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Stevens/Charlwood reign supreme at Mallory Bonanza and reclaim series lead

Stevens/Charlwood reign supreme at Mallory Bonanza and reclaim series lead

The sixtieth birthday celebrations at Mallory Park featured a host of historic machinery, and celebrities from six decades of motorcycling over the weekend. Stars of the show were the Hyundai British Championship regulars who took full advantage of the weather and cheerful party atmosphere.

Qualifying - took place over two timed sessions, and fastest by just four one-hundredths of a second were Ben and Tom Birchall,  who’s 600cc Honda seemed to be at far less of a disadvantage on the 1.3 mile circuit. Ben Holland/Lee Watson (Hannafin Kawasaki) came next, followed by a determined Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes (Santander Salt Kawasaki). Reigning Champions Stevens/Charlwood (Quattro Plant Kawasaki) were fourth, whilst admitting to a degree of caution exiting Devil’s Elbow. Fifth, after a massive near-capsize and save at Edwina’s chicane were Gary Bryan/Jamie Wynn (Santander Salt Kawasaki).Gary Bryan and Jamie Wynn nearly capsized at Edwina's chicane

Race One – A red flag after five laps due to a capsize at Gerrards for the Gainsborough based Nev Jones/Tom Bryant brought their spirited charge to an end. They are a team to watch for the future and demonstrated their ability to run with the pack. At that point, there was a four-way scrap involving Holland/Watson, Stevens/Charlwood, Ben and Tom Birchall and Walker/Hawes. The 600 of the Mansfield pair did not get the best start and they were forced to play catch-up until the red flag saved their bacon.
The restart saw Stevens force ahead with a much better get-away with the Birchalls slotting into second ahead of Holland and Walker. A slight top-end misfire on the Quattro-Plant Cool Kawasaki allowed the 600 of the Birchalls to close, but they were unable to finish the job. Stevens/Charlwood came home just half a second ahead, with the other two positions unchanged. Gary Horspole and James Connell who had retired from the first encounter were able to join in the fun and claim sixth place (fifth in class). A good-sized crowd enjoyed terrific sidecar racing in the sunshine, with battles all the way down to twelfth and the final points.

Result – 1/Stevens/Charlwood, 2/ Birchall/Birchall (600 Cup Winners), 3/Holland/Watson, 4/Walker/Hawes, 5/Bryan/Wynn, 6/Horspole/Connell, 7/Biggs/Ransley, 8/Archer/Thomas, 9/MacClaurin/Hope, 10/Cable/Pawsey

Race Two – A cracking start by Chris Walker put him alongside Ben Holland from the lights as Stevens/Charlwood grabbed the advantage. Walker then forced through to move second on lap two with the Hannafin Kawasaki looking right and left for a way back. A less than perfect start from the Birchalls had them fighting tooth and nail to hang on to third in the early stages. Once Holland/Watson had mastered the Santander Salt Kawasaki of Walker, the Birchalls too reeled him in and pulled a fantastic overtaking move at the hairpin. The momentum of the 600 Honda was such that they then closed and eventually passed Holland/Watson and move within a second of the leaders. That is how it stayed until the flag. Further back a terrific scrap between a very rapid Gary Horspole and the other Santander Salt bike of Bryan/Wynn ended in tears with a collision at the hairpin in which both bikes were too damaged to continue. The red flag came out and the race stopped with twelve laps completed. Only ten finishers were recorded, with good points for all. The Birchall Brothers meanwhile, march on impressively to 600cc Cup honours.

The Mallory Park Birthday Bonanza was considered a hugely successful day, and an interesting and relaxing departure from the usual hurly-burly and pressure of a BSB race weekend.

Result – 1/Stevens/Charlwood, 2/Birchall/Birchall (600 Cup Winners), 3/Holland/Watson, 4/ Walker/Hawes, 5/Archer/Thomas, 6/Biggs/Ransley, 7/MacClaurin/Hope, 8/Cable/Pawsey, 9/Hauxwell/Hauxwell, 10/ Hope/Bumfrey.

Standings – Stevens 228, Holland 195, Reeves 186, Walker 185, Archer 121, MacClaurin 102, Biggs 101, Bryan 96, Horspole 87, Guy 59, Gray 55, Cable/Holden 51.

600cc Cup standings – Birchall 100, Nicholls 39, Blackstock 32, Shand 30, A Founds 22, Reeves 14, P Founds 7.

There is now a long summer break before battle resumes at Donington Park 17/18th September for round seven, where it is anticipated that Tim Reeves and Greg Cluze will return to challenge for the title.