One of the most demanding but popular venues on the Supermoto calendar, the tight and twisty Rowrah Kart track, located in the beautiful North West Lake district played host to the second round of the 2018 British Supermoto Championship. For the second year running beautiful sunshine greeted the large contingent of riders who had travelled from all over the UK to compete in the three day festival of slide action.
Race Day 1 – Michelin Championship
Local hero and multiple British Champion Chris Hodgson was the pre-race favourite on his very trick LSP KTM, living only 15 minutes from the track he is a natural choice but in truth Rowrah isn’t one of his strongest circuits. His major rival in this year’s series looks to be Teessider Davey Todd, the youngster from Brotton is splitting his season between the Irish Road race scene and riding an HGR Husqvarna in the British Supermoto Championship. In the beautiful sunshine Todd put his Husqvarna on pole 4/10th’s of a second ahead of Hodgson. Third was Hodgson’s LSP teammate Jordan Bannon, the young Merseysider had been in great form at Round 1 and brought that form into Round 2 but he was nearly a second slower than his illustrious teammate. Richard Sharp (Husq) was fourth, Richard Blakeman fifth (Husq) and Scotland’s Jamie Duncan (KTM) sixth.
Race 1; Todd got the holeshot but was chased immediately by Hodgson who put in the fastest lap of the race on lap 2, a new lap record, as he tried everything he knew to try to get past the leader but on the tight twisty track passing is difficult and Todd controlled the race from the front, making good use of the back markers whilst lapping them he finished a comfortable 2 seconds in front at the flag. Bannon backed up his excellent qualifying with a start to finish third place ahead of Richard Sharp who was similarly untroubled in fourth, Richard Blakeman was just behind in fifth. Local lad Dale O’Connor had a tremendous battle with Jamie Duncan as the pair were shoulder to shoulder banging bars for the entire race with the Cumbrian coming out on top in sixth.
Race 2; Race 2 was almost a carbon copy of race 1 as from pole position Todd hit the front but Hodgson was on his back wheel for the entire race and again registered the fastest lap as both riders lapped consistently 0.5 of a second under last year’s times. Hodgson put everything into the final laps but again had to give best to Todd, 4/10ths of a second behind after 14 hard laps. Jordan Bannon had a lonely untroubled ride for third 10 seconds ahead of Sharp who was a further 5 seconds ahead of Blakeman. Dale O’Connor and Jamie Duncan were again inseparable crossing the line almost neck and neck with O’Connor getting sixth again.
Race 3; Todd cruised to three wins from three in the third and final race of the day. Bannon got the jump at the start over is team mate Hodgson who took 4 laps to get past by which time Todd had pulled enough of a gap to win comfortably. Richard Sharp was again fourth, but Jamie Duncan finally managed to pass O’Connor to gain fifth. HGR Husqvarna rider Bradley Hardy was rewarded for a gritty effort, riding with a broken scaphoid he recorded his best result of the day with a strong sixth.
Overall; It was Todd from Hodgson with a delighted Jordan Bannon taking the final podium. Richard Sharp was fourth, Jamie Duncan fifth and Richard Blakeman sixth.
NPS G.I.A.G. Novice Cup
Rowrah is a popular venue for Novices with the all-weather dirt section being challenging but rideable to all levels of riders. With a strong entry it meant that the group was split into two sets of races, A & B. Marcus Robinson followed up his strong effort from Round 1 with three race wins for maximum points. Michael Toogood was a fine second, just ahead of Dariusz Zybrowski, Craig Whittaker was fourth with Andrew Moss fifth and Gareth Baxter rounded out the top six.
Academy Class/Mini Bikes
In the combined Academy and Mini Bike class 14 year old Ben Bayfield had two wins and a second to take the spoils from his friend and fierce rival Lewis Hardy both rode KTM 85’s they were followed home by son of current Elite rider Harley Sharp (Husqvarna 85). In the Mini bike class 18 stone comedian Mick Cartlidge hustled his CRF150 round to beat similarly mounted Stewart Tolkin. Third place went to the father of the Academy class winner, Darren Bayfield, his plan of showing his son the way round went somewhat awry as he couldn’t get near him in any of the three races.
Race Day 2 – The British Supermoto Championship
After the lovely weather of Race Day 1, Sunday was cold and damp with a light Lakeland mizzle wetting the track and dampening the spirits. However Supermoto is even more spectacular when the conditions are slippy soi the watching crowd in the impressive surroundings would be sure of action all day whatever the weather.
After Saturdays dominance it was expected that Davey Todd would take pole, but the organisers added a “Superpole” where the top 4 riders from the qualifying session got the chance for a one lap attempt to better their initial time. Running in reverse order it was 4th place Richard Blakeman who led proceedings and couldn’t better his qualifying time however 3rd place Jordan Bannon put in a stunner of a lap 1.6 seconds better than his qualifying time to take pole from Davey Todd and Chris Hodgson, an important advantage on the tight and twisty track.
Race 1: Having gained the advantage of pole position Jordan Bannon made a slight hash of the start which let Davey Todd away, Bannon held second ahead of his team mate Hodgson, with certainly no team orders at this stage of the season the young Merseysider rode as hard as he could in the very slippy conditions but in lap 7 Hodgson capitalised on a slight mistake to take second place which he held to the line with Bannon finishing just half a second behind in third. Richard Blakeman was fourth ahead of Jamie Duncan in fifth and Richard Sharp rounded off the top six.
Race 2: The rain had eased off in the morning and as the races resumed after lunch the track was beginning to dry as the support races created a definite “line”. Tyre choice was now the major decision and hasty changes were made as riders headed for the grid. Most of the competitors had stuck with full wets but Todd, Bannon and Hodgson had fitted a rear slick and the brave Jamie Duncan had gone for full slicks. What ensued was certainly the best race of the day and one of the most enjoyable of any season to watch. Richard Blakeman got a huge roar as he pushed through to the front, making full use of the wet tyres early in the race he fittingly led his father’s memorial meeting and seemed to be gapping the other riders. Behind him Todd, Bannon and Hodgson all looked like Bambi on ice as they tried to get heat into their hastily fitted rear tyres. Bannon pushed past Todd and Hodgson but couldn’t hold his line and went grasstracking which dropped him to 10th place. Todd set off after Blakeman whose wet tyres were starting to cook on the drying track, however it was Hodgson who seemed to have the best set up and he passed Todd then Blakeman to take the lead on lap 5, Todd also managed to pass Blakeman on the sixth lap but the burly Lancastrian hung on to record a fine third place just metres ahead of the recovering Bannon in fourth. Richard Sharp held on to 5th ahead of the Jamie Duncan in 6th.
Race 3: With Todd having a win and a second and Hodgson a second and a win, race three would be the decider for the overall, Bannon and Blakeman would feel they were in with a chance of the overall as well if either of the other two made a mistake in Race 3, especially with the final race increased by two laps to sixteen. Todd got the holeshot but for Hodgson disaster struck on the opening lap he went down at the far side of the track, quickly remounting he was still last as he got going again with a huge task in front of him. Todd and Bannon slowly pulled away from the chasing pack, but Todd was the master of the flowing twisty turns especially in the dry and went on to win comfortably by 9 seconds from Bannon. Hodgson executed a master class in passing and fought from his last place to take third. Behind them there was pitched battles all the way through the race, Blakeman took fourth ahead of the excellent Duncan in fifth with Andy Mitchell improving through the day to take sixth.
Overall: When the points had been tallied up after a wonderful days racing Davey Todd came out on top four points ahead of Hodgson, Jordan Bannon was rewarded for his consistency with third, Richard Blakeman was a popular fourth with Scot Jamie Duncan fifth, Richard Sharp was sixth, his third race crash ruining his chances of a higher finish. The circus now moves on to Lydden Hill for round three on 26 & 27 May.
Results Day One
Michelin Championship 1st Davey Todd (Husqvarna) 105pts – 2nd Chris Hodgson (KTM) 96pts – 3rd Jordan Bannon (KTM) 90pts – 4th Richard Sharp (Husqvarna) 84pts – 5th Jamie Duncan (KTM) 77 pts – 6th Richard Blakeman (Husqvarna) 74pts – 7th Bradley Hardy (Husqvarna) 71pts – 8th Dale O’Connor (KTM) 71pts – 9th Tim Johnson (KTM) 68pts -10th Peter Bennett (Husqvarna) 65pts
Evo Cup 1st Richard Jennings (Aprilia) 102pts – 2nd Keith Edwards (Honda) 90pts – 3rd Dan Spencer (Yamaha) 84pts – 4th Daryl McCall (KTM) 75pts – 5th Matthew Richardson (KTM) 51pts – 6th Dave Jolly (Husaberg) 32pts
GIAG Novice Cup 1st Marcus Robinson (KTM) 105pts – 2nd Michael Toogood (KTM) 96pts – 3rd Dariusz Zybrowski (KTM) 90pts – 4th Craig Whittaker (Husqvarna) 82pts – 5th Andrew Moss (Honda) 80pts
Mini Bikes 1st Mick Cartlidge (CRF) 105pts – 2nd Stewart Tol;kin (CRF) 92 pts – 3rd Darren Bayfield (KTM 85) 90pts – 4th Connor Greaves (CRF) 88pts – 5th Anne Savage (CRF) 77pts
Academy Class 1st Ben Bayfield (KTM 85) 102pts – 2nd Lewis Hardy (KTM 85) 99pts – 3rd Harley Sharp (Husq 85) 90 pts – 4th Kyle Bennet (KTM 85) 82pts – 5th Oliver Ross (KTM 85) 79pts
Results Day Two
The British Supermoto Championship 1st Davey Todd (Husq) 148pts – 2nd Chris Hodgson (KTM) 144pts – 3rd Jordan Bannon (KTM) 138pts – 4th Richard Blakeman (Husq) 134pts – 5th Jamie Duncan (KTM) 124pts – 6th Richard Sharp (Husq) 113pts – 7th Andy Mitchell (Husq) 112pts – 8th Bradley Hardy (Husq) 110pts – 9th Dale O’Connor (KTM) 108pts – 10th Tim Johnson (Husq) 98pts
Clubman Cup 1st Darren Wells (Husq) 90pts – 2nd Andrew Kitching (KTM) 67pts – 3rd Hein Basson (KTM) 63pts – 4th Dave Jolly (Husaberg) 62pts – 5th Dean Smith (Husq) 59pts
Novice Cup 1st Jamie Stables (KTM) 68pts – 2nd Craig Whittaker (Husq) 61pts – 3rd Luke Howson (Husq) 49pts – 4th Casey Jones (KTM) 48pts – 5th James Taylor (Husq) 40pts
Over 45 1st Andy Mitchell (Husqvarna) 112pts – 2nd Andre Craddock (TM) 78pts – 3rd Rich Jennings (Aprilia) 31pts – 4th Steve Coombs (Husq) 26pts – 5th Craig Gray 18pts (TM)
Best Two Stroke 1st Luke Howson (TM) – 2nd Casey Jones (KTM) – 3rd Joel Todd (KTM)
Chris Hodgson Under 21 award – Casey Jones (KTM)
Race report by Neal Leeming – Pictures by Sports Events Live