ACU 250 National GP Final
Tuesday October 26, 2010 at 9:38am
Kenchington secures 2nd in title race while Champion Sawford closes the series in fine style
The final round of the 2010 250GP ACU National Championship & NG Cup headed for Silverstone where, expectations that the weather would play a part came to fruition.
The Fraser’s of Gloucester and Dunlop backed 250 title was secured last time out at Thruxton, but 2nd in the Championship race was still to be decided here on the National Circuit.
Qualifying was wet, and newly crowned NG Cup Champion Adrian Martin slid his Graham File Tuning / J&RB Racing TZ to pole where he sat for the majority of the session. With 2 minutes remaining in the session, Andrew Sawford lapped in exactly the same time as Martin on board the St Neot’s Motorcycles TZ. As Martin had set his lap earlier, he took the number 1 slot putting the 2 Champions 1 and 2 on the grid, but not necessarily in the order one might expect. The 2009 Davies vs Davis showdown at the final round also ended in a dead heat in qualifying. A very unfamiliar sight was Alex Kenchington sitting the session out having only completed 2 flying laps and languishing down in 19th on the grid. A frantic strip down revealed a wrecked lower cylinder. Some very fast rebuild work with the vastly experienced Dennis Trollope on hand, ensured the Somerset star would make the start and challenge for the title runner up spot.
Kenchington’s rival and challenger for that slot was the MDJ Racing / TSM Yamaha mounted Ant Hodson who made no mistakes claiming 4th on the grid one behind Lee Goddard’s LLG Racing RS Honda, who was having his strongest day of the year so far.
With Adrian Martin’s impressive pole position heading everyone, not just the Cup challengers, Scunthorp’s Simon Hunt was next followed by Paul McCullagh, Sian Brooks and Chris Harrison. Henry Cox’s challenge for 2nd in the NG Cup title race took a serious blow in free practice earlier on in the morning as he slid off uninjured in the difficult conditions, but causing a surprising amount of damage to the PHC Racing Yamaha. He just rebuilt in time for the start but from the back of the grid.
With 2 warm up laps complete due to the change in conditions from qualifying, the final round of the year started in dry but overcast conditions. Pole sitter Adrian Martin was 4th from last into Copse for the first time as Sawford set his stall out and led from the off. With Hodson sat in 2nd at the end of lap 1 he looked set to secure the same spot in the Championship judging by Kenchington’s workload in battling through from his 5th row start.
16 year old Scott Pitchers looked very comfortable in 3rd and a lap later had slipped past Ant Hodson into 2nd. By now Kenchington was the fastest man on circuit and astonishingly had battled through to 4th by lap 4 and also moved past Hodson next time around. On lap 6 with Sawford only half a second in front of Pitchers, spots of rain were reported from most locations around the circuit as the lap times dropped to prove the point. Hodson made his move back past Kenchington into 3rd, with Rich Grinling in 5th, Dan Jackson in 6th and 2009 NG Cup Champ Dave Hampton in 7th.
With 12 laps scheduled, at the end of the 8th lap, the race was halted as conditions worsened and with enough laps completed, a result was declared with Sawford collecting his 7th victory of the year and only half a second back was Lower Compton’s Scott Pitchers on board his Honda with his best result of the season. Completing the podium was Ant Hodson very closely followed by Alex Kenchington, at which point the calculators came from all directions in a bid to work out the final Championship standings between Hodson and Kenchington. 5th was eventually secured by Rich Grinling, The Team Sigie TZ of Dan Jackson was 6th. Southampton’s Dave Hampton was 7th Jon Stamper’s Graham File Tuning TZ was 8th and Colin Wilcock was delighted he made the trip to collect 9th position, on board his Welch Mill Paint & MOT Centre backed TZ. Rounding out the top 10 was Lee Goddard on his LLG Racing Honda
In yet another twist Kenchington and Hodson finish the year with 216 points each, and they both have 2 wins apiece however, Kenchington takes the runner up spot based on more 2nd place finishes than his rival – nice and simple then!
The NG Cup title may have been resolved last time out but again, the runners up positions were all to play for. With champion Adrian Martin sitting in pole position he looked odds on to clear off as far as the Cup race was concerned. But his poor start opened the way for Chippenham’s Paul McCullagh, looking to end the season with a much deserved win. He led the Cup battle throughout as Martin was left to pick his way through the pack, and eventually settled for 2nd after getting involved in a great battle with Market Harborough’s Fred Burbidge in the latter part of the shortened race. Sian Brooks held a slender 2nd position in the Series entering this final round, and did not disappoint as she took the Spyre Ltd RS Honda to a 10th podium of the year. Henry Cox was next up in 4th less than a second down on Brooks. His back row start and lack of track time following his early practice off made his result all the more special and, meant he retained his 3rd position in the series by just 2 points from McCullagh
250GP NG Cup newcomer Simon Hunt made his debut ride a successful one as he trailed Cox home again less than 1 second back. The RS Honda mounted Scunthorpe rider has pledged to return next year having enjoyed his first outing in the series.
There were several candidates for the Dunlop Performance of the Day award, Henry Cox’s battle from the back of the grid, Kenchington’s race from his 5th row start, both working flat out to rebuild for different reasons during the morning in time for the race. Adrian Martin for his Pole position and hard race to the runner up spot in the Cup: Not to mention Andy Sawford’s dominance and superb win, to make sure he ended his Championship winning year on a high. But for the second time this season it went to Scott Pitchers who collected his first podium after only riding a 250 for the first time mid season, having gained his National Licence to allow him to do so. Scott and his father have become a formidable team running with the very best in the country and at only 16 years of age, we really have found a star in the making. Watch out for the youngster from Lower Compton, if he gets the right support – he will be on your TV soon!
Final Championship standings: Sawford 253, Kenchington 216, Hodson 216, Grinling 103, Jackson 103, Mecham 98, Linton 90, Hampton 82, Higgins 73.
Final NG Cup standings: Martin 270, Brooks 214, Henry Cox 194, McCullagh 192, Lou Goddard 112, Harrison 92, Smithson 84, Murphy 70, Skaire 47, Trattner 46.
Images and Media coverage available from official championship photographer – Nigel Dike at EDP Photo News- firstname.lastname@example.org www.edpphoto.com or simply call 07774 170235 / 01249 2412
For more information on the 250GP ACU National Championship & NG Cup plus full details about NG Road Racing events and Championships, visit www.ngroadracing.org