Stuart Hall clinches ACU Post Classic 350cc Championship
Using a Maxton RT10 TZ350 monoshock and Maxton's GP20 front fork cartridges Stuart Hall managed to secure the ACU Post Classic 350cc Championship.
well as using Maxton suspension Stuart won the championship using a Maxton framed TZ350 originally built by Ron in the late seventies.
Stuart dominated the championship with 3 wins, 1 second place and a fourth at Snetterton. The fourth place was secured whilst holding the carberettor against the manifold with his left hand after a mis-fire blew it off on the penultimate lap. He was leading the race at the time by the length of the back straight but had to slow whilst riding one handed.
Dominant display by KMR Kawasaki at Bishopscourt
Ryan Farquhar's KMR Kawasaki team put in a dominant display at Bishopscourt on Saturday when they blitzed the opposition in the two Supertwin races at the annual Sunflower Trophy meeting. With Jeremy McWilliams and Jamie Hamilton joining Ryan on the ER6 650cc machines, the trio were never headed and completed a stunning 1-2-3 in both races as Hamilton and McWilliams took the race wins.
With mixed weather conditions at the 2.136-mile International circuit, McWilliams was having his first ever outing on the bike and having missed practice on Friday, 5 laps in morning warm-up enabled him to start the first 9-lap race from the back of the grid although he soon tore his way through the field. However, whilst he climbed his way up to third, it was Hamilton who set the pace at the head of the field and it was he who took the chequered flag by 4.4s from team owner Farquhar who once again proved he's not just a road racer and put in an accomplished short circuit performance.
The second 9-lap race later in the day saw the three riders run in flying team formation in the leading three positions with former GP winner McWilliams, getting more and more used to the bike with each and every lap, and Hamilton exchanging the lead on numerous occasions. Farquhar sat behind in third, just a couple of seconds adrift, as the leading duo broke and re-broke the lap record and it was McWilliams who ultimately got the verdict, taking the win over Hamilton by just 0.7s third. Farquhar took a comfortable third as McWilliams had the honour of setting a new lap record at 1m30.138s.
Hamilton also rode the team's ZX-10R Superstock bike to 4th in the opening Superbike race and 8th in the feature Sunflower Trophy event.
Speaking afterwards, a delighted Farquhar said: "It's been a superb day for the team and to take a 1-2-3 in each of the Supertwins races was simply superb and a terrific way for us to end the season. It's a huge achievement to get all 3 bikes in the top 3, not once but twice so it really couldn't have gone any better. I'd spoken to Jeremy back in January when we were riding in the Classic Festival in Australia and he said he'd like to have a go on one of the Supertwins so when the opportunity arose to ride at the Sunflower he took it. He had to miss the practice on Friday due to other commitments but the 5 laps in the morning meant he could start the races and he showed his class with two great rides, including the win and the lap record. He can still ride a bike that's for sure and there's a good possibility that he'll be out on the bike again sometime in the future."
"Jamie again showed how good he is and I'm really looking forward to working with him on a more regular basis in 2012. The Supertwin bike really suits him but he impressed on the big bike too. It was his first time on the bike and we were testing a few bits and pieces but he showed what he can do with a good 4th in the first race and 8th in the Sunflower was no mean feat given he'd started from the back row of the grid. Overall, I'm simply delighted with how the day went and I'd just like to thank everyone in the team for making it all happen and also Jeremy and Jamie for being a pleasure to work with."
Mackman takes Thundersport GB Superstock Title
The Morello Services GP1 class has never been won twice by anyone. After winning the title in 2008, Gary May returned the year after and failed to see off Peter Baker, and when Peter attempted to defend his crown in 2010, Phil Crowe stepped up to take it away from him.... So now it was Phil's chance to defy all odds and step up to the mark as he was one of three riders in the championship hunt this weekend.
Travelling to Mallory with a ten point advantage over Phil was Ian Mackman.
Ian, riding the Kemtile Suzuki Superstock machine, had put a dent in Crowe's championship chances back at Brands when Crowe was out of the three races due to injury and just to make matters even more exciting coming into the final round, a recent run of form for Newcomer Mick Robertson, meant that the Carnie's Auto Centre Kawasaki rider, also on a Superstock spec bike, was just a single point behind Phil with three races left to go.
With Mackman not being a huge fan of the Leicestershire circuit, would that hamper his chances? Well the presence of John Ingram and Sam Hornsey certainly didn't help and in qualifying, the two visitors made their mark on the championship finale with Sam second quickest behind defending Champion Phil Crowe and Ingram taking the final front row spot just behind Mick Robertson.
On row two, with Pete Weston in fifth and Peter Baker in sixth, Mackman looked frustrated in seventh as they entered the Superpole race, where all riders had a chance to re-shuffle the front row.
Fresh from the confidence of his double points win at Oulton Park though, it was Scotsman Mick Robertson that got away from the lights the best and he quickly dealt with Crowe in the 16 lap affair, to lead with Hornsey in second, Phil third and Ingram fighting off Dan Hegarty, Peter Baker and Ian Mackman for fourth.
As the laps counted down, Crowe was ready to pounce on any mistake made by Robertson but Sam Hornsey was a nuisance on his Suzuki GSXR600 and whilst posting the fastest time, the trio broke away from the chasing pack, which included Mackman, who in the early stages was back in sixth and potentially looking like losing a bundle of important points.
No matter how much Crowe tried though, he couldn't shrug off Hornsey and it took a fall from the 600 rider to eventually leave the two title rivals at it, a battle in which Robertson had no intention of losing. Knowing that 20 points were better than none, Crowe settled for second on the final lap to leave Mick with his second consecutive win and all eyes were now looking behind them to see where Mackman was to finish.
With Hegarty claiming the final podium spot thanks to the DNF of Hornsey, Mackman took fourth to limit the damage done by his two rivals but more importantly, did enough to secure the Superstock 1000 crown, a goal that he had set out for back in March. The best TT Newcomer of 2011 was always favourite to clinch the prize after a season of dominance but now focussed on the GP1 points table, which saw him now one point behind Mick but three ahead of Crowe with two races to go.
In race two on Sunday with the pressure now on the young shoulders of Mick Robertson as new championship leader, lap times were electrifying as the Scotsman shrugged off any signs of butterflies to once again race head to head with Hornsey and Crowe, after Mackman once more had issues in yet another struggle for fourth overall.
Having wrapped up the Superstock title on Saturday, Mackman went for slick tyres for the first time this season in race two to try and gain some more grip but things just weren't working out for the Runcorn rider as a stone hit his radiator to prevent his progress.
Out front, Robertson was riding like his life depended on it and Hornsey was up for putting a spanner in the GP1 works also with a ride like no other to keep Crowe at bay.
Despite putting in the fastest lap of the race with a 52.284, Crowe was in the end unable to get the better of the 600 rider, with Robertson taking the win ahead of Hornsey, who had no idea what effect his second place finish would have on the championship story overall after taking an important four points away from Crowe in third.
With 2009 Champion Peter Baker crossing the line in fourth and Ian Mackman rescuing fifth place after his radiator problem, with one race to go Robertson now had a healthy 13 point lead over Crowe, with Mackman a further two behind.
Folkard wraps up Aprilia RRV450 title
After thinking he'd nailed the championship back at Oulton Park, James Folkard still had work to do this weekend if he wanted to make sure of the job at Mallory Park, with Jake Dixon needing all four wins to even have a chance of changing the story, In qualifying it was typically close between the three riders that have been heading this series as Dixon took pole ahead of Reading's Connor Tagg with Folkard in third, the trio a full second quicker than the rest of the pack which included an encouraging front row start for Will Hodgson and a second row that included Clifford, Allingham, Cox and Aussie rider Brad Shaw.
Due to an incident involving both Jake and Connor in an earlier GP2 race, Jake had one less rider to worry about in his pursuit for the quadruple, as Connor failed to make the grid and once the lights had gone out, the usual James Folkard start was followed by a daring move made by Jake as he took the lead and never looked back.
Folkard knew going into race one that simply finishing in the top three in every heat would still mean the championship even if Jake were to do the impossible but you had to wonder whether one or two nerves had started to kick in as Jake powered away from James to win the opener by a full 4.6 seconds from James..... part one of four was complete for Dixie.
A little further back, after his first front row start of the season, former 450 champion Will Hodgson defended third place for his life as he rejected the advances coming from Michael Clifford to grab his first rostrum of the year outright (after taking 16 points along with Clifford back at Brands).
Will had been struggling with confidence throughout most of the season and it was great to see Willmol back to his best with his mojo back.
As we eagerly awaited race two, the news came through that for mechanical reasons, Jake Dixon was unable to make the grid for the second race and just like that, it was championship over, a massive shame for Jake, a bit of an anticlimax for neutrals but mighty relieving for James and his team, who may well have had to win it by purely finishing on the podium in every race this weekend.
As it was though, the race began and with Connor Tagg back on the grid and eager to claim second place in the championship overall, James could now relax knowing that no matter what happened, he really would be champion this time.
Tagg went on to win the race from James and at that point, after 30 races completed in the season... Folkard, Dixon and Tagg had all shared ten wins each.
In third, Will took yet another podium as he looked to end the year inside the top ten of the championship but only just got Sam Cox on the line, who in turn, wrapped up fourth place in the standings for 2011.
On Sunday, with the number one plate on his Minards Pavlou backed Aprilia RRV450, James went on to do the double and end the season with 12 wins.
Connor Tagg's two second place finishes were enough to secure him the runner-up spot for the second time in as many seasons and both Will Hodgson and Michael Clifford shared the podium on the final day of action to end what has been a great season for the one make championship.
To add to the spice this weekend, the likes of Allingham, Baker and Luxton made their debuts on the 450 and are set to be joined by a number of current Superteens for 2012 too.
Jamie Thackeray ended the year in fifth place overall and will no doubt become a contender next season along with fourth place finisher Sam Cox but 2011 has really been all about Dixon, Tagg and the new champion Folkard.....
All three deserve credit for their roles in a great year that has seen each individual lead the series at some point.
As the top three all look forward to futures outside of the Aprilia RRV450 challenge, who will take their place as the contenders for next season one wonders!?
McWilliams set to Race on Supertwin at North West 200
Veteran Northern Ireland rider Jeremy McWilliams is set to make his debut at the Relentless International North West 200 this year. The 48 year old will race in the newly introduced Supertwin class on one of Ryan Farquhar's bikes.
Technical director of the North West 200, Mervyn Whyte MBE, said he was delighted by the news: "Jeremy McWilliams is nothing short of a living legend in motorsport and no doubt our fans will be excited at the prospect of watching him race at the RelentlessInternational North West 200. The Supertwin class is a new race for the North West 200 this year and we are pleased to be introducing it with such a high calibre line-up."
Jeremy McWilliams said, "The North West 200 is renowned in the world of motor sport, I've been attending it as a fan since I was a teenager and I'm really looking forward to experiencing it at first hand. The North West 200 has a unique atmosphere and exceptional racing. I'm hoping that I can be a competitive newcomer, I've some great competition just from my team mates! It would be a fairytale to win the new Supertwin race but I have to be realistic. I'm really happy with my bike and it's been great to work with Ryan Farquhar who is no stranger to winning at the North West 200."
McWilliams will be racing in Farquhar's team alongside newcomer Jamie Hamilton. Farquhar added, "Having Jeremy make his North West 200 debut on one of my bikes is a fairytale for me. I've been involved in the Supertwin class from 'day one' and promoted it as best I can. It's a perfect bike for both newcomers andexperienced riders and I don't think I could have a better team with Jeremy and newcomer Jamie Hamilton.
Describing how he got Jeremy onboard, Farquhar said, "The whole idea came about when I was invited to an international road racing event at Philip Island (Australia) last February. Lee Gourley was meant to be my team mate but was injured so I asked Jeremy to step in. He agreed, we had a great time and got on really well. It was in Australia when I first said to Jeremy about riding on one of my Supertwins and he was willing. The rest, as they say, is history! Jeremy then rode at the Sunflower and finished first and third and was keen to do it again. Thankfully, I securedsponsors which has made our North West 200 dream a reality. We're really looking forward to it."
The announcement was made at the Adelaide Motorcycle Awards which were held in Belfast on Friday evening where Farquhar also received the Duke Road Race Rankings trophy, recognition of his road racing achievements during the 2011 season.
Successful Pro Test for ILR Kawasaki
It was a busy time in Spain at the Cartagena Pro-Test for ILR Kawasaki, with team manager/rider Ian Lougher declaring himself more than happy after four days of testing for the team.
Victor Cox and his new team-mate Ashley Beech took full advantage of the test to familiarise themselves with their latest 2012 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R's whilst it was also the perfect opportunity for the new and established team personnel to work together for the first time and to get to know one another.
Victor Cox: "I am really happy with our 4-day test, it was great being back on the Ninja ZX-10R with the ILR Kawasaki team. It took a couple of sessions to get back into it but by the end of the test I got down to a good pace, testing some new things with the bike which was really successful. The team and Richard from Maxton did a brilliant job. Now I can't wait to get back on the bike at Brands for the first round."
Ian Lougher: ''It was a great Cartagena test for ILR Kawasaki, and a very hot one, about 27 degrees most days.
The four days allowed Victor to get back up to speed after the long winter break. The first day he circulated getting quicker and quicker all the time, but we didn't want to change too much on his bike, instead we thought it would be better for him to blow the cobwebs away on a set up that he was familiar with from the tail end of 2011.
After that we tried various front fork and rear suspension combination set ups, and came away from Spain with a bike that has a mixture of last year's and this year's ideas as a base setting. (Thank you Richard from Maxton Suspension, as always - superb)
To be honest, it is nice not to be starting with a new model machine this time, which we did in 2011. Last year we ended up being a bit hit and miss sometimes with the set-up as we got to understand the Ninja's likes and dislikes!
I have to say I was mightily impressed with young Ash Beech, as it was his first ride on a 1000cc machine. He started his first day sensibly, learning how to ride the big Kwak which is an altogether different kettle of fish to a 600, using different lines and braking markers, steadily learning and picking up the pace throughout the 4 days. As the time ticked by he got more and more familiar with the bike, eventually upping the pace to be within one second of the flying Victor...which was some feat!!!
A lot of the time Ash chose to stay out on worn tyres, as he realised to be quick for race distance at BSB level, he needed to get used to riding these 190 BHP machines when the tyre wear goes down, and the characteristics of the bike changes.
So all in all a very productive test, and not to mention a great bit of craic (very important in my team) where everyone in the team got along brilliantly.
So here's to a successful and happy 2012.
Wish us well, and see you at the track.''