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One to Watch – Joe Symonds – No 21 – Greendays Developments R1 Yamaha

At 42 years old (sorry) Joe Symonds has hit some of the best form of his 12-year racing career. Joe, a builder from Sailsbury in Wiltshire had his first full season back in 1997 on an FZR600 Yamaha and that first season saw him win the newcomers class, head of Brian Wood and Dan Kift.

He then switched to the class dominating CBR600 for his full championship attack and he took the Honda to a very creditable 12th overall, improving to ninth the following year. In 2002 Joe switched to Yamaha’s R1, a machine that really suits his aggressive riding style. Thirteenth in the series with a couple of top fives proved the move was a good one.


2003 and '04 had Joe frustratingly-close to championship glory, with Powerbike series runner-up spots both terms. However ’05 saw him top the table ahead of Damien Fricker, Steve Lake and Phil Bevan. After a mechanically troubled defending year in ’06 resulting in fourth overall, before bouncing back in ’07 to take the Powerbike crown again.

After struggling early on this season things are now back on track with Joe leading both the Open and Powerbike points tables. The Phoenix Open being the feature club class with the biggest money and the shiniest silverware, his name would sit well alongside some illustrious names on the Open Club trophy.
As well as his own campaign to manage there is the added pressure this year of watching 13 year-old son Max taking to the track in the F125 class, although he says there are no plans to hang up his leathers yet.

Class by class

A strong grid of 125GP machines this year sees Corey Lewis at the age of 13 taking to the Dave Bushby RS125 well, he will once more have Luke Harvey and defending ’07 champ Freddie Nickless for company along with Sam Burman and the returning-from-injury Ross Ashman. The Junior Formula 125s see Rowan Miller in on top on his 80 Metrakit, with Sam Coventry showing good form as the season has gone on. Whilst the 400 open has Tony Davies, on his TZ250 Yamaha heading the list.

When it come to the 600 class there are no easy race wins with a possible six or eight winners each weekend. Grahame Frear, Daniel Frear and Josh Day are the men-most-likely, with the Frear brothers looking good on CBR-RR and R6 respectively.

Keep an eye though for last year's top newcomer David Thomson for an upset. The bigger Superbike Open and Powerbike classes too have a whole host of talent on the grid, Joe Symonds with Yamaha’s R1, and Michael Blank on a GSX-R Suzuki are the pick of the grid. However Darren Neal, Mark Compton, Lee Keeble, Paul Shook and Shaun Hennessey are all proven winners.

Chris Beverley (CBR400), Josh Leaning and Tony Meredith (ZXR400) and Tim Bradley (FZR400) show that no one bike is able to dominate the Formula 400 class. However the same can’t be said for the riders as Beverley is having a strong bid for the title.

James Parry on his 675 Triumph heads the Sound of Thunder class, but former champ Andy Peck is still in the hunt. In the Mini Twins battle it’s Darryl Alexander with his SV650 that has hit the top of the table after overhauling defending champ Nigel Wright after a string of ten wins in a row.

Streetstocks racing for road-legal machines is really strong at present with Dan Kift his CBR1000RR Honda on top at present, but expect to see a strong challenge from Jon Harwood, Hilary Philips and Jer Thomas. The 700s see '07 runner up Andy Hayes wanting to go one better this year on his R6, but Marlon Butcher on his ZX-6R with also Nicholas Andrews trying to stop him, they are separated by just five points. In the 400 division though Richard Troth was having a relatively easy run of things with a string of convincing wins, but the way could be open for  Ben Marsden now after Troth suffered injury last time out.


Matt Dix and Rob Beere are definitely the pick on the sidecar crop so far in this year on their F2 600 Baker. They head both the F2 and Open classes. Ian Drowne/Gary Andrews and Rod Robinson/Shellie Smithies are their nearest challengers for glory.

With this being the penultimate rounds points are vital, and mistakes will be punished. All the top riders will want to be in the best shape with just the season finale at Thruxton in October to follow this meeting.

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