Tuesday August 13, 2019 at 11:17am
The stars of the fifth round EMRA championship races at Mallory were the medical staff and the marshals on a day that could be best described as challenging where constant changes in the weather made life difficult for riders. A massive oil spill at the hairpin on lap one of qualifying gave a clue that this might be a difficult day, but after the rest of qualifying passed off relatively calmly, race one began in sunshine, but by the time the riders had reached Edwina’s the rain was lashing down, causing the race to be stopped, while the downpour affected the covering on the oil slick at the hairpin, resulting in an early lunch break and the prospect of running nineteen ten-lap races starting at 1pm. It was a magnificent performance by all concerned to run the full programme after a number of red flag incidents, even though the last few races were cut to five-laps.
The Bridgestone/Fast Bikes 500 class has provided the greatest excitement at every EMRA meeting this year, and Sunday’s races hit a new level both in terms of close finishes and the determination to turn the circuit into a combination of CB500 scrapyard and al fresco A & E department.
In the first race championship leader Martin Radford started from pole position, but crashed out on the first lap, while Mitchell Baines started at the back of the grid and took just three laps to get to the front and then pull away to beat Shay Commins by ten seconds. The second race began with a horrifying accident just after the start when Terry Allsop hit the barrier, and Mitchell Baines was thrown in the air landing astride the Armco barrier before crashing to the ground. The medical staff did a brilliant job and although both riders were swiftly taken to hospital, both are in much better condition than was feared at the time. The restarted race was a typical CB500 race with a six-man battle at the front until the eighth lap when it seemed that Martin Radford and Robert Carver had got the edge, but on the final lap both went down at Edwina’s and it was Paul Sawyer who got the win ahead of Darren Faulkner and Carl Stevens. The first of the 500 Twins races got as far as the Esses on lap one when four went down and the red flag came out. A slightly depleted field saw Carl Stevens get away in the shortened re-run with Robert Carver in second just ahead of a three man scrap for third which saw Shay Commins grab the lead on the final circuit from John McLaren and Howard James. William Shaw has hardly raced this year, but the former EMRA champion had got his eye in by the time of the third 500 race taking four laps to get ahead of Paul Sawyer, but Sawyer had no intention of giving up on a victory and the two were wheel to wheel for the final three laps with Shaw getting the verdict by 0.017 seconds. Those who thought there couldn’t possibly be a closer finish than that were swiftly proved wrong as the final Twin race saw Robert Carver fend off the challenge of Carl Stevens by eight thousandths of a second with Shay Commins just beating John McLaren for third place.
Brad Ray won the first Buildbase Mallory Trophy race, but the plan to use the meeting as a test day didn’t pan out too well as a shower developed early in the first allcomers race, and in the second event he pulled out when the rain came down three laps in – no doubt thinking what the team would say if he wrote the Suzuki off. Lee Wilson took second after a race-long scrap with louis Dawson, and then had an even fiercer battle in the second race but ended up second to Dawson, with Luke Burnett taking the 600 open category in both races. The first allcomers race looked like going to Dawson in the early stages but as the track dried Ryan Oliver managed to get by on lap eight and edge away to win, the result being reversed in the second race.
Steve Brittain has still not been beaten in the pre-injection/steel frame events, although it looked as though that record was going to go in the first race as Kaine Sherriff led early on, was passed by Brittain, but then got ahead once more, only to tip off at the hairpin with two laps to go. Brittain was well ahead of the rest of his class in the second race but found himself battling with Joseph Thomas on a Minitwin Suzuki, finishing a tenth of a second down, but making it ten out of ten wins in the class.
Earlystocks and Formula Lightweight bikes make an interesting and well-matched combination, Darren Corkett’s VFR400 finishing one-fifth of a second ahead of James Fisher on a CBX Honda – a real David and Goliath struggle. In the second race it was Mark Ess on his beautiful Rothmans-liveried VFR750 who beat Corkett by half a second.
Luke Burnett has dominated the Powerslide/Properly Protected Rookie series all season, and Sunday continued his run of victories, making it nine out of ten with a double over Rafal Kisyk with Cory Wilson (Lee’s nephew) third in both, making Luke the most successful rider of the day, with four wins from four starts .
Jodie Fieldhouse won both 450 races from Louis Jones, with Kim Rose taking the GP125 class both times while Paul Kirby and Thomas Graves won both sidecar events.