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Fantastic Return for Wirral 100 at Oulton Park

Tuesday April 27, 2021 at 1:13pm
Fantastic Return for Wirral 100 at Oulton Park
After an 18-month Covid break, the Wirral Hundred club returned to racing at Oulton Park on Saturday 24th April. There was a plentiful response from riders, officials, marshals and medics eager to return to action and the weather simply could not have been better, particularly after the experience of Storm Hannah, when the club last visited Oulton in April 2019. There were few disruptions and the programme of sixteen 7-lap races was completed in its entirety.

All credit to the six riders who had double wins in the W100 championship races – Lee Williams, Joe Talbot, Chris Moore, Andy Sailor, Tim Bradley and Tim Poole and in the guest classes to Phil Atkinson (350cc GP Originals) and Rob Fisher & Sarah Stokoe (FSRA F2 Pre-Injection Sidecars). The marshals’ vote for the Paul Leonard rider-of-the meeting award, however, went unsurprisingly to the youngster Joe Talbot for his impressive domination of the two Formula 600 races.

The pre-race favourite in the Carl Roberts / Emjess Racing Powerbikes class was the Thundersport champion Lee Williams from Liverpool and he did not disappoint. A clear 2 secs faster than the rest of the field in practice, he won the first race by 10 secs and the second by 13 secs, chased home each time by David Brook, a new W100 name from Halifax, and David Jones, getting some mileage under his belt prior to the Ducati TriOptions series. Mathew Waldron, Richie Thornton and Nathan Harrison took the minor placings in both races.

This is the fourth year for the Pre-2009/Pre-Electronics Powerbikes category and the two race wins were taken by Tim Poole (Ducati) from nearby Northwich ahead of two other highly experienced racers, Steve Jones and Jon Wright.

The AS Racing Formula 600 class was similar to the Powerbikes, with one rider dominating, and some great racing behind him. Joe Talbot was 7th in the BSB National Superstock 600 series in 2020, and his talent showed with his two comfortable wins. The battles for second place were quite brilliant with Manx GP winner Nathan Harrison sneaking it from regular W100 winner Adrian Kershaw in the first race, the positions being reversed in the second race. Chris Eden and Chris Jones swapped 4th & 5th positions, with Ben Rea taking two 6th’s.

There was a wonderful hotch-potch of machines that came to the grid in the 100 - 500cc Allcomers races, ranging from 125cc GP, 250cc GP & Moto3 machines, 400cc production bikes old and new, and a few Classics in-between. Two years ago these races were won by the then 18 years-old Brandon Paasch from the USA; he went on to win the BSB Motostar championship that year and a month ago won the iconic Daytona 500 race! The winner of both races this year was the experienced Chris Moore (250 Yam) and whilst he is unlikely to have the same meteoric rise as Paasch, they were nevertheless impressive performances winning the first race by 9 secs and the second by 3 secs. Adrian Kershaw predictably had a 2nd and a 3rd, and teenager Osian Jones a 3rd and a 4th ahead of his season in the BSB Junior Supersport series. It was good to see former big-bike TT specialist Ian Mackman come out of retirement for this meeting and take a 6th and a 9th on a 250 Aprilia.

In the Creation Campers Golden Era Supersport races, there was a mix of fortunes. Two welcome newcomers to top spots in W100 racing, Paul Sommerville and fastest-in-practice Jordan Bridge,  took the top two places in race one, just ahead of Martin Clare and Craig Makin. However, the top two both had DNF’s in race two, which was comfortably won by Martin Clare ahead of James Leatham and Leon Donachy. We again could be in for an interesting season ahead.

In the 650 Twins race one Sean Seddon proved that his top spot in practice was no fluke by taking the win 2 secs ahead of Mike Bampton, who is seeking to win the W100 championship for the fourth time in a row, with Craig Kelly in 3rd place. Sean Seddon did not appear in race two and it was back to normal with Mike Bampton taking a 9 secs win ahead of the Evans brothers Liam and David.

The club had been encouraged to introduce a class for 1000cc Twins and whilst the entry this time was very modest, two riders dominated. Tim Poole (Ducati) won the first race by 15secs from Nick Williamson (Honda), but the gap between the two was only 0.3secs in the second.

The Pre-Injection prediction was that Mike Bampton (750 Kawasaki) would take some beating and sure enough he was fastest in practice but then gremlins got in the way. Both wins went to Andy Sailor (also 750 Kawasaki), the first by a very dominant 26 secs, the second by 16 secs. It was definitely a family affair with Jake (600 Yam) following his Dad home with two 2nd places, whilst Matthew Miller (1000 Yamaha) and David Greenwood (750 Suzuki) each taking a 3rd place.

The Forgotten Era races were real blasts from the past. Many-times club champion Tim Bradley was back to normal on his 400 Yam with impressive wins in both races. Former club champion Tim Kermode returned to racing and took a solid 2nd place in race one ahead of Colin Sleigh, whilst a different regular duo, Tim Sayers and Adrian Morris, took the podium spots in race two.

The feature race for the W100 Classic Bike riders was the David Swallow Memorial Race. Richard Molnar (Molnar Manx) had been fastest in practice and led for six laps from Mark Cronshaw (Unity BSA) but on the last lap Cronshaw nipped ahead to win by 0.3 secs, a great race. Alan Oversby was the fastest of the Japanese four-cylinder bikes in 3rd place, ahead of Harley Rushton, David Tetley and Sam Clews. The awards presentation in parc ferme, involving all of the riders and dad Bill, was a fitting tribute to the Swallow family and, in particular, to David’s memory. The second Classic race was a more straightforward affair with Mark Cronshaw claiming a 14secs win from Richard Molnar with Harley Rushton in 3rd.

The solos’ guest class was the nationwide GP Originals series for 2-stroke GP machines manufactured in the 1970’s and early 1980’s; this was their first championship round of the year. Covid meant that there was no championship in 2020 but in the 350cc class the very experienced South African rider Phil Atkinson carried on from where he left off in 2019, winning both races by comfortable margins. Glen English and Ant Hart were 2nd and 3rd in race 1, whilst Ant Hart moved up a place in race 2 ahead of Chris Moore. In the 250cc category the race one win was taken by Nigel Palmer from Jamie O’Brien and Colin Sleigh, but it was all change in race two with Phil Stead taking the win from Gary Vines with Palmer 3rd. It was a pleasure to host this round of the championship and to see such a good entry and hopefully the GP Originals will be back with the Club again next year.

The other guest championship was the FSRA Wintec Pre-Injection Sidecars; as with W100 and the GP Originals there was no championship last year and this was their first round this year. The many times TT-winner Rob Fisher dominated the F2 class in 2019 and this time, with experienced stand-in passenger Sarah Stokoe alongside him, he again dominated proceedings, winning both races very comfortably.  Liam & James Saunders were 2nd  in both races. In the F1 category there was no such domination with Joe Heys & Gary Wheeler winning the first race from John Shipley & Milo Ward, and Simon Horton & Jordan Forest winning the second race; the Shipley / Ward team were again 2nd.

These P-I outfits shared track time with the W100 Open Sidecars class. Immediately ahead of this meeting was the funeral of Dave Holden, who had been a great supporter of W100 for many years and who probably won more sidecar races at Oulton Park than any other driver; he was also a lovely guy. Fitting then that race one was won by Dave’s proteges, Lewis Blackstock & Pat Rosney from the unrelated former TT-winner John Holden, with Jason Pitt alongside, followed by Simon Robinson & Mick Fairhurst. The Holden / Pitt duo won race two from Sam & Adam Christie, with George Holden & Oscar Lawrence in third place. Each of these five crews are competing in World or British championship campaigns this year, and the Club wishes them well for the season ahead.

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Next race meeting – The next Wirral Hundred race meeting is scheduled to take place at Anglesey over the weekend of 26th & 27th June. Currently this meeting is still subject to an appropriate easing of the lockdown rules in Wales but the club hopes to confirm it in the next few weeks.

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Jack Scrivener, RIP – the Club’s test day on Friday 23rd April was overshadowed by the death of Jack Scrivener, a rider from Newmarket in Suffolk. Jack suffered a heart attack in the paddock area and despite strenuous attempts by the MSV / W100 medical team, he sadly passed away. We send our sincere condolences to his family and close friends.

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