The ACU/NoraSport British Supermoto Championship held its season finale at Cadwell Park near Louth in Lincolnshire. Surely the most charismatic road race circuit in the UK, known as the mini Nurburgring, no matter what the weather threw at the venue, sunshine, rain, sleet, ice and hurricane winds the packed grids put on fantastic racing to give the enthusiastic crowds something to remember.
Michelin Premier Cup
Chris Hodgson couldn’t be caught and was the champion for 2016, his team mate Jay Smith was secure in second place so the interest was in who would win the battle for 3rd. Three riders were in the mix, Richard Blakeman, Richard Sharp and Jordan Bannon. With the two lowest scoring rounds of the 10 round season being dropped the final positions would only be decided in the final race.
Qualifying; In damp but bright conditions Hodgson put his Husqvarna on pole position with a blistering lap of 48.019 5/10ths of a second faster than a flying Richard Sharp (Husqvarna). Bannon was a further 2/10ths behind and these three made up the front row. It looked like Richard Blakeman had his work cut out as he only managed 8th position.
Race 1 Hodgson took the holeshot but he was pursued by a rejuvenated Richard Sharp who was hanging on to the back wheel of the Cumbrian. Charlie Light and Jordan Bannon were having a real tussle for third place. Sharp was right in Hodgson’s wheel tracks though and on lap 5 he edged past on brakes into the hairpin. Sharp held a narrow lead for the next 2 laps until Hodgson put in a good passing move to regain the lead. Sharp was pushing for his maiden win though and tried a little too hard slipping of at the Mountain bottom. Bannon took advantage to move into second but young Charlie Light in his best ever finish passed him on the last lap to take second. Sharp remounted for 4th place Blakeman was 5 seconds behind in fifth; Tim Johnson (Husq) was sixth.
Race 2; As the protagonists lined up for Race 2 the weather had deteriorated badly and the track was now very wet with hailstones now falling to make matters worse, Hodgson could relax and enjoy his racing but the pressure was on for the third place and Blakeman knew he needed to act. The weather conditions suited the burly Lancastrian though as he is a renowned wet weather rider. Sharp also needed to get nearer the front after his lapse in R1 and Bannon was certainly on the pace. Hodgson hit the front from the holeshot and was never troubled, his smooth style suited to the treacherous conditions. Charlie Light couldn’t maintain the pace he showed in the earlier drier conditions and was passed by Tim Johnson, Blakeman and Bannon, he fought off Owen Connell though to end up 5th. Blakeman was on the charge and passed Johnson for 2nd Bannon got 4th, the big loser was Sharp who fell again when in 5th and ended up 18th.
Race 3; By now it was getting gloomy the rain had eased but the track was still very wet, the temperature had also plummeted and with the wind increasing the falling leaves of the woodland circuit added further complications to the task of negotiating the track at high speed. Arriving late for the grid saw Hodgson relegated to the back starting in 30th position. Blakeman saw his chance and set off like a scalded cat, stretching his advantage in the autumnal dusk, the weather was appalling with the leaves falling from the surrounding trees adding to the slippery mix. The battle behind Blakeman was intense with Jamie Duncan, Jordan Bannon, Charlie Light and Tim Johnson scrapping for the podium. Chris Hodgson though was a different class scything through the field he was rapidly catching the leading bunch. Blakeman looked to have his maiden victory secured though when disaster struck and exiting the Woodland hairpin he lit up the back wheel of his Husqvarna just a fraction more aggressively than on previous laps and had a huge high-side. The resulting red flag gave the win to Hodgson, Tim Johnson was a fantastic second with BSB regular Rob McNealy 3rd.
Overall; Hodgson took the overall with his 3 wins from Tim Johnson with his best ever finish, Jordan Bannon was 3rd, Charlie Light 4th and Richard Blakeman secured third in the Championship with 5th.
Suter Challenge Cup
Going into the last round of the Elite feeder series George Jarvis (Husqvarna) had secured the title, the ex-Speedway rider had won the Novice title the previous year and is fast becoming a very impressive Supermoto star. The battle therefore was for the podium positions. South African Dirk Jordaan (KTM) was the overall winner on the day mastering the tricky conditions with his all action style. Tynesider Peter Bennet continued his late season impressive form with second ahead of the 13-year-old wonder kid Storm Stacey who now competes in Moto 3 in BSB. Second in the championship went to Darren Lee, with veteran Andre Craddock third, both riders doing enough in the final race to secure their positions.
NPS GIAG/Novice Cup
The closest finish of the day was in the starter series where over 85 different riders had tried their hands at Supermoto through this year. Glaswegian Chris Eastwood and Wiganer Stephen Lowe were neck and neck going into the last round. Although Lowe was victorious on the day with two wins and a second over local sand racer Toby Hales, Eastwood garnered enough points to win the Championship by 3 points. Third place in the championship went to Blaine Pearson on his humble 250 Husqvarna two stroke.
The paddock awoke to a blustery, bright but freezing morning with the circuit thermometer showing -2°. The sunshine failed to hang around long though and the high winds sent bands of intense rain sweeping across the track making for difficult tyre choices.
Michelin Elite Cup
Qualifying; Saturdays starters where joined in qualifying by multiple British Champion Matt Winstanley and BSB regular Davey Todd who was riding an early model Dave Clarke Racing Husaberg that has had numerous wins on this circuit in the hands of Christian Iddon. After a relatively dry practice session the heavens opened for the Elite qualifying and had to be red flagged early after an incident at the Bridge Hairpin, unfortunately Chris Hodgson and Charlie Light both received injuries that stopped them from riding the rest of the day. Winstanley (Husqvarna) showed his class with pole position 1/10th of a second faster than Todd, Jordan Bannon was third from Richard Sharp and Richard Blakeman.
Race 1; Davey Todd got the holeshot the veteran Husaberg having immense power and the young Middlesboro rider who is rapidly gaining the reputation of a wet weather genius in BSB was totally confident to stretch away from the ultra-smooth Winstanley, winning by a huge 7 seconds. However, 3 seconds behind was the titanic battle for third with Richard Sharp, Jordan Bannon and Richard Blakeman wheel to wheel in the monsoon conditions. Sharp held on for 3rd whilst Bannon beat Blakeman in a photo finish of 3/100ths of a second.
Race 2; Todd was enjoying his old school retro ‘berg and showing just what a potent weapon it was in the hands of a good rider. Race 2 was more processional than earlier races with Todd leading from the start. Winstanley was untroubled again in second place only Richard Sharp keeping him in sight, Bannon was a lonely fourth place although there were many close battles down the order to keep crowd entertained. However, one thought did start to enter the minds of the top riders, King of the Hill. This prestigious trophy is awarded to the top aggregate points scorer over both days and with Hodgson’s absence and Winstanley and Todd both only competing one day calculators were being anxiously consulted in the paddock.
Race 3; With the fitful stormy weather giving the riders a break by staying dry for the last race it was November and with the clocks now back an hour, the final grid assembled in almost darkness. The backdrop was spectacular as the sparks from foot pegs and boot sliders lit up the gloom as every Elite rider gave their all in the final race of the 2016 season. From the start it was Winstanley in front, then Sharp, then Todd. However, Todd muscled Sharp out of the way to chase down Winstanley and on lap 4 he sped past the Wigan rider who could only watch the ‘berg disappear down the fast straight. Bannon got his act together and decisively passed Sharp to take third, Blakeman and Tim Johnson were locked in a wheel to wheel battle in frankly pitch black conditions which Blakeman emerged from the gloaming to take 5th.
Overall; Todd took the overall with his three wins from Winstanley in second, Richard Sharp took third place, a good recovery from his poor Saturday. However, it was Jordan Bannon who took the King of the Hill trophy by a narrow margin from Tim Johnson, the young Merseysider also sealed 4th overall in the Championship just 3 points behind a delighted Richard Blakeman who had ridden bravely with injuries after his big fall on the previous day.
Andy Mitchell had already been crowned National Champion before the day began and he added the over 45 and two stroke championship to his long list of achievements. However, the burly Yorkshireman is a fearsome competitor and didn’t give any presents winning the overall from fellow Yorkshireman George Jarvis. Keith Topliss making a return to the sport after a year out guided his TM to third place. In the Clubman sub category Ashley Middleton continued his rise in the sport by taking his 15-year-old Honda to the overall class win and the title by 7 points over Scotsman Ryan Chalmers who had a difficult meeting.
Race report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Sports Events Live
Results Day One
Michelin Premier Cup 1st Chris Hodgson (Husq) 105pts – 2nd Tim Johnson(Husq) 87pts – 3rd Jordan Bannon (Husq) 86pts – 4th Charlie Light (KTM) 83pts – 5th Richard Blakeman (Husq) 77pts – 6th Rob McNealy (Husq) 76pts – 7th Richard Sharp (Husq) 71pts – 8th Owen Connell (KTM) 68pts – 9th Jamie Duncan (KTM) 67pts -10th Michael Ford (Honda) 67pts.
Michelin Premier Cup Championship Overall
1st Chris Hodgson 280pts –2nd Jay Smith 253pts – 3rd Richard Blakeman 226pts – 4th Richard Sharp 213pts – 5th Jordan Bannon 211pts
Suter Challenge Cup 1st Dirk Jordaan (KTM) 100pts – 2nd Peter Bennett (Aprilia) 92pts -3rd Storm Stacey (Honda) 87pts – 4th George Jarvis (Husq) 80pts – 5th Ashley Middleton (Honda) 78pts
Suter Challenge Cup Championship Overall
1st George Jarvis 262pts –2nd Darren Lee 243pts – 3rd Andre Craddock 216pts – 4th Dirk Jordaan 202pts – 5th Ashley Middleton 194pts
Novice Cup 1st Stephen Lowe (TM) 102pts – 2nd Toby Hales (Husq) 85pts – 3rd Drew Pearson (Husq) 80pts – 4th Natalie Knowles (KTM) 78pts – 5th Blaine Pearson (Husq) 75pts
Novice Cup Championship Overall
1st Chris Eastwood 245pts –2nd Steven Lowe 242pts – 3rd Blaine Pearson 234pts – 4th Simon Snowdon 217pts – 5th Craig Forshaw 217pts
Results Day Two
Michelin Elite Cup 1st Davey Todd (Husaberg) 105pts – 2nd Matt Winstanley (Husq) 96pts – 3rd Richard Sharp (Husq) 88pts – 4th Jordan Bannon (Husq) 86pts – 5th Richard Blakeman (Husq) 77pts – 6th Tim Johnson (Husq) 76pts – 7th Owen Connell (Honda) 72pts – 8th Michael Ford (Honda) 45pts – 9th Jamie Duncan (KTM) 93pts
Michelin Elite Cup Championship Overall
1st Chris Hodgson 280pts –2nd Jay Smith 242pts – 3rd Richard Blakeman 221pts – 4th Jordan Bannon 218pts – 5th Richard Sharp 204pts
Open National A 1st Andy Mitchell (KTM) 105pts – 2nd George Jarvis (KTM) 92pts – 3rd Keith Topliss (TM) 90pts – 4th Storm Stacey (Honda) 88pts – 5th Ashley Middleton (Honda) 76pts
Open National Championship Overall
1st Andy Mitchell 280pts – 2nd George Jarvis 246pts – 3rd Darren Lee 232pts – 4th Andre Craddock 213pts – 5th Ashley Middleton 201pts
Open Clubman Overall 1st Ashley Middleton (Honda) 76pts – 2nd Daniel Hall (KTM) 75pts – 3rd Peter Bennett (Aprilia) 69pts – 4th Chris Eastwood (Husq) 50pts – 5th Toby Hales (Husq) 38pts
Open Clubman Championship Overall
1st Ashley Middleton 264pts – 2nd Ryan Chalmers 257pts – 3rd James Wood 207pts – 4th Jordan Nutter 204pts – 5th Andrew Goodsell 176pts
Race report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Sports Events Live