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Friday test days at a circuit can prove very valuable, getting familiarised with a new circuit, setting up a new bike, or simply just getting track time. However they can also be costly.

Not just in time off work and financially…. But more so if something goes wrong. It’s the latter that happened to Michael Blank this weekend at Oulton. He had a new GSXR to test, and he wanted to get himself in fine form because he had a battle on his hands in both the Phoenix Open and L and J Powerbike championships.

After a poor last round he was desperate to keep the pressure on Joe Symonds, who lead both title classes, and was showing excellent end of season form.


Blank was circulating on Friday with laps comfortably in the 1min 45’s pushing into the 43’s when needed as was looking forward to keeping the pressure on Joe. But in the final session of the day 3 riders went down…one of them was the number 138 Gemini Fire Suzuki of Blank.

Now although the bike came out relatively unscathed Michael was not so lucky, with rib and hand injuries. Now we all know many riders that will race through the pain barrier, and the hard as nails Blank is usually one of them, but unfortunately it was the concussion that he sustained that kept him out of the weekends action. He sported a huge bruise on his head where he contacted tarmac.

Now usually his main rival Joe Symonds would have breathed a sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that his main rival was out… the pressure was off… and both titles were now his, including the main NG Road Racing overall Phoenix Open Club title. But Joe was definatly out of sorts.

He said he had wanted to “..fight for the title out on track, racing against your rivals” and felt “decidedly flat”. That certainly reflected in his riding, finishing a lowly 12th in the Powerbike and amazingly some way out of the points in the Open. He said that “….it was almost like he had forgotten how to ride….lapping 4 seconds a lap slower than he was earlier”. But regardless of his mental state (….some say dubious at the best of times!!!…. only joking, Joe) both championships were won with one round still to go.

Ian Mackman set the Phoenix Open alight with a run of sub 44 laps on his GSXR 1000 that took him to the win, but it was Phil Bevan, the outgoing NG Open Champ on the Co-Ordit R1 that had everyone on their toes as. After a poor start he set about catching the leaders. Despatching Lee Keeble, Paul Shook, Grahame Frear, John Nisill and Charlie Bishop on the way, setting lap after lap in the 43’s before dipping down to a 42.40 on the last lap to finish just 1 second behind Mackman.

Bevan was in no mood to mess about in the L and J Mechanical Powerbike and after qualifying on the front row set off with PBM Phoenix R1 rider Charlie Bishop for company. A string of ’43 eventually saw Bevan take the flag by some 7 seconds from Bishop with Paul Shook storming through in the later stages to grab third ahead of Angelo Derosa, Adrian Williams, Peter Golden and John Nisill.

James Parry is one of those riders that seems on some occasions to court bad luck, being caught up in other riders accidents, or being taken out, through no fault of his own. Even a switch from the F400 class to the Team Spidey Sound of Thunder didn’t seemingly see a change of fortune early on this year with problems at Pembrey and Brands Hatch. However James on the Loki Racing 675 has kept his head down and with rides like he has produced in the second half of the year has elevated himself to the top of the table. This weekend he, along with Justin Waite on the STP 675 and Andy Peck on the Spidey Aprilia Mille conducted the Thunder final more like a bare-knuckle boxing match, with no quarter being asked, or definitely not given. Each had turns at the front…each made mistakes, but Parry eventually came out of the final turn crossing the line 0.3 second behind Peck who hit the front on the last lap, with Waite just third after making a detour at Hislops on the final lap. Unfortunately for Peck though it turned out he had been penalised a jump start and the 10 seconds dropped him down to third, handing Parry his maiden 675 victory, but more importantly a 9 point points advantage as we go into the final round.

Daryl Alexander racked up his tenth win on the bounce in the Big C Mini Twins on the Monk Racing and Chrysler Jeep SV650, taking the win by almost 30 seconds from Stephen Sweetman. A fine 4th sport saw Rhys Davies elevate himself to second in the series, although Alexander’s 29-point lead has him in an unassailable position.

It was an all family affair in the Refined Recruitment 125GP event with BSB 125 rider Jay Lewis taking the win on his SL Heating RS125, but with second place going to his younger brother Corey that was enough for Corey to take the title. Ross Ashman proved that he is now back to full fitness and form after breaking his arm in two places by grabbing third spot. Jay also had to follow little brother Corey home in the Dara Brady 400 final, but a safe third place was enough for Tony Davies on his New Road Garage TZ250 to take the title.


There is another family connection in the Steve Lynham Formula 125 as Rowan Miller and his cousin Sam Coventry fight it out for the title. It was Lee Jackson this weekend though that took top points with Coventry and Miller 2nd and 3rd, with the championship going on to Thruxton.

Chris Beverley had a one off ride in the Race Trader UK 400 Streetstock final on his CBR400 and took the win by 5 seconds from Dan Millard. Richard Troth who was dominating the series mid season has now allowed Nic Pullen, Ben Marsden and Craig Neve back into the running after three dnf’s on the trot. Neve currently in 4th could have gone straight to the top of the table but fell from the lead. Troth must be breathing a huge sigh of relief. It is a similar close affair in the 700 Metzeler/DTR Streetstock with Andy Hayes taking this weekends win on his MFL R6 to hoist himself back to championship top spot, although he, Marlon Butcher and Nick Andrews are covered by just 3 points with one race left. In the big 1300 Metzeler/DTR Streetstock Hilary Phillips kept up the pressure on series leader Dan Kift. Phillips’ win on his Fox Enterprises GSXR was his fourth from five races but Kift still hangs onto a slender 4 point lead on his Protint CBR with Thruxton still to come.

Pole sitter and long time race leader Andy Whitehead looked odds on with two laps to go to take the A and R Racing Formula 400 final, but paid the price for a minor mistake as he slid off his ZXR 400 . That left the way open for Anthony Van Looy to take his first win on the RAFMSA and Ace Motorcycles ZXR setting the fastest lap in the process ahead of Tony Meredith. Just a handful of points were all that was needed for Chris Beverley to take the title and said “….not to worry if it looked like he was wobbling round like an old woman”. He “wobbled” round to take 4th place and safely secured the required points on his France and Li Asia CBR.

Josh Day took his Trevor Robins R6 to an empatic 8 second win over current series leader Grahame Frear in the George White 600 final. Frear set the pace in qualifying but Day found some extra pace for the final as the early laps battle between them dragged them 13 seconds clear of Mike Edwards. David Thomson and Ian Mann had a great battle for 4th place, but they were very nearly caught by Christian Hazell in the latter stages as the Welshman who started on the back row scythed his way past 33 riders to take a fine 6th place.

No one could match the pace of Leeds pairing on Stephen Williamson and Colin Two with their Windle Suzuki as they took the CSC Racing Open Sidecar final from Ian Drowne and Gary Andrews by some 14 seconds. Drowne/Andrews kept their championship hopes alive as they closed the gap slightly to now be just 3 points off the series lead. Matt Dix and Shaun Parker were once more the top Century 2000 F2 outfit taking their 8th win from the 12 rounds and giving themselves an unassailable lead on the ID and C Baker 600 as they headed home the experienced Mick Robson and Ken Edwards.
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