Round 6 – East Fortune – Melville M.C.C. – Sunday 18th September
Words – Abbey Brooks / Photographs – Sid Diggins
The teams headed to Scotland to join Melville Racing Club for the penultimate round of the series. Saturday looked set to be a good day of racing with conditions being dry and reasonably warm for a late September morning. However, this was until the riders were called for a briefing to be told due to a shortage of medical staff that the only option was to run the opening day solely as testing / untimed practice. With this being frustrating to most teams, on the “flip side” it was helpful to others as first time visitors were able to get to grips with the track, and experiment with machine settings.
After many practice laps, Sunday morning finally came around, with the teams forming up in race one with the grid being decided by championship point standings. This gave Andrew Bingham / Steve Dalton (Shelbourne Honda) pole position. As the lights went out it was the pairing of Liam Saunders / Ben Stell (Ireson Yamaha) who took the lead into the first corner with Bingham / Dalton and the F1 of Mark Burns / Steven Winfrow (Baker Yamaha) in close quarters behind with the rest of the field streaming through.
Unfortunately this didn’t last long for Burns / Winfrow, as they experienced a engine failure before the completion of the opening lap. It was all action in the middle of the pack, with Dave Tibbles / Raitch Greenwood (FJ Yamaha) and Wes Pettman / Tom Dawkins (Windle Yamaha) resuming their on-track rivalries from Croft as they battled for the first few laps with Simon Horton / Jordan Forrest (Wintec Yamaha) close behind them. Tibbles / Greenwood began to experience gearbox issues which gave Pettman / Dawkins the intiative, with Horton / Forrest close behind. The pairing of Saunders / Stell pulled away from the field leaving an enviable gap, but this did not deter Bingham / Dalton to drop the pace as they continued to improve their lap times. Back down the field, Derek Salleh / Jack Fairhurst (Ireson Yamaha) had a good race with guest team Richard Butler / Joanne Thomas (Ireson Honda-RR). With back markers coming into play it allowed Saunders / Stell the chance to open a larger gap, taking the chequered flag with Bingham / Dalton in second from the leading F1 of Horton / Forrest third.
Race two soon came around for the teams with a hurried engine change for Burns / Winfrow, which immediately saw them leading the way off the line, with Bingham / Dalton following. It was immediately obvious on lap one that Saunders / Stell had engine issues as they fell to the back of the pack and retired to the paddock.
Bingham / Dalton took the lead and began opening a gap from the remainder field. Tibbles / Greenwood had fixed their gear selection issues from the earlier outing, seeing them resume their battle between with Pettman / Dawkins, however the latter crew were able to eventually ease away. Sallah / Fairhurst battled their way through the mid pack and closed the gap between themselves and Tibbles / Greenwood. Further up the field, back markers once again came into play as the race drew to a close, allowing Burns / Winfrow the chance to chase down Bingham / Dalton but it was too little to late, as Bingham / Dalton took the chequered flag with Burns / Winfrow second overall, and first in class with Horton / Forrest third once again.
The weekend was enjoyed by all teams and we felt very welcome by the club for the annual late summer visit “North Of The Border”. Dave Tibbles took the opportunity to speak to the teams regarding a potential new series next year: “The Clubmans Championship” which will run alongside the Pre-Injection championship – this is a chance to get more sidecars onto the grids. It would be very helpful if teams could email Dave or the F.S.R.A. Committee with their thoughts on this – or for further details.
The final round of the championship is on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th October, where we join Wirral 100 at the Anglesey Grand meeting so please make sure you get your entries in a.s.a.p. as the entry closing date is upon us.