Crail Raceway 28 & 29 May 2015
Race report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Sports Events Live
Hodgson – King of Scotland
After a successful visit last year the Supermoto Championship again descended on the pretty little harbour town of Crail near St Andrews in the East Neuk of Fife to what is probably the best Supermoto track currently in the UK. With tight twisty flowing tarmac and two very technical off road sections that had again been improved by the Scottish Supermoto club it proved a real hit with Novice and Expert alike.
Michelin Elite Cup
In grey overcast conditions with a definite Scotch mist in evidence the Michelin Elite Cup qualifying was dominated by Cumbrian Chris Hodgson, he finished 9/10ths ahead of his returning teammate Jay Smith, back after missing the last meeting with a broken thumb. Third on the grid was local lad Jamie Duncan, with Yorkshireman Richard Sharp completing the front row.
Race 1 was an easy start to finish win for Hodgson, the excitement was the battle for 2nd with Jamie Duncan & Richard Sharp pressurising Jay smith lap after lap. Eventually Duncan squeezed past on lap 9 and Sharp soon followed, both these riders are super fast on the dirt sections and Smith was struggling with his hand, but managed to hang on for 4th with another Scotsman Ben McLusky getting a great 5th ahead of veteran Andy Mitchell making a welcome return to the Elite class.
Race 2 was again a flag to flag victory for the imperious Hodgson, however Smith was starting to get to grips with the track and held off the aggressive Duncan to take second, Sharp was a little bit off race 1 pace finishing a lonely 4th McLusky looked fantastic using Hodgson’s cast off tyres and Jordan Bannon edged into the top 6.
Race 3 saw Hodgson lead every lap but this time Smith was right with him getting his lap time down to within 2/10ths of the Cumbrian master, Duncan took third after a great battle with Sharp, McLusky was again a fine 5th and Bannon 6th. Mention must be made of the 3 race long battles between Dean Hillier & Tim Johnson, the Husqvarna mounted pair banged bars every lap of every race finishing each race with less than a second separating the two of them.
Overall Hodgson took a maximum 105 points from a delighted Jamie Duncan on 92, Smith on 90, Sharp 86 and Ben McLusky managed a very creditable 5th place after consistently riding well with 80 points.
Suter Clutch Challenge Cup
Rapidly becoming the class to watch for close racing all through the field, Widnes man Jack Fay managed the narrowest overall win after tying on points with Surrey regular Darren Lee, Fay got the decision based on best result in race 3, Local rider Ryan Chalmers was a fine third with George Jarvis in 4th and rapidly improving Ashley Middleton in 5th.
NPS GIAG Novice Cup
Glaswegian Chris Eastwood, made best use of his circuit knowledge to take maxium points from two Wigan riders Steven Lowe & Craig Forshaw, Simon Snowden made the epic trip from Cornwall worthwhile by keeping his championship lead with a 4th place, missing out on the third podium step on the tie break last race result rule.
Close racing in the Mini Bike class saw Ben Green take an Overall and Class win for Honda engine bikes from Cumbrian fashion icon Gary Pigney and flying the Scottish flag was CeeJay Davis who battled all day to get 3rd overall.
The weather was brighter for Sunday as the sun finally made an appearance to give perfect conditions for racing. The off road sections had really benefitted from the hours of preparation work that had gone into them with a blue groove appearing. The track direction was reversed to run clock wise giving the competitors something to think about.
The vital qualifying session saw Hodgson put his Husqvarna on pole. Jay Smith was 9/10ths slower in 2nd followed by Scotsman Jamie Duncan; Richard Sharp again took the final front row spot.
Race 1 looked like it was going to be a repeat of Saturday with Hodgson in the lead however Smith was much closer and passed Hodgson in the off road, before in one of the best moves of the weekend Hodgson passed him back 3 laps later Smith hung on but couldn’t make another pass but was happy to have the fastest lap of the race. Jamie Duncan was third, Sharp 4th, Bannon picked up 5th after another great battle with the impressive McLusky.
Race 2 was even better with Hodgson getting the holeshot but Smith was in his wheel tracks the whole race, the pair of the SJP Moto teammates looked like they were attached with string as they circulated together, Smith was more canny this race and waited until lap 8 before forcing his way past but Hodgson isn’t a multiple champ for nothing and made his move back on the last lap to finish 8/10ths in front. Richard Sharp continued to ride well with another 3rd place, Jamie Duncan was showing real character riding two classes he finished 4th Bannon & McLusky were symptomatic of the battles all through the field with 5th & 6th respectively.
Race 3 was a belter, reversing the track from Saturday had seemed to even things out or perhaps Smith was benefitting from all the racing after a long lay off but he got the holeshot and willed on by the large crowd of spectators he kept Hodgson at bay for 12 scintillating laps winning the race by the narrowest of margins, 9/100ths of a second! Richard Sharp was consistent to the end with another 3rd place, Jamie Duncan an exhausted 4th, Bannon was 5th and Andy Mitchell maintained his legend status by muscling into 6th place on his 300 two stroke.
The Open National races produced the same level of bar to bar rivalry on track as the Elite races with the A B & C groups fighting it out for championship points. Overall Andy Mitchell took the number 1 step on the podium and picked up awards for best Over 45 and best two-stroke. Darren Lee made the long trip from Surrey worthwhile with second spot on the podium tying on points with local rider Ryan Chalmers but having the best last race result. George Jarvis was a solid fourth, Andre Craddock enjoyed himself immensely gaining 5th overall with Ashley Middleton again 6th on his aging but immaculate Honda.
Results Day One
Michelin Premier Cup 1st Chris Hodgson (Honda) 105pts – 2nd Jamie Duncan (KTM) 92pts -3rd Jay Smith (Husqvarna) 90pts – 4th Richard Sharp (Husqvarna) 86pts – 5th Ben McLusky (Kawasaki) 80pts – 6th Jordan Bannon (Husqvarna) 74pts – 7th Andy Mitchell (KTM) 73pts – 8th Dean Hillier (Husqvarna) 67pts – 9th Tim Johnson (Husqvarna) 67pts -10th Jack Gow (TM) 64pts.
Suter Cup 1st Jack Fay (Husqvarna) 96pts – 2nd Darren Lee (KTM) 96pts -3rd Ryan Chalmers (Husqvarna) 91pts – 4th George Jarvis (Husqvarna) 86pts – 5th Ashley Middleton (Honda) 81pts
Novice Cup 1st Chris Eastwood (Honda) 105pts – 2nd Steven Lowe (Honda) 96pts – 3rd Craig Forshaw (TM) 86pts – 4th Simon Snowden (KTM) 86pts – 5th Mike Porter (Husaberg) 80pts
Mini Bikes 1st Ben Green (CRF) 99pts – 2nd Gary Pigney (Open) 95pts – 3rd CeeJay Davis (CRF) 91pts – 4th Jamie Stables (Open) 84pts – 5th Mark Ducat (Stock) 79pts
Results Day Two
Michelin Elite Cup 1st Chris Hodgson (Husq) 102pts – 2nd Jay Smith (Husq) 99pts – 3rd Richard Sharp (Husq) 88pts – 4th Jamie Duncan (KTM) 86pts – 5th Jordan Bannon (KTM) 78pts – 6th Ben McLusky (Kawasaki) 75pts – 7th Dean Hillier (Husq) 7pts – 8th Tim Johnson 70pts – 9th Jack Gow (TM) 65pts
Open National 1st Andy Mitchell (KTM) 105pts – 2nd Darren Lee (KTM) 92pts -3rd Ryan Chalmers (Husqvarna) 92pts – 4th George Jarvis (Husqvarna) 83pts – 5th Andre Craddock (TM) 78pts
Clubman Cup 1st Ryan Chalmers (Husqvarna) 92pts – 2nd Ashley Middleton (Honda) 75pts -3rd Steve Parkin (Husqvarna) 67pts – 4th Paul Wishart (Yamaha) 64pts – 5th Chris Eastwood (Honda) 61pts
Best Over 45 – Andy Mitchell (KTM)
Best Two-Stroke – Andy Mitchell (KTM)