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Qualifying –  Strong winds, but dry grey conditions were almost perfect going for the twenty-minute session. With thirty outfits entered, a good time would be crucial for the opening race, with a reverse grid  applying for race two.

Double points were up for grabs in this finale, and a record entry ensured great racing.

Newly crowned Champions Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clarke were immediately on the pace and laid down a marker well inside the fastest free practice time.

Lap five and they were within one second of lap-record time on the 1000cc Santander Salt Kawasaki, almost two seconds faster than the quickest 600 of Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes, with the Birchall brothers holding third a fraction behind Reeves.

The much anticipated Todd Ellis/Ricky Stevens battle looked on course, with those two outfits pretty much inseparable on the time-sheet.

That is how it finished, with Kershaw/Clark clear on pole, as the new world champions Ben and Tom Birchall moved second ahead of Reeves/Wilkes.

The next 1000cc bike was in the hands of Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde who scored seventh fastest.

 

Race One – From pole position, Kershaw and Clark shot into a lead they were never to relinquish.

Their winning margin at the flag was over ten seconds, and they came to within half a second of the lap record.

Behind the Santander Salt Kawasaki, a race-long fight raged between the newly crowned world champions Ben and Tom Birchall, Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes on the Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki, and a stunningly fast Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde.

The 1000cc GBR Kawasaki of Bryan stole the place time and time again, and eventually pulled a successful move on Reeves which kept him in third place and onto the podium.

A desperate lunge by Tim Reeves at the line was to no avail, and he finished fourth ahead of a brilliant effort by Roger Lovelock and Rick Lawrence.

Former Champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood brought the Quattro Plant/JG Speedfit Kawasaki home in sixth, with new 600cc Cup Champions and second overall Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson seventh.

Result – 1/ Kershaw/Clark (Santander Salt Kawasaki), 2/ Birchall/Birchall (Mitchells of Mansfield Yamaha), 3/ Bryan/Hyde (CVR Global Kawasaki), 4/ Reeves/Wilkes (Carl Cox Motorsport Yamaha), 5/ Lovelock/Lawrence (BB Bikeshop BMW), 6/ Stevens/Charlwood (Quattro Plant JG Speedfit  (Kawasaki), 7/ Ellis/Richardson (Champions) Santander Salt Honda,

8/ Blackstock/Rosney (Dave Holden Racing Suzuki).

 

 

Race Two – The grid saw Ian Guy/Jed Pilmoor-Brady on pole, with the top ten in reverse formation behind them. Race one winners and 2018 champions Kershaw and Clark were therefore coming from tenth.

Weather conditions were cool and damp after heavy overnight showers, and from the lights, Stevens/Charlwood hit the front, chased by Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes. Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson were celebrating their new 600 title as they slotted into third.

These three then began to ease away, with the Birchall brothers fighting up from a slightly slower start. They had become bogged in with the traffic, but once towards the front, made it past the Quattro Plant Kawasaki of Stevens/Charlwood into third.

The wet conditions had dictated a variety of tyre choices and this became a factor. Add into the mix the fact that 1000cc engines were of little or no advantage, and several names came to the fore.

Andy Peach and Ken Edwards had a good dice with the Lovelock/Lawrence BMW, with  the Marlborough man getting the verdict for sixth place behind Stevens.

Peach and Edwards made the most of corner speed but lost out in a straight line.

At the front, Ellis was by now on the back wheel of the multiple world champion Reeves, showing his nose on a number of occasions.

It came down to a thrilling last couple of laps with the damp crowd on its toes, as they emerged from Clearways for the final time side by side.

On the sprint to the line, Ellis took victory from under the nose of Tim Reeves by four thousandths of a second.

Result – 1/ Ellis/Richardson, 2/ Reeves/Wilkes, 3/ Birchall/Birchall, 4/ Kershaw/Clark,

5/ Stevens/Charlwood, 6/ Lovelock/Lawrence, 7/ Peach/Edwards, 8/ Gilbert/Tritton, 9/ Cable/Allum

10/ Biggs/Schmitz

 

Final Standings – Kershaw 538, Ellis 369, Bryan 308, Stevens 283, Birchall 210, Horspole 188, Gilbert 170, Gray 149, Biggs 140, Nicholls 135, Lovelock 100, Peach 97

 

Final Cup Points – Ellis 476, Stevens 406, Gray 300, Biggs 258, Birchall 240, Peach 189, Blackstock 93

 

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