GALE-FORCE WINDS CHALLENGE WIRRAL HUNDRED AT ANGLESEY
As published in full or in part on the ACU (News) & UK Clubsport websites
The Wirral Hundred club’s race meeting on 28th & 29th July on the Anglesey 1.55 mile coastal circuit was its fourth championship meeting of the year, with one now remaining. The meeting also included rounds of the ACU British Formula 2 Sidecar championship and of the International Classic Grand Prix (‘ICGP’) series.
It was the weather, however, which was the main talking point for much of the weekend. Gale-force winds and heavy squalls meant that Saturday was almost a wipe-out. The winds abated just enough for some exploratory laps by a few of the more experienced riders and ultimately for some untimed practice sessions to start at 3pm; by 5pm it was deemed safe enough to run the timed practice sessions for the ACU/FSRA British F2 Sidecars and ICGP, and the day ended amazingly in bright sunshine for the first of the F2 races. Sunday dawned wet and windy again, but with gradually improving weather throughout the day, the day’s full race programme was completed satisfactorily.
Solo riders also took part in a slow Tribute Lap in memory of Craig Bell, with all of the marshals trackside; the turnout was excellent and the spectacle something special. The Club thanks all who took part.
There is a separate detailed report on the British F2 Sidecar races on the FSRA website; it is enough to say here that the two entertaining races were won by Steve & Matty Ramsden and Pete Founds & Jevan Walmsley, and it is the latter who now lead the championship by 50 points, the equivalent of two race wins.
It was a nervous wait for the visiting ICGP riders, particularly those from overseas, before the go-ahead was given for the meeting to start. In the 350cc class, both races were won by the South African wild-card rider Phil Atkinson, and it was left to the hugely experienced Mike Edwards, with two 2nd’s, to move himself to within 6 points of the championship leader Ant Hart with two rounds - at Hockenheim and Interlagos – remaining. Ian Simpson had a 3rd place in race one but a technical problem saw him retire to the pit-lane before the start of race two. Nigel Palmer had two comfortable wins in the 250cc class from the Belgian Yves Hecq.
In the W100 championship races, reduced from four to two races, Adrian Kershaw (100-500cc Allcomers) and Paul Tye (Forgotten Era) clinched their respective championships, with one round to go, whilst it now seems highly unlikely that anyone will be able to catch Tim Bradley (G/Era Supersport) and John Shipley & Jon Saidi (Open Sidecars).
In the Paul Bland Motorsport Formula 600 class Jamie Harris took the two wins just ahead of David Jones, and they are now equal on points going into the final round. Chris Eden also had a good day with two 3rd places, and the best of the rest were Chris Jones and Glenn Walker.
Johnny Blackshaw, the leader of the AS Racing Powerbikes class, took time off this weekend to contend the Donington 8-Hours Endurance Race; his absence and the mixed weather conditions contributed to some interesting results. In the wet first race Adrian Williams showed that a few years out of the sport had not dimmed his abilities and he was a comfortable winner ahead of Graham Hornby and a visitor from Scotland, Max Alexander. The conditions were much better for the second race, and it was no surprise to see Jamie Harris and David Jones at the front but Williams and Alexander showed that they could also compete in the dry in 3rd and 4th place respectively. Blackshaw retains the championship lead but he is now just 7 points clear of Harris. In the Pre-2009/Pre-Electronics Powerbikes category there was a first W100 win for Ulsterman Philip Kerr and a first class win for Jason Edwards. John Jackson and Neil Percival both scored useful points and will go into the final round separated at the top by just 4 points.
The Pre-Injection races had somewhat depleted numbers this time and the wins were taken by Gethin Edwards and Jason Edwards, with Geoffrey Lunn and Liam Weston the best of the rest.
Tim Bradley was his usual class-act in the Golden Era Supersport races and won both the wet race and the dry race convincingly. Damian Davis and Jake Wall filled the next two places in the wet race, the latter achieving his first-ever W100 top-three position. In race two Bradley and Davis were separated by a back-to-form Ray Stevenson, the 2017 champion. The 650 Twins raced alongside G/E Supersport and Mike Bampton was again impressive, winning both races comfortably from his nearest rivals, David Evans and Tim Sayers.
For this meeting the 100-500cc Allcomers and Forgotten Era races were combined, but this did not phase Paul Tye, who remains unbeaten this season in the F/E class. Michael Cash finished 2nd twice, whilst Dan Hanby and Adrian Kershaw each finished 3rd, this being sufficient for Kershaw, the winner at the recent Southern 100, to claim the 100-500cc Allcomers championship again.
The first of the two W100 Open Sidecar races was held in wet conditions and it was the 675 Triumph of Ryan & Callum Crowe, which ‘triumphed’ ahead of the big worm of Gary Knight & Daniel Evanson, such a handful in the difficult conditions. Predictably, the positions were reversed in the dry second race. However John Shipley and Jon Saidi, with a 5th and a 3rd, scored good points, which should be sufficient to claim the club championship at the final round.
At the end of the day, the Anglesey Senior and Junior Open races took place. Jamie Harris took his fourth win of the day in the Senior ahead of David Jones, Chris Eden and Max Alexander and now has a 9 point lead in that championship. Spots of rain returned for the Junior and these brought out the red-flags after two-thirds distance with the three Twins of David Evans, Mike Bampton and Phil Morris at the front. Evans and Bampton are separated now by just 2 points with all to play for in the final round
The Club’s season ends with the iconic Anglesey Grand meeting on the International circuit over the weekend of 29th & 30th September, with the 25th running of the Grand and a full complement of W100 championship races.
Other Wirral witterings
Thanks – a genuine thank-you to all the officials, marshals, medics and the vast majority of riders, who stuck with us throughout a pretty horrible Saturday, and whose patience and fortitude were rewarded by a good race-day on Sunday. Special thanks to those riders, solos and sidecars, who had a few laps to test the conditions on Saturday before helping us reach the sensible conclusion to replace W100 timed practice with ‘free practice’ and to base the grids for the first round of races on championship positions and known ability. Thankfully the conditions further improved late on Saturday afternoon to have timed practice for the British F2 Sidecars and ICGP, and - who would believe it? – to run the first of the F2 Sidecar races. Achieving that in just three hours of track-time on Saturday afternoon, then enabled us to get back on an almost even keel on Sunday. Once again, thank you everyone.
Fallers – All credit to the riders for coping with the difficult conditions over the weekend; only a handful of fallers, the only rider hospitalised was our regular visitor from Ireland, Alan Connor. Here’s hoping his fractured wrist will be ok for the ‘Grand’.
Kind gesture of the weekend – this came from a rider, whose awning had been destroyed on Friday night and who went home early on Saturday morning, without having paid his entry fee or signed on. He rang on the Monday morning asking for the Club’s bank account details so that he could pay us the entry fee, noting that it was ‘only fair’ to do so, given the substantial costs we had to incur in organising the race meeting. Contrast that to a few others, who could think of no-one else but themselves!
Apologies – to the ICGP teams from France, Germany, Belgium, South Africa and Brazil, who were paying their first visits to Anglesey – the weather is not always like that, honest!
Quotes from Saturday: From several riders, from 7.30am onwards, and seeking shelter in the Race Office – “When are we going to start?”
DF – June 2018