Mallory Park will see the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the East Midland Racing Association on Monday 3rd May, for that is the date of the first race meeting run by EMRA under the new management of Real Motorsport, after thirty-seven years as a part of the East Midland Centre of the ACU.
Over the past 38 racing seasons EMRA has run over two hundred race meetings, putting on close to five thousand races providing racing for somewhere round forty thousand riders in that time – taking racing and practice laps into account that must be close to a million miles on the Mallory Park track.
If Monday’s entry is a guide to the rest of the season, this is going to be a vintage year for EMRA, with packed grids in almost every class, and a large handful of top class national racers getting a bit of practice in before the BSB season starts.
The Buildbase Mallory Trophy is always the star event and the entry is quite outstanding, starting with Billy McConnell, on a 1000 BMW, fellow Aussie Levi Day, South African BSB contestant Bjorn Estment, former national Supersport champion, and regular World Supersport top ten placeman Luke Stapleford, and the Buildbase Suzuki Superstock team of Tim Neave and Leon Jeacock. Add to this former national Superstock 600 champion Luke Hedger and BSS regulars Tom Ward, Ashley Beech and Tom Oliver, and I haven’t even mentioned regular EMRA front-runners like Louis Dawson, Russ Burrows and Ashley King. The majority of these riders will be racing in the Allcomers races as well, giving an extra chance to get back into full race mode before the BSB series starts.
Very much at the other end of the budget scale, but every bit as exciting to watch, is the 500 class, in which the winning margin rarely approaches a full second, and it is not uncommon for the lead to change between the Devil’s Elbow on the last lap and the finish line. Most of those who raced in the class last year are back again this year, and Darren Faulkner, Richard Blunt, Wayne Sutton, Shay Commins and Paul Sawyer are probably the most likely race winners, based on the past two years’ results.
A completely new series for 2021 is the Sound of Music two-stroke series, inspired by Alan Moreton of Alamo racing who will of course be taking part (Alan’s racing career has been going on for long enough that I can remember him racing against Cal Crutchlow’s dad) Alan will pit his 500 Suzuki against a collection of 250 and 350 Yamahas, including Stu Poulton’s 350LC
Stu will also be contesting the Earlystocks races, up against a variety of bikes that bring to mind the bike park for any major race meeting early this century – a couple of 1100 Suzukis, a FJ100 Yamaha, a collection of 750 Suzukis, a Bandit and a 750 Moto Guzzi. The Pre-injection class is the same bike park just a little more recently, with at least one of every Japanese 600, a couple of GSXR750s, a Fireblade and the likely winner, Steve Brittain’s 1000 Yamaha.
Richard Saunders was the winner of both Twins races at the final meeting last year, beating Stephen Cullen and John Bolsover, and a similar result might be expected this time, although Gary Arden is likely to be a front-runner , while the Formula 400s that race alongside the Twins might go the way of Tony Brabazon or Marcus Tatchell.
Monday is the second round of the FSRA pre-injection sidecar championship, in open and F2 classes. Local team Dave Tibbles and Rachel Greenwood should be near the front of the open class, (and if you want to learn more about pre-injection sidecar racing, Dave is the man to see) along with Simon Horton and Jordan Forrest. Round one at Oulton Park saw Rob Fisher and Sarah Stokoe win both races in the F2 class, and they start as favourites today on their Express Tyres outfit which looks exactly like the outfit Rob used to race in a different century.