After a last-minute track cancellation threw this round into doubt, Three Sisters stepped forward with an available date on the scheduled race weekend. With the previous round already having been held at the same venue the organisers went out of their way to ensure that competitors had a completely different race day experience so the decision was taken to reverse the track direction an build two new off road sections to go with the existing tarmac jump section. An international flavour was also added with Swiss Championship racer Andreas Gautschi making the long trip from Zurich to compete both days.
Race Day 1 – The Michelin Premier Championship
Qualifying; The poor British summer continued for this meeting and torrential rain squalls peppered the Lancashire countryside as the riders went out to qualify. The current fastest three British riders, Matt Winstanley, Davey Todd and Chris Hodgson were obvious contenders but with a completely new layout to contend with the door could be open for other riders to step up and early season pace setter Jordan Bannon was out on his new 2018 Husqvarna, Bannon along with Scott Murray, Richard Blakeman and Jamie Duncan would all fancy their chances of gaining the all-important pole position.
However, it was the reigning British Champion Chris Hodgson (LSP KTM) that appeared to take to the new layout best and set the fastest lap in 1.09.601, Davey Todd (HGR Husqvarna) wasn’t far behind on 1.09.922 but surprisingly Matt Winstanley (MMC Husqvarna) was a comparative country mile behind in third with a best lap of 1.10.733. Jordan Bannon (Husq) took the final front row spot. Scott Murray (Scotlifts TM) was 5th and Richard Blakeman (Husq) was 6th.
Race 1 Hodgson had looked really strong in qualifying and the reverse track layout seemed very much to his liking. He hit the front from turn one and after disposing of the quick starting Jordan Bannon at the end of lap 1 Matt Winstanley was on Hodgson’s tail, the track was starting to dry a little but a narrow dry line made overtaking very difficult, Davey Todd got past Bannon on lap three to tag on to the back of Winstanley and the three riders started to inexorably pull away from the pack. Hodgson was comfortable controlling the race from the front and at the finish flag he was a second clear from Davey Todd who had nipped past Winstanley on the last lap. Jordan Bannon had a lonely race in fourth some 15 seconds behind, his battle with Scott Murray had ended on the penultimate lap when the luckless Scott crashed out. Richard Blakeman and Jamie Duncan (CSS KTM) had a tremendous battle for fifth, banging bars for all 12 laps with the Lancastrian Blakeman coming out on top.
Race 2; The track had now dried enough for slick tyres to be used front and rear and the lap times dropped by 3 seconds as a result. Todd got the holeshot with Winstanley right behind him, Hodgson was in third ahead of Murray and Bannon. For seven laps Hodgson shadowed Winstanley but on the tricky left hander which was slippy with the rubber left by karts Hodgson got good drive to take Winstanley, he then sat on Todd’s back wheel for two more laps before repeating the same move in the same corner. All three riders pushed hard for the last three laps and hit the flag almost together, Hodgson hung on for the win by 4/10ths from Todd who was just 1/10th ahead of Winstanley. Scott Murray made no mistakes and had a lonely ride in fourth finishing 21 seconds adrift of the front three, Bannon was a further 14 seconds behind in 5th. Richard Blakeman and Jamie Duncan again put on a real show for the 6th place battle with the Scot having to again give best and finish just 1/10th behind Blakeman.
Race 3; Davey Todd hit the front on lap one but by lap two Hodgson had squeezed past to look like he was on for 3 straight wins, however Winstanley had other ideas and coming off the first dirt section he took advantage of a slight Hodgson mistake to take the lead, Todd just couldn’t maintain his early race pace and a couple of mistakes allowed his two rivals to break away, he did have the satisfaction of setting the fastest lap of the race. Winstanley, has he has proved over the decade he has raced top flite Supermoto, is ultra-consistent and lap after lap he kept to within a tenth of a second of his best lap time leaving Hodgson no opportunity for getting back to the front. At the chequered flag it was Winstanley by 3/10ths from Hodgson, Todd was 6 seconds back in third with Jamie Duncan a fantastic 4th ahead of Bannon in 5th and Cumbrian Dale O’Connor who was an excellent 6th.
Overall Chris Hodgson took the overall with his two wins and a second from Matt Winstanley. Third was Davey Todd just one point down. Jordan Bannon was fourth, Scotsman Jamie Duncan was fifth, Richard Blakeman sixth, Dale O’Connor seventh, with Rider of the Day award winner Andre Craddock in eighth.
In the class for bikes produced prior to September 2006, Daryl McCall made the journey from Aberdeen worthwhile with the overall win on his 560 KTM, Damon Jasper from Kent got his Aprilia SXV into second ahead of his Kent neighbour, Husqvarna mounted Justin Bullen.
NPS GIAG/Novice Cup
This starter race series aimed at riders new to the sport continued to attract a big entry. Grandfather Andy Hall was overall winner with three wins from three, Steven Norman pushed hard for second with newcomer Chris Heys delighted to take third overall.
Academy Class/Mini Bikes
The combined Academy class and Mini Bike race saw a great turn out of juniors. The Academy overall winner and star of the future was 12 year old Casey Jones from Wigan, superfast on his KTM 85 he was lapping faster than many of the adult riders. Son of an Elite competitor Kyle Bennett made the maximum use of his KTM 65 to take second, third was Lewis Hardy who delighted his watching father who is out for the season with an injured leg. In the Mini Bikes, CeeJay Davies made the long journey from Scotland worthwhile. James Pigney from Penrith was fast on his Stock 140 and finished second with another Scot, Stewart Tolkin delighted with his third place after three solid races.
Race Day Two – The British Supermoto Championship
The weather was kinder on day two and although heavy overnight rain had fallen the track was drying in the breeze, an extra dirt section had been added incorporating a new jump and the track was still going to run reverse direction to the normal Three Sisters layout. After day one competitors had been universal in their praise for the revised track and the addition of the new double jump would further test their skill.
Qualifying. Choosing which of the two qualifying slots from the available six is as much an art as getting around the track fast. The quicker riders want a quiet as possible track as catching a slower rider mid corner can lose those vital fractions of a second that separate the top riders at this level. Tyre choice was easy with all riders opting for slicks front and rear. Chris Hodgson carried on his fine form from Race Day 1 with a qualifying time almost half a second ahead of Matt Winstanley, who in turn was fractionally quicker than Davey Todd in third. Scott Murray was the best of the rest but almost 1.2 seconds down, Jordan Bannon was fifth and Jamie Duncan sixth.
Race One. The top three protagonists from Race Day 1 hit the front with Todd getting the holeshot, but after one circuit Hodgson forced his way past Todd to take the lead. Winstanley sat on the back of Todd watching the action at the front and seemed ready to pounce should there be a slip up. Todd was really pushing hard and on lap 7 he swept past Hodgson to hit the front. Hodgson tried his best to get back in front but Todd hung on under intense pressure and took the chequered flag just 3/10ths ahead of the Cumbrian champ. Todd had the fastest lap of the race but the top 3 all lapped within 2/10ths of each other and kept the sizeable crowd spellbound with their close formation duelling. Scott Murray and Jordan Bannon had a close fought battle for fourth with the TM mounted Scot just getting the edge and carrying on from their private battle on Saturday Richard Blakeman pipped Jamie Duncan for sixth.
Race Two Todd made another great start and streaked out ahead chased by Hodgson and Winstanley. The three riders again put on an epic display of formation racing, no quarter was asked or given but the racing was clean, three individuals at the top of their game. Winstanley passed Hodgson on lap 7 to try his luck on Todd, but Hodgson was having none of it and got past Winstanley again two laps later. Going into the last lap it looked like the North East youngster had the victory but a slight mistake in the off road let Hodgson through but Winstanley was quicker to capitalise and won the sprint to the finish, just over a tenth of a second ahead of Hodgson, Todd came in a disconsolate third knowing he had the win in his hands. Scott Murray was a distant fourth, Jordan Bannon was fifth ahead of Richard Blakeman, Andy Mitchell was seventh with Jamie Duncan riding exceptionally well in eighth.
Race 3 After the first two races of twelve laps the final race was increased to fourteen which took race distance to over sixteen minutes. Winstanley got a great start from pole to head the race, Hodgson followed and no surprises that Todd was in third. The pace of the front three was electric as they circulated lap after lap as though joined by an invisible rope, the slightest mistake would let an opponent through so each rider was on lap record pace and riding with total precision, on lap ten Todd saw a chink in Hodgson’s armour and made a move at the bottom of the off road. He couldn’t repeat the move on Winstanley and the local lad hung on to take the second win of the day by the slenderest of margins just 2/10ths in front after 14 epic laps. Scott Murray had a start to finish fourth place. Richard Blakeman came through a great tussle with Bannon, Mitchell and Duncan to finish fifth.
Overall Reversing the track and building the new off road sections had proved to be a tremendous hit with all concerned. The riders loved the change and more than one commented that it felt like a completely different venue. The crowd could not have wanted for a more spectacular days racing making the £5 entry fee the biggest bargain in Motorsport. The top three riders in British Supermoto Hodgson, Todd and Winstanley put on a spectacular show of wheel to wheel racing that will last long in the memory of those who witnessed it. At the end of the day Winstanley’s two wins got him the overall from Todd, Hodgson was third, Scott Murray was fourth ahead of Bannon in fifth. Richard Blakeman who built the new dirt sections in his own time was sixth. Jamie Duncan seventh, veteran Andy Mitchell eighth with Dale O’Connor ninth and Oliver Kemp tenth.
Results Race Day One
Michelin Championship 1st Chris Hodgson (KTM) 102pts – 2nd Matt Winstanley (Husq) 95pts – 3rd Davey Todd (Husq) 94pts – 4th Jordan Bannon (Husq) 80pts – 5th Jamie Duncan (KTM) 77pts – 6th Richard Blakeman (Husq) 72pts – 7th Dale O’Connor (KTM) 71pts – 8th Andre Craddock (TM) 65pts – 9th Scott Murray (TM) 62pts -10th Peter Bennett (Husq) 60pts.
Evo Championship 1st Daryl McCall (KTM) 105pts – 2nd Damon Jasper (Aprilia) 90pts – 3rd Justin Bullen (Husaberg) 88pts – 4th Geoffrey Bullen (Husq) 79pts – 5th Anthony Keam (KTM) 77pts
GIAG Novice Cup 1st Andy Hall (Husq) 105pts – 2nd Steven Norman (KTM) 96pts – 3rd Chris Heys (Honda) 84pts – 4th Wayne Abernethy (KTM) 81pts – 5th Ben Green (Husq) 76pts
Mini Bikes 1st Ceejay Davies (85SX) 102 pts – 2nd James Pigney (Open) 93pts – 3rd Stewart Tolkin (CRF) 90pts – 4th Mick Cartlidge (CRF) 86pts – 5th Anne Savage (CRF) 82pts
Academy Class 1st Casey Jones (KTM) 105pts – 2nd Kyle Bennett (KTM) 96pts – 3rd Lewis Hardy (KTM) 88pts – 4th Ben Bayfield (Husq) 80pts – 5th Joshua Jasper (KTM) 76pts
Results Race Day Two
British Championship 1st Matt Winstanley (Husq) 146pts – 2nd Davey Todd (Husq) 144pts -3rd Chris Hodgson (KTM) 142pts – 4th Scott Murray (TM) 132pts – 5th Jordan Bannon (Husq) 124pts – 6th Richard Blakeman (Husq) 122pts – 7th Jamie Duncan (KTM) 110pts – 8th Andy Mitchell (Husq) 108pts – 9th Dale O’Connor (KTM) 104pts – 10th Oliver Kemp (TM) 98pts
Over 45 1st Andy Mitchell (Husq) 108pts – 2nd David Blanks (KTM) 52pts – 3rd Andre Craddock (TM) 49pts – 4th Andreas Gautschi (KTM) 42pts – 5th Andy Hall (Husq) 36pts
Clubman 1st Mark Stephens (Honda) 79pts – 2nd Ross Mailer (TM) 77pts – 3rd James Wood (Husq) 72pts – 4th Chris Eastwood (Husq) 71pts – 5th Steven Lowe (TM) 54pts
Novice 1st Mitchell Bullen (KTM) 56pts – 2nd Tom Laycock (KTM) 43pts – 3rd Andy Hall (KTM) 36pts – 4th Dean Smith (Husq) 35pts – 5th Casey Jones (KTM) 13pts
Best Two Stroke – Steven Lowe (TM) 54pts
3 Sisters Wigan 19 & 20 July 2017
Race report by Jaki Bradley – Pictures by Styleimage