Two of the UK’s biggest clubs kicked off their 2018 race seasons over the weekend, with the BEMSEE paddock rolling into town at Brands Hatch and the EMRA getting underway at Mallory Park.
Weather played havoc with frequent rain showers leaving many riders with a tyre dilemma and little time to get wheels swapped ahead of their next race.
With UK Brand Manager Graham in attendance on the Friday at Brands Indy Circuit, it was great to see plenty of familiar faces raring to go, while many other riders were preparing to use Continental race tyres for the very first time.
Last year’s Rookie Minitwin champion Cam Harris has moved to the Clubman 600 class this season, and has quickly adapted to life on the supersport. The Cambridgeshire based rider finished his maiden Clubman 600 race just outside the top ten, but by Sunday he’d found that all-important bit of extra pace to finish in 6th. Fellow Clubman 600 rider Andy Smith started his season in fantastic form with 2nd place in the opening race, followed up by two wins before Sunday’s racing was cut short due to a large oil spill at Clearways.
Dan Harris and Wil Green were both close behind Cam Harris last year, and for 2018 have moved up to the MRO Minitwin class alongside Dan Singleton, who joined the class last year after claiming the Rookie title in 2016. Singleton battled hard to take 2nd place in the opening race, followed up by 3rd place later that day. Unfortunately he failed to finish the first race on Sunday, but came back in style to take a convincing win in the final contest of the weekend. Dan Harris picked up his pace on Sunday to also finish on the podium, whilst Wil Green consistently improved all weekend to take a best placed result of 6th.
Thunderbike Rookie champion Ande Friend has jumped up to the Extreme class this season, where he joins good friend Adam Norton with the pair seemingly closely matched. The two friends traded places on both Saturday and Sunday, as they both broke into the top ten until the action was cut short. Classic TT rider Kevin Miller was also riding hard in the Thunderbike Sport class.
In his very first season of racing, Dave Redgewick also started with a highly respectable 7th place in the opening Rookie 1000 race, before going on to secure another top ten finish later that day.
Head more than 130 miles north from the famous Kent circuit, and Chris Ashfield was also making a great start to his EMRA Minitwin championship bid for Team Wicklen Racing, as he took two convincing wins around Mallory Park.
Later this month it’s the turn of the Thundersport GB riders to get their season underway at Donington Park, which promises to be another great weekend of racing.
Congratulations to all the riders on their excellent results over the weekend, and we’ll see you back in the paddock again next month.
Image credit – Steve Snelling.
Find out more about the Continental race tyre range here.