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Hodgson is star of show at 2011 Plum Pudding

After last year's big freeze, the weather this year at the annual Plum Pudding Handicap Races was about as mild as it ever gets at Christmas.

Will Hodgson opened his account in the lightweight race with a dominant win, but this later cost him dear as the 2nd running of each race was set up on a handicap basis and he had just set himself up with a 35 second delayed start for that one.

Alan Molyneux & Andy Halewood then took an equally dominant win from Bill Roberts & Nick Roberts in the F2 Sidecar class, with John &Tony Lowther. This fairly processional encounter set Molyneux/Halewood an absolute mountain to climb in the second event.


This was followed by the first Formula Senior event which turned out to be the race of the day. Right from the start Michael Niblett, Gary Arden, Luke Delaney and Gordon Scott flew off at the front of the field on their 1000cc machines, but by lap three they’d been joined by Hodgson on the Aprilia RRV450 and he set about harassing them at every turn. Each position was hard won with the power of the big bikes enabling them to re-pass on every straight, but eventually it boiled down to a scrap between Niblett and Hodgson.

Hodgson put the pass on Niblett three times without being able to make it stick. Then on the last lap, he got enough of a gap after passing around the outside at Gerards, to hold the position down the back straight. Niblett being a rider of no mean ability himself re-doubled his efforts and put the pressure back on through Edwina's and on the run up to the hairpin. This forced an error from Hodgson and he lost the front at the hairpin, very nearly coming to grief and only just hanging on to the bike.

Niblett shot through to take the win and Delaney was past before Hodgson got himself sorted out. On the run to the line Gary Arden lost out on 3rd to Hodgson by less than a bike length, but the RRV450 pilot had amply demonstrated just what a great machine the Aprilia is.

Lightweight race 2 set off with the 80cc GP bikes away first, followed by 3 other waves with Hodgson alone at the back. Lee Williams on the KTM Supermoto hit the front, but then eased off not realising he was being hunted down by the later starters. Arnie Shelton aboard the Honda RS125GP machine cut his way through the field like a hot knife through butter and was soon on his tail. He passed and kept it absolutely nailed.

Williams was performing admirably and gave chase, even holding off Hodgson for over a lap when the RRV had scythed its way through the pack. Shelton had done exactly the right thing though by taking advantage of the clear track and keeping the little Honda pinned. By the time Hodgson had him in his sights the last lap flag was out and it was too late. Shelton was delighted with a well deserved win. Williams took 3rd, but had learnt a bit about the art of keeping it flat out in a handicap race even when it appeared that you might have a comfortable lead.

In the second sidecar race Molyneux/ Halewood had a 40 second deficit to make up on Martin Vollebreght & Jayne Narys who had come all the way from Holland to compete in this peculiarly British event. It was the Roberts pairing who proved to be the impossible obstacle though, as they went off like a rat up a drainpipe right from the off and built a lead the length of the start/finish straight by mid-distance. Molyneux then had a clear view of his quarry though and set about hunting him down. In the end it was just too much to ask and Roberts took the win by about 50 yards.

In the last race of the day, Lee Williams soon found himself at the head of the pack and this time he kept going. Sam Smithson ended up 2nd with Gordon Scott rounding off the podium.

The Plum Pudding was fun, exactly what it’s supposed to be and with 4 car races thrown into the mix, it was a great day out for everyone.

Click the link below to download the results

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