The 2021 season climaxed with two days at Pembrey. The 1.456-mile Welsh circuit if the longest standing venue on the NG calendar dating back to the early ‘80’s and is guaranteed to throw up a few surprises. The biggest talking point going into the weekend was who would come out on top in the Clubs premier series The Phoenix Motorcycle (Trowbridge) Open. There were just four points separating defending champion Max Symonds on his S1000R BMW and Daniel Cooper on his CBR 600 Honda. Would Max outgun Dan’s little Honda with the bigger BM, or would the nimble CBR shine on the section from Hatchets to Brooklands where handling is key?…. well, we got the answer…….
All three Open finals were fast and furious affairs with sub 58 second laps the order of the day. Both riders were on top form, and it was the closest championship
finish in the end with just ONE point separating the pair with Dan Cooper coming out on top. Cooper the former British 125GP champ fittingly took the Clubs premier class at the venue that he took his first ever win nineteen years ago!!! It was not easy though as Max Symonds pushed him all the way on every lap forcing Cooper to ride ad his immaculate best.
Cooper took race one on Saturday, and then backed that up on Sunday morning taking race two, giving him a six- point lead in the title chase. With five points for a win Cooper knew if he grabbed second on Sunday afternoon the Phoenix Open crown and The Gavin Lee Trophy would be his. Max had to win and pushed his J&C Symonds BMW to its absolute limit, wheel-spinning out of Honda and two-wheel drifting around Dibeni and the Esses. However, behind him Cooper sat half a dozen bike lengths behind looking typically Cooper-like, smooth and hitting every apex. Max took the win and both riders lapped faster than they had all weekend, it was only Greg Allsop who was able to get anywhere near them this weekend as he too consistently lapped under Pembrey’s magic minute
Max had done everything to ad the Open title for a second year but Cooper and his Dan Cooper Motorsport CBR 600 had a plan for the weekend and executed it to perfection showing why he has been one of the top riders on both track and road for almost twenty years…… British championships, Ulster GP wins, NW200 Podiums and Isle of Man TT trophies and not handed out to everyone, but Dan has them all in the trophy cabinet. They will now be joined by the Gavin Lee Trophy.
In the season long title chase Chris Pope took third place on the AFB R1 with another impressive run of thirteen top six finished and a 100% finish record, but it will be remembered as the year of two rivals on the limit out front with the lead swapping round on round.
125/250GP ACU National Championship.
Both the 125 and 250 GP title went down to the final race of the year. Philip Atkinson took the 250 British title for the fifth time but did not have the best of weekends after his TZ blew a water hose on Saturday resulting with a no score. Two nervy rides on Sunday saw his take an uncustomary ninth and fifth placing to grab the points he needed. The usual ice cool South African Atkinson showed emotions we have never seen before as he pulled into pit lane after that final race and was greeted by the Rose MOT Centre crew. Race one was taken by Bobby Varey as was race three to put him in third place in the championship behind runner up Chris Moore. The other race, in wet conditions was taken by the animated Travis Vince. His all-action style did not look it would suit the wet, but he had a great feeling on the wet track and bettered the field by almost ten seconds to take his maiden National win.
The 125 series as seen teammates Ant Hodson and Tom Hayward swap the points table topping position meeting on meeting. There was literally nothing to choose between them all this year, no one else has managed to take a race win. In the end it was down to the final race, whichever rider won would be champion. Hodson on the TCM/MDJ Racing RS125 lead into the last lap and despite Hayward setting the fastest lap of the race on the final lap it was not quite enough as Hodson the former British 250GP champ took the race by 0.012 of a second…… and with it the 125 title by just one point. Sian Brooks kept third in the title despite sitting out the weekend after breaking her collarbone during practice.
We also had the ACU 50cc and 125 Streetstock runners at Pembrey and they had some of the most mixed conditions Wales could throw at them. John Cooke qualified his 50cc Derbi on pole and looked in tops form but ended up with just one finish after he pulled in during the rain his Saturday race with Sunday seeing the bike wheeled off the start line after it failed to start. Cooke then took one win but the other 50cc class wins wend to Derek Betts on his Atkinson 50 and Warren Harvey on his one off 50cc. The Streetstock 125’s took all the overall race wins with one each to Samuel Cookson (in the wet) …. Ryan Frost (in the mixed conditions) …. and Owen Monaghan (in the dry). Frost could have had two wins as he had a huge lead in the third race but Monaghan took over two seconds out of Frost on the last lap to better his rival who was not-at-all-happy after the race, giving the crew a full-blown teenage strop after the race….. we were too scared to ask what the problem was !!
There were twenty class championships still up for grabs as we went into this Pembrey meeting with some seeing just a handful of points separating the front runners. With three points scoring races over the weekend that meant seventy-five valuable points were still available.
Below is the list of who won what in 2021. The only one I cannot reveal at this stage in the 51 Club award for Services to the Club, as that is always kept secret until the moment it is handed out on the awards night which this year will be the 50th anniversary event on 30th October and will be held at the Thruxton Circuit hospitality building.
2021 Class Champions
Junior Supersport - Finn Smart-Weeden (R3 Yamaha)
Formula 400 - Tim Bradley (FZR400 Yamaha)
500cc - Michael McKerr (TZ 250 Yamaha)
600cc - Daniel Cooper (CBR 600 Honda)
Powerbike - Max Symonds (BMW S1000R)
Open - Daniel Cooper (CBR 600 Honda)
Mini-Twins - Richard Harris (SV 650 Suzuki)
Super-Twins - Paul Wardell (ER6 Kawasaki)
Sound of Thunder - Chris Lavisher (675 Triumph Daytona)
700cc Streetstock - Daniel Nelmes (R6 Yamaha)
1300cc Streetstock - Chris Oliver (R1 Yamaha)
700cc Pre-Injection - Harley Prebble (600 Suzuki Bandit)
1300cc Pre-Injection - Richard Stather (R1 Yamaha)
500cc Newcomers - Aaron Lilly (R3 Yamaha)
Mini Twins Newcomers - Bevan Plumley (SV 650 Suzuki)
Open Newcomers - George Edwards (R6 Yamaha)
Desmo Due - A - 620cc - Chris Norris (620cc Ducati)
Desmo Due - B - 600cc - Brian Tipple (600cc Ducati)
Suzuki Bandit Challenge - Harley Prebble (600cc Suzuki Bandit) FP1
Post Classic Formula One - Keith Higgs (Harris Kawasaki)
FP2 - Battle of the Twins - Tony Hart (999 Ducati)
FP3 - 750cc Classic Superbikes - Tom Vear (ZX 7R Kawasaki)
FP4 - 1300cc Classic Superbikes - Mark Carels-Watson (GSXR 1100 Suzuki)
2021 ACU National Champions
125GP ACU National Champion - Ant Hodson (RS 125 Honda)
125GP ACU National 2nd - Tom Hayward (RS 125 Honda)
125GP ACU National 3rd - Sain Brooks (RS 125 Honda)
250GP ACU National Champion - Philip Atkinson (TZ 350 Yamaha)
250GP ACU National 2nd - Chris Moore (TZ 250 Yamaha)
250GP ACU National 3rd - Bobby Varey (TZ 250 Yamaha)
250GP NG Cup Champion - Philip Atkinson (TZ350 Yamaha)
2021 NG Road Racing Special Award Winners
Anderson Trophy Points Total - Harley Prebble
Rodney Gooch Trophy King of Combe - Josh Day
Jason P Kasch Trophy Achievement Award - Jaeden Dennis
Gary Teague Award Newcomer on a 600cc - George Edwards
Gerry Gardner Award Champion of Champions - Harley Prebble
Jamie Adam Trophy Spirit of Racing - Keith Chambers
51 Club Trophy Services to The Club - Revealed on the presentation’s night
Suzuki Bandits and Formula Prostocks.
One man has dominated the Suzuki Bandit series in 2021…. the defending champion Harley Prebble carried the number one plate in style this year with an unbeaten run with 100%-win record from Brands to Pembrey to retain the title and therefore secure the use of the immaculate Team Classic Suzuki GB supplied GSF 600 Suzuki that comes as the prize for winning the series for another year.
Keith Higgs took the FPR 1 class for F1 machines on his Harris Kawasaki, whilst Tony Hart grabbed the FPR 2 Battle of the Twins after holding off Nick Williamson and Richard Hewitt. The 750 classic superbike FRP3 had Tom Vear lift the crown on his ZX 7R Kawasaki, with Mark Carels-Watson taking the 1300cc class despite not running the full year on his GSXR 1100 Suzuki.
To find out more about the Formula Prostock Series: www.formulaprostockracing.co.uk
Ducati Desmo Series.
Chris Norris bagged the Desmo Due A class for the 620cc machines, he already had enough points on the board to enable his to sit out this final Pembrey meeting leaving Scott Wilson, Steve Mason and Andy Blomfield to fight it out for final round race honours. Brian Tipple took the B class win for the 600cc Ducati’s after securing the points he needed by taking a win in the first outing on Saturday.
To find out more about the Desmo Due Series: www.ducatisportingclub.com
Wiz Knee Sliders Performance of the Meeting.
At every NG round one lucky rider is selected for the Wiz Sliders Performance award. This meetings winner | Shaun Hennessey – YZF 750 Yamaha.
To find out more about WIZ Sliders: www:wizsliders.com
Images courtesy | Hairy Beast Pix | www.hairybeastpix.co.uk
Words : Russ Gardner - NG Road Racing Media Officer