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Thundersport Oulton: Weekend race review

With a grid full of Alto Digital Thundersport GP2 machines and a fair few Aprilia RRV450’s drowning out the opposition, Jake Dixon used the two races as wet weather practice in readiness for the 450 races and blitzed the field at Oulton Park on Saturday.

During the early stages of race one, he had James Folkard for company but after the local rider pulled out of the proceedings on lap seven, it was left to Dixie, who went on and won by a huge 16.2 seconds ahead of Champion Connor Tagg and the visibly improving Sam Cox.

In the Minitwins, with no Popplewell out on circuit due to a Friday practice crash, it was a former Superteen Joe Ravenscroft that impressed. Racing the Kawasaki 650, Joe finished in ninth overall but was a full 14 seconds clear of second placed Curtis Rothwell, whilst Wayne Bridges won a race long battle with Sam Nicholson to claim the final podium spot.


As for the Nitro GP3 class, Bryn Owen returned to the series for this round and enjoyed mixing it up with the mixture of machinery to win the double points race. In second, it was a welcome return for James Hobson too, the Barnsley rider claimed second after a fun battle with Acea Webb out on circuit, whilst James Robinson did all he needed to do in third.

In race two, Folkard and Tagg both pulled in during the early stages, leaving Dixon to once again clear off into the distance, the win pumping him up to fifth overall in the standings. In second, having taken the risk of going for dry tyres on a damp and patchy circuit, Marty Lennon climbed from 19th on the grid to make the podium, taking the fastest lap of the race in the process.

Third place went to David Allingham, who saw off Cox and Daley to collect his first podium on an Aprilia 450.

Ravenscroft took the second Minitwins race ahead of Bridges and Rothwell, but thanks to Sam Nicholson’s fourth place, it looks as though second place overall is almost wrapped up.

In the Nitro GP3 class, with Bryn Owen exiting the race on lap seven, it left James Hobson to take the win and fifty points, lifting him up to third overall in the standings, whilst James Robinson’s second place overall was finally enough for him to be crowned the Nitro GP3 Champion.

With Keith Smith having already won the LMB Streetfighter ‘A’ crown and Barry Utting taking his second successive Streetfighter ‘B’ championship, there was a lot of fun to be had at Oulton Park this weekend, as Tony Hughes looked to clinch the ‘C’ class title ahead of Brad Davey.

In race one, after much pre-race banter, 2009 Champion Andy Denyer fought it out head to head with new Champ Keith Smith in a wet first race which saw the pair clear off out front.

After nine laps of tussling, it was Denyer who had the last laugh with the win and the fastest lap as Smithy took second ahead of Steve Bradbury, who in turn, was looking to clinch second overall ahead of Denyer this season.

In the ‘B’ class, RAF Motorsports Association rider Mick Riddle saw off challenges from Adam Palfreman to win the race and finish in third overall to keep up his chase for second in the championship, and Chris Pickersgill, who came across the line in seventh, took the final ‘B’ podium position.


As for the ‘C’ class, thanks to the absence of Tony Hughes from the results sheets, Brad Davey’s third place overall gave him hope but he couldn’t prevent Matt Bilton from claiming his first ever win ahead of Lewis Osler, the two Thundersport 500 riders making a real impact on the ‘C’ championship.

For race two, with Goldsmith, Denyer and Smith all going down, Steve Bradbury claimed his first ever Thundersport GB victory after the heavens opened to disrupt the race immensely. The win for Bradbury, ahead of Brent Millage, means that Steve only needs a few points at Mallory to guarantee second in the ‘A’ class.

In Streetfighter ‘B’, Adam Palfreman became the second ever rider to win a race overall on a ‘B’ category machine to claim 50 points for the championship. Finishing sixth overall, Rob Garland battled through the tough conditions to take second, and Rob Pragnell refused to give up on second overall the ‘B’ standings, by taking third ahead of Evans and Riddle.

As for the ‘C’ class, we were unsure as to whether or not Tony Hughes’s win ahead of Matt Bilton and Keith Warren was enough to claim the title but we have since had the abacus out and due to Brad only finishing in fourth, we can confirm that Tony is the new Champion of 2011.


Adam Shelton from Hull has been unstoppable in recent rounds in the Bridgestone Thundersport 500 Championship and before a wheel was turned at Oulton Park, he had won 12 races out of 12.

In race one, with Lawson chasing down Shelton once more, the recent progress of Matt Bilton and Lewis Osler came to haunt the championship leader as they got stuck in, leaving Shelton to edge away in the wet conditions.

Lap by lap, Shelton pulled on the group and whilst they fought for the final podium positions, Shelton made it 350 points from a possible 350 with his 13th consecutive win in the series, putting pressure on Lawson.

Bilton was able to stretch away however on the final lap to collect second, his highest ever finish in 500’s, and after a few frantic moves, Lewis Osler saw off Lawson to collect his first ever 500 podium, leaving Lawson in fourth licking his wounds.

In race two though, we saw the Lawson we all know and love. The brave Scotsman decided enough was enough and powered off the line to try and keep up with the irrepressible Shelton. The pair were joined by Bilton too, who was proving to be quite a nuisance in the last few rounds and as the race counted down, there was nothing in it.

On the final lap, Lawson put everything on the line to win his first race since Mallory Park in the summer, and along with the paddock, thought he’d done enough to clinch the Thundersport 500 crown.... but he hadn’t.

The win was a great one and full credit should go to Lawson for putting an end to Shelton’s winning streak, but thanks to Adam finishing in second ahead of Matt Bilton, with a round dropped, Lawson’s work is not yet done.

Another Championship that we all thought was over this weekend but isn’t quite yet, is the Aprilia RRV 450 class.

Jake Dixon was on fire using a borrowed machine and clinched both double points races in style at Oulton Park to keep himself in the frame by the smallest of margins.

James Folkard’s two second place finishes were good enough to ensure that Connor Tagg’s dream of winning the championship were over with Tagg finishing in third and fourth but due to the round dropped rule, Folkard still has work to do to be guaranteed champion.

Sam Cox’s recent progress saw him collect a deserved third place in race two which sets him up nicely for the start of next season, and David Allingham’s two superb fifth place finishes leaves us wondering what he’ll be capable of next year.

In the bikesportnews.com Superstock 600 class, Jamie Devine entered the series on a Yamaha 600 and delivered a low blow to the championship contenders, taking both wins emphatically and a chunky 75 points during his first visit to Thundersport GB.

The race day started with the sad news that Championship contender Paul Wishart would play no part after breaking his wrist on Friday. Although with a few twists and turns occurring during the two races, Paul will be back in Scotland now, wondering how quickly he can indeed return to action.

In race one, a ‘silver’ race where normal points are scored, Devine finished 4.9 seconds ahead of Danny Murphy, who returned to the Thundersport scene after a long British Championship debut season.

In third, Nathan Pallet collected his best finish of the season to take the final rostrum spot ahead of the first of our regular runners Tom Meehan.

Meehan, finished just ahead of Tommy Mountain on circuit, meaning that there were now 26 points between Anderson, the injured Wishart and Mountain, whose late charge in the championship has sent shockwaves through the pack.

In race two, Devine roared home to take win number two ahead of Murphy once more, and with Mountain collecting third place ahead of Tom Meehan, it was all change in the championship standings.

With three races remaining, it means Mountain is just five points clear of both Anderson and Wishart, who are locked on 359.

If you’d have said at the start of the season that the Morello Services GP1 Championship would go down to the last three races this season to decide a winner, I’m not 100% sure you’d have believed me when you consider that past three years have seen worthy winners well before the final races of the year.

With John Ingram returning to the frame for the Oulton round, four riders could still win the series before the first race as Ian Mackman led defending Champion Phil Crowe by 20 points.

Newcomer Mick Robertson was sitting a further 30 behind Phil, but was locked on points with the 2009 Champion Peter Baker, with both knowing they needed wins here if they were to have any say in the final round.

On a wet circuit, John Ingram was to go on and take the bull by the horns whilst others were concerned of championship positions, but both Mick Robertson and Peter Baker were not going to go down without a fight, and as Ingram crossed the line to win, Roberston came home to take second and win the Superstock race ahead of Baker and Dickinson, with Mackman and Crowe trailing back in fifth and sixth.

With the Championship closing up once more, race two was for double points and talented newcomer Mick Robertson decided that now was the time to mount his challenge for the title. With Mike Dickinson looking solid and comfortable in second place overall, Robertson stormed to victory (his fourth of the year) at just the right time, collecting 50 massive points.

All eyes were on the fight behind, and with Baker falling on lap four, kissing goodbye to a championship he’d been chasing all year, it was defending Champion Phil Crowe that claimed third after a massive gamble to go on slicks paid off. Adrian Clark and John Ingram had managed to get themselves in front of Mackman on circuit to leave us with a simply delicious points table with three races left at Mallory.

In the Supertwins, despite Mike Walker winning race one, a second place finish and the race two victory was plenty enough for Lee Reveley to become the champion of 2011, defending his crown and becoming the first rider to have won the same championship three times after he won it back in 2008 also.

Charlie Flett’s third place and a second in race two, moves him up to second overall ahead of the absent Scot Adam, with the rider from Dundee only needing one decent finish to clinch it.

In the Formula 600 Championship sponsored by Motorbike Accident Law, Ben Field looked to defend a 62 point lead at Oulton Park and ideally, clinch the 2011 Championship over the two races as he faced title rival Richard McNeill on a wet circuit.

In race one though, despite the race being split into two parts, McNeill was impossible to catch and won in fine style. Much to his delight, Tom McHale’s amazing improvement over the past few rounds got the better of Field in the race too, with the rider from Grange over Sands, taking his best finish of the year ahead of the series leader.

In race two, with the gap now down to 53 points, some edgy decisions were taking place as riders made the choice on which tyres to go for on a drying circuit. With most going for the wet option, Field put in one of the performances of his life to make his way to the front and never look back.

With Adam Boyle returning to the Thundersport grids and impressing to take a well earned second overall and Dan Chappell seeing off Dan Bray for the final podium spot in the double points race.... McHale, Dudgeon and Sproston finished ahead of McNeill to end the Ulsterman’s chances of overall glory.

Field’s win was not only the final nail in the coffin but also his tenth victory of the 2011 campaign, and considering he didn’t collect his first win until Cadwell Park, it goes to show how impressive the rider from Birmingham has been during the Summer to come away Champion and add his name to the F600 trophy that has both Gary May and Mike Price etched on it.

As for the Aprilia Superteen class, well it was all change but stayed the same if that makes sense.....

Joe Francis entered the round as clear favourite for the Championship after a huge bundle of points taken at Brands Hatch but with double points up for grabs, a fall in race one was the last thing he needed whilst fighting for the lead.

With Championship rival Tom Oliver taking fourth and the biggest 26 points of his life, it was back on for race two, as the pair struggled to shake off some improving opposition.

Whilst the fight for the illustrious title continued, a certain Harry Coomber was going about his business in a way in which we all knew he could. In conditions that were less than pleasant, Coomber produced the two best races of his life to do the double, taking a deserved 100 points and climbing from seventh in the standings, up to fourth.

Bradley Jones was on song as usual, taking two solid podium finishes and nearly pinching the win in race two to remain in third overall and Ross Twyman kept himself in the battle for third, fourth and fifth, with two rostrum finishes of his own.

So what of Francis and Oliver? In race two, Francis was edged out by Coomber, Jones and Twyman and forced to settle for fourth to limit the damage done in race one and Oliver was left struggling back in seventh after losing out in a fight which included Ben Luxton and rookie Lewis Rollo, who is without doubt a name to remember for the future.

It leaves Francis 22 points ahead overall, but 30 if you include the round dropped with four races remaining. Oliver has reduced the gap but knows what he has to do at Mallory.

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