Cadwell Park provided the arena for a thrilling conclusion to the 2019 NoraSport British Supermoto Championship where round eight would crown the overall champion.
Going into the event there could have been any of three contenders walking away with the title and with just a few points separating 2018 title holder Richard Blakeman, along with Jordan Bannon and Jamie Duncan the scene was set for the battle to take place on the stunning Lincolnshire parkland circuit.
With Blakeman topping the points chart at the opening of the Sunday there was no doubt that both Duncan and Bannon would have their eyes firmly focused on the prize. However, sitting in fourth spot would be the multi British Supermoto Champion Andy Mitchell preparing himself for any hiccups with the first three contenders.
The morning presented a dilemma for organisers as the circuit was shrouded in low lying fog making visibility a concern, but within a short period of time the conditions improved and the riders were unleashed from the holding area to take part in a series of three races (for each class) to confirm champion titles across a number of classes.
As spectators gathered anticipation was growing ahead of what would turn out to be one of the greatest series of races seen across the whole of the NoraSport 2019 season.
With a damp circuit, race one would be a lottery for tyre choice and a mixture of tyre combinations were evident as the riders lined up on the grid.
Team WD40 British Superbike 600 Superstock rider Storm Stacey secured the opening race pole position aboard a Husqvarna FS450, and with a long history of taking part in the British Supermoto Championship he is very familiar with this style of riding. The front row consisted of Stacey, Bannon and Pearce, with Blakeman on second row and Duncan on the third row respectively.
As the lights extinguished the charge into the first long left hander was akin to a group of warriors going into combat with handlebar to handlebar action clearly evident. After the lead changing in some of the closest racing seen for some time it would be Richard Blakeman (Fat n Fast Racing) who jubilantly crossed the line in first place at the conclusion of the ten hard fought laps, with Bannon (HGR) second, Bradley Hardy third (HGR), Jay Smith (HGR) and Duncan down in fifth position (Pope Racing).
With an improving dry line appearing the Cadwell Park surface would give more confidence to riders, but still some reservations were being shown with tyre choice as for the run through the wooded section and exiting Barn corner could still throw up some unexpected surprises.
Race two, and Blakeman would line up on pole with a clear view ahead into the first flat out sweeping left hander ‘Charlies One’, to retain his British title he was under no misconception that he needed to keep at the front of the pack to secure maximum points. As the race got underway it was a repeat of the dash into the first corner and as riders headed off into the distance the autumn skyline was giving strong indication of improving conditions ahead.
Within a few laps it would be Storm Stacey who made his way to the front leaving title competitors to mix things up behind with the main fight being between Blakeman, Bannon and Smith. Jay Smith was certainly showing his abilities aboard his HGR Husqvarna and repeatedly switching places at the head of the pack. The last lap, and as riders entered the woodland section Blakeman pushed on hard which caused him to run wide taking to the grass and allowing one of the main rivals for the title Jamie Duncan ahead of him and with the finish line but a few hundreds meters away the furious Blakeman banged his handlebars in annoyance at the mistake as he crossed the line down in fifth. The conclusion of race two it would be Stacey from Bannon in second, Jay Smith third, Duncan fourth and Blakeman fifth.
The final race of the day loomed and with the points tally showing Duncan at the head of the Championship, Blakeman and Bannon in joint second, at this point the title could still go anyway.
With temperatures lowering but still plenty of dry lines evident the circuit was ready to accommodate the grand finale of the 2019 British Supermoto Championship.
Taking his place on the grid Storm Stacey had Bannon and Smith to his left, with Duncan, Blakeman and Scott Murray lining up on the second row behind him. As the race Director took his stand in the starting gantry the plethora of Supermoto machines reaching to the back of the grid were all prepared to take go into contention for the concluding race of the season.
As the lights changed yet again the group headed into the first corner with a display of sparking boot and peg sliders glowing in the lowering autumn horizon. Settling into the lead it would be Stacey making a clear break at the front, but chasing championship contenders were not focused on chasing him down as they were only focused on the overall prize.
It would be both Blakeman and Bannon who would repeatedly switch positions with a display of confident and respectful riding. This aside the crowd were holding their breath as evidence was emerging of some of the closest racing seen for years, Bannon then Blakeman…Blakeman then Bannon but at the conclusion it would be Stacey who took the chequered flag. Anticipation built to a crescendo when Bannon and Blakeman entered the woodland section and who would emerge with the line in sight? After what felt like minutes, not seconds, it would be Bannon who appeared with Blakeman in his wheel tracks and as the approached the line it would be Bannon who secured second, with Blakeman third in the race. But where was the other title contender, Duncan? He soon also appeared out of the treeline in sixth place with Pearce and Smith ahead.
This meant that Jamie Duncan had secured his first well deserved British Supermoto Championship, leaving Jordan Bannon to take second and Richard Blakeman third.
A fitting conclusion to a season long championship which has visited circuits across the UK, but also a tribute to the three Team GB riders who ended up contending for the overall British title.
Congratulations to Jamie and all those who have walked away with honours in their respective classes.
Report: Neil Jay
Image: Peter Barlow