sutton only for Sutton to take the win on the last lap; there was more bad news for Radford as his over-eager start earned him a penalty which dropped him to fourth.
A massive six-bike pile up at Gerards in qualifying seemed to have wiped out all the leading contenders in the 600 class, but fortunately there were no serious injuries and everyone managed to repair their machines. The championship leaders were a bit further down the grid than they would usually be , but that just made the opening lap even more exciting. Rich Baker was eleventh on the grid but made a lightning start and fought his way to the front by the end of lap one with Luke Burnett next up and that was how it stayed for the rest of the race while Jed Bird worked his way up from 28th
to fifth by the end. The second race saw a great scrap between Rich Baker and Jed Bird in the early stages but once Bird got the lead he started to pull away until he crashed on lap six. Baker now had Jason Taylor and Luke Burnett to worry about and they pursued him all the way to the flag, just one second covering all three at the end.
Kaine Sheriff made a tiny bit of history in the steel frame/pre-injection race – he led Steve Brittain for two laps – the first time this year that Brittain has been out of first place in any EMRA race. Steve took the win in both races to make it eight out of eight, with Sheriff second Nic Sweet third in race one, Thomas Pickford third in race two.
Annabel Thomas ran away with both the 450 races on her Moto 3 Honda, while her usual rival Jodie Fieldhouse, recovering from a broken arm, made her debut as second commentator on the race and did very well at it. It’s good to have a second string to her bow, but we still want to see her on the bike rather than the mike.
When the qualifying session for the Rookies race was being run Luke Burnett was still sellotaping his bike back together after the giant crash in the 600 session, so it was a back row start for the first Rookie race. Cory Wilson took full advantage to lead for four laps while Burnett went from last to seventh on lap one, fourth on lap two, and taking the lead on lap five with Wilson coming home second ahead of Danny Simpson who snatched third on the line from Aiden Wells. Shane Payne who started on the back row for the same reason as Burnett came through to finish fifth. The second race was another win for Burnett from Wilson with Payne third just ahead of Wells.