THE SEASON’S SHOWDOWN DOES NOT DISSAPOINT
SATURDAY 27th, SUNDAY 28th SEPTEMBER 2014
The season’s final at the Motodrome did not let the fans down,with the fight for the Centre Championship going right down to the last lap of the last race on Sunday. The sidecar title too was a clash between a returning Dave Molyneux and the driver with the most Island titles Brian Kelly. Other club championship conclusions played out over the two days in September. New Champions were crowned in a great weekend of Motorcycle racing.
The weather on the opening Saturday looked unsettled and as the first practice got under way, the circuit was being used in the clockwise direction, then down came the rain. The opening morning of practice also saw a number of riders fall, they included newcomer Dave Atherton,who fell heavily from his new R1 Yamaha mount. Also Peel rider Marc Colvin crashed at the Bus Stop badly breaking his wrist. This injury stopped his promising charge in the Clubman’s class where he was pushing towards the front in 2014.
The two day meeting attracted the now usual pattern of crowds, few on the Saturday, and more on the Sunday. The weather picked up from mid-morning on Saturday and the Jurby Faithful were blessed with a dry, if at times overcast, weekend.
The race commentary team of Paul Copparelli and Peter Mylchreest arrived and after their customary chat with the friendly gate man proceeded to set up the equipment. The addition of a portable wi-fi hot spot and live timing was prepared with great expectation. This equipment allows the team in the Radio Faasaag van to feed the live times, as the riders circulate, to all that care to listen. This is a great improvement, and the qualifying session now resembles a Moto GP, with excitement mounting as the riders fire in their quick laps towards the end of the practice, pushing for pole position on the grid. Third member of the commentary team Curly Batty was already on station with Husband John and the Batty camp, looking after son Joe Broomfield who was getting to grips with a new machine. Jack Hunter was also in the Batty stable and enjoying his 2014 season, making great strides forward and now regularly finishing in high positions on the track both on the island and more recently in the sunny, funny seagull infested North East Yorkshire town of Scarborough. Rockin’ Dave Roberts was also present – his Lear jet was heard over head – he touched down around noon! He was on hand to regale tails of his extensive Motorcycle racing travels. As ever a great time was had throughout the weekend.
The September weekend saw the closest finish to an Island Championship for many a year. The three riders in with a chance at the 2014 title were, reigning champion Ryan Kneen, who was not in full attendance throughout the season but was always fighting for the top spot once there. The second title contender was the rider dubbed the “Balthane Bullet”, Ryan Cringle, his season was going superbly. By the end of racing on the Saturday Ryan had claimed the 600 club title and was determined to set about taking the main title too. Glenn Harrison, the third rider who could take the win had broken his win famine early in the season winning three races in a day. The “Quayside Crusader” was looking fast and neat aboard his Chris Preston Racing Suzuki.
So the scene was set. On Saturday the main title contenders rose through the ranks and diced for the points in dry conditions. The Saturday score was one win apiece for the flying Ryans, Cringle one, Kneen one. Glenn Harrison was, to be fair, struggling on the mainly right hand corner circuit that was the clockwise airfield Motodrome. This saw the Chris Preston sponsored man in low, by his standards, scoring positions.
On Sunday the showdown was on. Only three points separated the battling trio of Kneen, Cringle and Harrison. The word was out that this was it, and there was a large crowd gathered to witness Sunday’s action. The commentators of Radio Faasaag were on full voice describing the action taking place on the now anti-clockwise Motodrome. Race one saw the usual pattern form and it was the trio of title contenders who were at the front. Lap records were broken and Ryan Kneen crossed the line just 2.177 seconds ahead of Ryan Cringle. Third was Callum Collister, who was not in with a chance at the title, but nevertheless rode brilliantly to edge Glenn Harrison out of the big points he needed to maintain his own title challenge.
So by the second outing of the Centre Championship on Sunday the situation was very close. Ryan Cringle needed to win and Ryan Kneen had to finish at least second to win the crown. Third place was no good to the 2013 title holder. Glenn Harrison’s outside chance was that both Ryans would over-cook things and he would be in close attendance to pick up the pieces, and the title!
The scene was set, and from the time the starting lights blinked out it was all action around the 1.7 mile Motodrome circuit. As expected the three main contenders were soon at the head of the field. The spoiler in the mix was Dean Osborne, who was really flying on the Martin Bullock Manx Sport machine. Ryan Cringle made the break mid-race and it was looking set for Ryan Kneen to sit in second place and defend his position to the flag, if this position was held to the finish it meant he would be re-crowned Centre Champion for 2014. But all this unravelled on the final circuit! Ryan Cringle slowed and the pack closed up. This situation was made worse as they all arrived on a slower rider right at the apex of Hodge Corner. Ryan Cringle ran wide, Ryan Kneen ran wider, and Glenn Harrison slipped through to second place. Dean Osborne also took advantage. It was up to Ryan Kneen to ride a champion’s final circuit. He did just that, passing Glenn Harrison in a brave and spectacular way on the entrance to the Bus Stop. He was back in second place and held his nerve crossing the line just 0.417 of a second behind race winner Ryan Cringle. Ryan Kneen became the first rider to win back to back Championships since Gavin Hunt gained the island title in 2007and retained it in 2008. What a close to the season, brilliant racing!
The sidecar class saw the return of Dave Molyneux with Ben Binns in the chair. Winning all four Centre Championship races over the September weekend was never really in doubt. In fact Moly broke lap records on both days. Fast and stylish he swept all before him on his Suzuki powered machine. But Brian Kelly and passenger Jason O’Connor were also riding well and picking up valuable points. Dave Molyneux’s march was not enough as the most decorated sidecar pilot on the airfield – Brian Kelly added another notch to his Centre Championship belt, by the narrowest of margins possible, one point! A seventh title for Mr Kelly. Passenger Jason O’ Connor was delighted to take his second Centre passenger title (His first was with brother of Brian, Neil). The race weekend also saw Dave Quirk back in action and scoring points on his all new machine The “Custard Chucker” he was partnered by Robert Lunt for the weekend. Girl power was very prominent on the Great Northern Plain venue with Debbie Barron setting foot on the third step of the Metaphorical Podium. On Saturday she was passengered by Emily Colgan who was enjoying her first outing as a passenger. Musical chairs saw regular ballast bunny Stephen Cowin back on the handles with Debbie and Emily jumping aboard the machine of Nigel Smith. These swaps were done before the crews left the paddock and not done during race I hasten to add!
The 600 club title was taken by Ryan Cringle who had sealed the title by the time the sun sank over the airfield on Saturday. Drama broke out in large portions during the first 600 race on Sunday. Michael Evans crashed on the Glenn Straight in spectacular style, and within the next few seconds of the crash race leader Glenn Harrison slid to ground exiting Hodge Corner and Andrew Dudgeon ran off the track. The race was red flagged. The machine of Michael Evans was unable to be raced and this was a problem as the rider known as the “Santon Slayer” would be struggling to maintain his clean sheet of wins in the following Clubman’s Class. Step forward Elliot Stutt to loan the Santon man his bike, more of this story to follow, read on dear reader, read on…
The 650 Club races were also a great show for the crowds with Dean Osborne battling with his team mate in the Martin Bullock stable, Callum Collister. Also in the mix was young Nathan Harrison. Paul Metcalfe had returned to the Airfield for the final outing of the season on his ex-John McGuiness RS 250 Honda. The 250 class within the 650/400 was sadly not supported throughout the season. This meant Paul was the only one in the category. The season ended with the title going to Callum Collister. Darren Slous was on winning form on Sunday and Jack Hunter ended his 2014 season in style with a second and a third place. The 400 class had been dominated in the early season by David Kennington and he had amassed enough points for the crown. Sunday saw Neil Smith taking the 400 race honours on his sleek Aprilia. Darren Creer took race wins in the class on father Jimmy’s NC30 Honda – this elevated the big Douglas rider in the final championship, but overheating problems caused Darren to pull out of the race not wishing to risk another expensive engine re-build! Tracy Authers was having an eventful day, her NC 30 Honda doing its best to throw her to the ground, but she hung on to complete her season with very creditable finishes.
The Singles,Twins and Triples class was in full swing and saw a two stroke winner in the form of Ian Raybon on the RS125 Honda. Ian has been a joy to watch around the airfield in the closing few meeting of the year, reminding everyone what a pure breed racing machine is capable of in the hands of a fast rider. The bikes corner speed is high and the little bike looks stable – it shows that the majority of machines now racing are basically road machines modified to race and the handling of a pure racing bike will always be better by design. The S.T.T. was a title win for Dean Osborne, who has been faster with each meeting in 2014 – a deserved class win. Nathan Harrison’s outside chance of the title evaporated as he slid to earth exiting Nans corner on Sunday.
The Steel Frame class was Eddie Venn’s for the taking at the start of the weekend. John Taubman continued his late season run of form taking Saturday’s opening race win. Eddie took enough points, however, to secure the title. John Taubman’s season turned sour as he fell on the approach to the Bus Stop Chicane in the second race of Saturday. The race was stopped and the Willaston rider suffered a shoulder injury. The 2013 Champion Matt Mylchreest made a race return on Gus Turner’s Gorilla Racing steelie and took second in class on Sunday after a race-long scrap with Neal Champion. A fuelling error led to Gorrila Racing’s new “Chimp” retiring the bike in the second race on Sunday after another good scrap with Mr Champion.
The Clubman’s title was going the way of Michael Evans, but the question was could he win every round. On Saturday he was on top form with two wins. After the crash during the 600 race on Sunday, the Santon man was out on Elliot Stutt’s machine. In the first clubman’s race he struggled with the unfamiliar mount. This led to some big errors braking at Hodge corner. This allowed Brendan “The Busman” Fargher to take the race lead and the win, spoiling the “Santon Slayer’s” clean run of season victories. The second and final Clubman’s Race (and the final race of 2014) was another victory for Brendan Fargher. The “Santon Slayer” sat this race out, second was a rider who was coming onto the pace late in the season, Daniel Dickinson, third was Peter Wilkinson, another rider to watch in the up coming season.
A great weekend of racing to end the season.