Reigning Thundersport GP1 Classic champion Ryan Strafford may have several pieces of silverware in his trophy cabinet, but there’s one prize he’s been waiting 8 years to get his hands on – until now!
After a solid qualifying session, which saw him start 3rd on the grid, Ryan got off to a great start to lead on the opening lap, before Kieran Smith pulled away on the Suzuki, followed by Craig Jeff, to leave him 3rd on the podium. However, in the second race of the day, the Yorkshireman asserted his dominance with a stunning performance that saw him set the fastest lap of the race, winning by a clear 19 second margin. Sunday saw Ryan take yet another win, although this time it was in a much closer affair as Kieran Smith pushed him all the way to the line, with the RS Racing Yamaha crossing the line just 0.919s ahead at the flag. Smith would go ok to take the final victory of the day, as Strafford finished well ahead of Craig Jeff to secure 2nd on the podium. Showing some real grit and determination, especially to take his second win of the weekend, finally earned Ryan the coveted ‘Rider of the Meeting’ trophy from the marshals after 8 years of trying.
In Ryan’s former class, Golden Era SBK front runner Andy Denyer had to miss his opening race after a last minute water leak, but he was back on the grid later that day to secure a strong 2nd place. The result would be repeated the following day, although he saved the best for last with a well deserved win in the final outing of the weekend. Andy Challis and a returning Andy Meachen would also secure top ten finishes.
On the Golden Era Supersport grid, Ben Doolan and Liam Vella both traded blows as the pair scrapped away for 4th and 5th position in three of the weekend’s four races. Last year’s Golden Era Steelsport champion, the Tyres 4 Bikes supported Dave Langley, also joined the pair inside the top ten, while Ryan Garside cemented his position at the top of this year’s Steelsport points table for Myerscough College Motorsport.
Stocktwin title contender Alberto Solera also had another impressive weekend on the Suzuki, stretching his unbroken run of podiums to ten, before a 4th placed finish on day two put an end to that. Undeterred, Solera hit back with a hard fought win in his final race of the meeting. Knight Road Racing Ducati’s Neil Gregory, running in the Supertwin class on the same grid, also picked up his first win of the season with an impressive ride for the team in Lincolnshire, while Craig Szczypek also picked up another podium to add to his tally this year.
With the ever changing weather leading to much changing of wheels, the RS Racing Academy riders Kieran and Christian Smith were both up against it in only their third ever race meeting, but the twin brothers both showed marked improvement in the Superteen class as the weekend went on. There were also a string of solid top ten results for Chris Lavisher, who continues to impress in his first season in the Sportsman 600.
Late next month, the Thundersport championship moves to Leicestershire and the excellent Mallory Park circuit – and we’ll be back in the paddock as always!
Photo credits – Ian Boldy Superbike Photography.
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