It’s been several years since the Thundersport GB paddock rocked up at Mallory Park, which meant that for lots of riders this weekend they had a lot of learning to do, and quickly!
One person who is no stranger to Mallory is RS Racing’s Ryan Strafford, who already held two class lap records at the East Midlands circuit going into the weekend’s racing.
With wins in the previous two encounters at Snetterton and Cadwell Park, Ryan and Team Principal Chris were keen for a repeat performance as the Yorkshireman qualified in 2nd place for the Golden Era Superbike series on the RC-51 SP2. Ryan’s teammate Andrew Meachen also qualified in 7th place as he continues to grow in confidence in his first season of racing.
The weekend’s opening race saw Ryan get the better of championship leader Ritchie Thornton as the pair battled for the lead, the red and white Honda crossing the line in first place for maximum points. Ryan followed that up with a 3rd place in Saturday’s second contest, and two more 2nd placed finishes on the Sunday. Meanwhile Andrew held his nerve to take four top-ten finishes on his first visit to the track.
Richie Harrison went into the weekend leading the Golden Era Supersport championship in his first season on Continental, and ensured that he was on the front row of the grid for race one. Unfortunately for Richie and team boss Alan, the RAP Racing Yamaha rider was caught out at Gerrards and had a big off which prematurely ended his weekend. Thankfully nothing is broken, so the Lancashire based rider is currently recuperating at home and looking forward to the next round. Fellow competitor Ian Lawton made the switch to Continental this weekend and it certainly paid off as he took his first podium in the class on Sunday, followed shortly by another one! Liam Vella struggled initially in qualifying to put him in 20th place on the grid, but as he started to gel with the circuit the young racer picked up several places in all his races as he challenged for the top ten.
Meanwhile in the Golden Era Steelsport class, Tyres 4 Bikes supported Dave Langley got his title challenge back on track as he closed the gap on title leader Jon Wright by more than 30 points. Dave has been on the podium in every single race in the class this year, and he didn’t disappoint in the first race as he took his second win of the season on the Honda. The Norfolk racer followed that up with two 2nd places and a 3rd as old rival Mark Biswell made a brief return to the class. Dave’s unbroken run of podiums helped him eat into Jon Wright’s championship lead, a perfect way to round off a week which also saw the serviceman named in the Queen’s Honours List and be awarded the Continental ‘Rider of the Meeting’ accolade.
With a packed grid at every round so far this season, there were a lot of riders vying for space in the Pre-National Sport 600. Welshman Alun Brooks was able to push his way to the front end of the pack and was rewarded with three 2nd placed finishes while last month’s ‘Rider of the Meeting’ AJ McDaniel all the way from Texas USA scored his first win of the year in the Freshman. Jeremy Watson and Nick Barnes also scored some top ten finishes despite the traffic on track whilst Chris Lavisher eventually got to grips with Mallory after qualifying in 23rd place on a busy weekend which saw grids split to accommodate all the bikes in class.
Over in the Stocktwins Jason Markham scored a podium in his final contest of the weekend, and Mike Gover also took two top five finishes in the GP1 Classic.
Congratulations to all the riders on their great results at Mallory Park, hopefully it is a circuit that will remain on the Thundersport calendar for next year too!
At the end of July we’ll be back for the 6th round of the season which takes place at Rockingham, and we look forward to seeing you all there!
Photo credit (top) to Janet Whitham.
Find out more about the Continental race tyre range here.