Bemsee’s first champion of 2020 was crowned at Donington Park, as Mark Bridger wrapped up the Powerbike title with a round to spare of the shortened season. Yet other championships were left wide open after the visit to Leicestershire circuit.
Reactive Parts MRO Powerbikes and MSS Performance Clubman 1000
Mark Bridger clinched the Reactive Parts MRO Powerbike title at the penultimate round of the shortened four-round season, and he did it in style taking pole position and three wins. Ryan Warrington also secured the 2020 Clubman crown with three class wins.
Arriving with a 35 point series lead, Bridger’s plight was made easier with the absence of nearest title rival Peter Baker, but as the adage goes, you have to be in it to win it.
Aboard his Moremoto Yamaha R1 Bridger set pole by nearly two tenths of a second, before racing to victory in Saturday’s 10-lap affair. He took the chequered flag over three seconds to the good, his second win of the season after taking his first last time out at Cadwell Park.
BMW-mounted Daniel Johnson bettered Ritchie Thornton to the silver medal position, three tenths the difference at the line.
Warrington took the last point in 15th and with it picked up his first Clubman 1000 win of the weekend.
Sunday’s doubleheader saw Bridger take a brace of wins to seal the title with a round to spare. Setting the fastest lap on both occasions, he was again joined on the podium by Johnson in the first of the day’s races, who narrowly bettered Ryan Gibson for second.
Gibson was second in the final race of the weekend, with Phillip Baker third. 14th and 13th placed finishes for Warrington gave him the Clubman wins and this year’s title.
In the four L&W Rookie 1000 races over the weekend James Crawshaw took a brace of wins, with Kenny Fretwell and Steve Thompson taking a win apiece.
Team Respro MRO 600
Michael Mills began the weekend at Donington Park with a 55 point lead over Dawid Krawiecki in the Team Respro MRO 600s, but a difficult weekend that saw him take just one podium plus a DNS from the four races made sure the title fight would go down to the wire.
Instead Carl Phillips took a hat-trick of victories on his PRF Racing Suzuki GSX-R600, with the other win going to Louis Valleley on the Yamaha.
The weekend started strongly for Mills, the championship leader securing pole by over half a second from Glenn Walsh. He then narrowly missed out on the victory in race one, and after eight laps of the Donington National Circuit he was bested by Carl Phillips by just over a hundredth of a second.
A similarly tight margin decided third, as Ben Wotton bettered Welsh.
Sadly for Mills the weekend went downhill after that, as he crashed out of race two. The shortened restarted race was won by Valleley from Phillips, Wotton, and Mills’ nearest title rival Krawiecki, the four riders all crossing the line within a second.
Mills raced to eighth in the first of Sunday’s outings, but gave further ground away to Krawiecki, who finished on the podium in third, just behind Phillips and Valleley. However, he managed to claw back four points in race four, taking fifth as Krawiecki crossed the line in ninth.
The win again went to Phillips as he and Valleley duked it out for the 25 championship points on offer. A tenth of a second was the split at the chequered flag. Half a second back was Wotton in third.
In the Clubman class reigning Rookie 600 champion Cedric Bloch grabbed a brace of victories, with the other two wins being shared by Thomas Bensted and Alex Barker.
The Rookie 600 spoils were split between Philip Storrow, who won the opening race, before Mitchell Gilbert took three wins.
ACU Team Green Championship
Four wins for Joe Thomas during the penultimate round of the ACU Team Green Championship all-but sealed the crown, as he now boasts nearly a 100 point lead going into the final round at Brands Hatch.
Thomas converted a front row qualifying into a cleansweep of victories, and with the wins also extended his lead in the Senior 300 class over Mark Hardy, who took two seconds and two thirds in class with a best of ninth overall.
Winning race one by nearly 10 seconds, Thomas led home polesitter Fred McMullan, McMullan collecting the Junior Cup victory. Jack Kirsch came out on top in the fight for third, beating Junior Cup series leader Mikey Hardie to the chequered flag.
It was another healthy margin of victory for Thomas in race two, as he again crossed the line 10 seconds to the good. Behind, however, five riders took the flag within two seconds, as they scrapped over the remaining podium positions.
The runner-up spot went to Junior Cup winner and championship leader Hardie, ahead of Harrison Dessoy, McMullan, Kirsch, and Owen Mellor.
On Sunday Thomas won twice again, from McMullan on both occasions. In race three of the weekend McMullan’s second and Junior Cup win came narrowly ahead of Hardie, Kirsch, and Dessoy, just half a second covering the four of them. In the last race McMullan held off Mellor by a tenth of a second.
ProperlyProtected.co.uk MRO Minitwins
Glynn Davies won all four races at Donington but the pendulum swung in the championship battle between Matt Wetherell and Dan Harris.
Wetherell arrived leading Harris by just four points, but after four races Harris sits on nine-point advantage with one round to go.
As Wetherell finished eighth twice on Saturday, Harris collected two podium finishes, taking third behind Jake Povah in race one and Keith Povah in race two.
Just over half a second covered four riders in the first of Sunday’s two races, as Davies, Jake and Keith Povah, and Wetherell battled for the win. Two and a half seconds back of Wetherell was Harris, limiting the damage to his new-found championship lead, though he had the attention of John Reynolds to deal with.
Wetherell and Harris again crossed the line one after the other in race four, this time in fifth and sixth, as Davies again raced to victory. Keith Povah and Reynolds completed the podium.
Craig Henstock collected four Rookie Minitwin wins, with a best finish of 11th.
Steve Jordan Motorcycles Thunderbike Sport
Two wins and two second places ensure Jack Sim held onto his championship lead at Donington Park, but he will still have a job to do at Brands Hatch if he’s to clinch the title at the final round.
Sim was unable to match title rival Elliot Fricker’s pace in race one, as Fricker set a best lap time some half a second quicker than Sim to take victory. The two title protagonists were in a class of their own, however, with third place Ricardo Branco nearly 10 seconds further behind.
It was the same top two in the second race, but after being disqualified for a technical infringement in race one, Cedric Bloch came through to finish third.
A podium covered by just one second in race three saw Sim reverse his fortunes from Saturday, as this time he bested Fricker to 25 championship points with Roger Marsh third.
Sim was again victorious in race four but saw his championship challenge take a boost as Fricker crossed the line in fifth after a mistake in the race dropped him down the order. Racing unchallenged to the win, Sim took victory by 10 seconds as Robert Saltmer took his first podium of the season. Edward Watson took his third rostrum finish of the year on the final step.
Steve Jordan Motorcycles Thunderbike Extreme & Thunderbike Ultra
Not content with wins and podiums and extending his championship lead in the Thunderbike Sport class, Jack Sim was in action aboard his Thunderbike Extreme Yamaha R6, as he attempts to hunt down championship leader Andy Saunders, while the Ultra championship remained wide open.
And the weekend started as anyone chasing down a series leader would have hoped, with a victory. Crossing the line ninth overall, Sim took the win from championship leader Saunders in 10th.
At the front of the combined grid Steve Palmer took the overall win on a K6 Suzuki GSX-R1000, just over half a second up on Josh Harvey, who, after four wins at Cadwell Park, launched himself into title contention. Mark Wilby finished third and assumed the championship lead from Jamie Thomas, who struggled to 13th.
Five riders covered by less than two and a half seconds in the second race saw Palmer take another win, as Wilby and Harvey’s second and third respectively gave Thomas even more work to do if he is to claim the championship, as he finished 10th.
Saunders’ sixth place gave him the Extreme class win, as Sim finished second in class and ninth overall.
Sunday’s double-header saw Harvey twice win from Wilby in the Ultra class, with Saunders picking up two thirds overall and two Extreme class wins.
RKB-F1 & F2 Sidecars
It was a winning weekend for John and George Holden in the RKB-F1 and F2 sidecar races, however, the father and son were split over two pairings on the grid, with John Holden paired up with Jake Lowther - using this meeting to test for BSB later in the season - while George Holden leads the club F1 championship with Oscar Lawrence.
John Holden and Lowther were victorious in both of Saturday’s races, winning from George Holden and Lawrence and Simon Gilbert and Paul Thomas (also BSB runners) in race one. In race two Gilbert and Thomas went one better to finish second, demoting Holden and Lawrence to third.
Finishing fourth overall in race one was the SRT Motorcycles-sponsored outfit of Allan Schofield and Matt Rostrom, who picked up the F2 win. Fourth in race two went to Dan Knight and Ben Hughes, who made it two F2 winners in two races.
Holden and Lawrence extended their championship lead with two wins on Sunday, each time crossing the line ahead of Gilbert and Thomas, the margin of victory seven seconds in the day’s first race, before Gilbert and Thomas almost pipped it in the final race, the deficit just over a tenth of a second.
The F2 winner also finished on the overall podium in each race, as Knight and Hughes bagged another win, before Brian Ilaria and Matther Sims took the final F2 win of the weekend.
DFDS Yamaha Past Masters
Peter Branton’s championship challenge was firmly placed back on track at Donington Park, after the former title-winner picked up all four wins, while two DNFs for rival Carson gave him work to do.
With Carson only lasting a couple of laps before retiring, Branton was able to race to victory unchallenged in race one, crossing the line seven seconds ahead of Scott Grant and Geoff Mook, the battle for second that went to the wire. Billy Perkins finished an impressive fourth as the Clubman class winner.
Carson returned to action in race two and had a good go at usurping Branton, but could only take second behind the veteran racer. Grant was back on the podium in third, as Perkins’ sixth gave him another Clubman win.
Grant found that little extra on Sunday morning to take the fight to Branton and Carson, the youngster chasing Branton all the way to the finish, but he could do nothing to prevent him making it three from three. He did, however, get the better of Carson, who still managed to take valuable championship points in third.
However, Carson’s title bid would falter in the final race, as he carded another DNF while Branton went on to collect another 25 points. Grant bagged another third ahead of Andy Bown, who made it onto the podium before the weekend was out.
A seventh and fifth gave Perkins two more Clubman wins.
EDIasia Formula 400
With seven wins and a non-score from eight races so far Chris Burrage held a 70-point in the EDIasia Formula 400s, but with the series leader absent, it gave closest rival James Seath chance to close in and ensure it is settled at the season finalé at Brands Hatch in October.
Seath collected a win, two seconds and a third from the weekend’s four races at Donington Park to move 11 points clear of Burrage, but you can guarantee that Brands specialist Burrage will be back to try and take the title.
It was former class champion Richie Welsh who qualified on pole and took the win in race one aboard his Yamaha FZR400, with Seath second and Mark Thompson a lonely third. Fifth overall was Carl Johnstone, the Sub-64bhp class winner.
If race one was a bit of a spread out affair, race two was the opposite, as Seath, Welsh, and Thompson took the chequered flag with just over a second covering the trio of them. Geoff Mook’s fifth handed him the Sub-64bhp spoils.
Seath took his lowest finish of the weekend in the first of Sunday’s two races, completing the podium in third as Welsh comfortably led Thompson home ahead of him. Welsh made it three wins for his weekend’s efforts in the final race, just edging away from the battling duo behind of Seath and Thompson. In the end four hundredths of a second placed Seath in the runner-up spot, as he moved ahead of Burrage in the championship standings for the first time with a round to go.
A fifth and a fourth gave Jordan Harris the day’s Sub-64bhp wins.
G-Force Blue Haze GP and GPF
Phil Atkinson was beaten for the first time this season in the Blue Haze GP class, after previously winning every race he’d finished. The South African racer finished second in race two, losing out to Kevin Wholey.
Aside from that blip though, it was business as usual as he took a hat-trick of wins.
His victory in race one came ahead of a closely-fought duel between Jonathan Stamper and Wholey, before being bested in race two by Wholey as Stamper chased him home in third.
It was an Atkinson Wholey one-two twice on Sunday, with Scott Grand and Stamper shared a third place each.
In the road bike-derived GPF races Paul Toland was untouchable, winning all four outings including one by 23 seconds. Peter Moore picked up three second places, the other going to Andrew Burscough, with the four bronze medals available going to Richard Hayward, Burscough, and twice to Clive Emerson.
Chilton Motors MZ Championship
Maximum points at Donington Park for the penultimate round of the Chilton Motors MZ Championship further elevated Peter Woodall to champion-elect, as he extended his series lead with a round to go.
Three tenths of a second split Woodall from his closest rival, Andrew Wales, in race one, the pair the class of the field as Chris Kent claimed third.
Kent managed to go one better in race two, putting himself between Woodall and Wales but it was another Woodall win, which further extended his advantage at the top of the points table.
Wales twice finished runner-up on Sunday to Woodall, with Kent twice third. Despite the clean-sweep Woodall was still under pressure and far from dominant on track. Wales finished half a second back in race one on Sunday and only a second adrift in the final race. It will be an uphill battle at Brands, but while the season isn’t over yet, Wales has only beaten Woodall once this year.