The build up to race week was a 7-day venue hop after several short notice changes caused chaos for the track team. Eventually Champs Park was nailed down and made public so the preparation could begin. Track build for this event was the longest yet as the track team strive to crack the Da Vinci code that is SXS track builds, after several tonnes of earth moving, shaping, grading and packing we had a surface and a circuit that everyone agreed would be the best yet. Just a little water on the Saturday and perfection was close. Rain on the Saturday lasted a little longer than wanted but still, we were set for some amazing racing. Time to Qualify.
Once again the depleted field of turbos faced the challenge of cleaning the race surface, a sticky layer had developed due to Saturdays rain and would take several laps to clear, onwards and upwards as the took to the track. Josh Barrett seemed to be on it straight away pumping in lap after lap of fast times as others jostled around for track position. Eventually Josh nailed down pole with a 1:43.9 a time that nobody could get close to. Jason Rowlands secured 2nd but couldn’t match the flying Barrett a common tale for 2016. Next up was Mark McCann/Jayne Ind somewhat off the pace but content with 3rd. New to the paddock Lee Small closed off the grid as he sampled his first attempt at short circuit racing. Well done Lee.
The return of the injured Lewis Fletcher meant that this class would be close all day and again seen some of the best racing of the year. Pole changed hands almost every lap as the track evolved and the times came down. The pit crews boards changed with every lap and pole was anyone’s guess. Eventually on lap 7 Lewis Fletcher set the lap that would secure the front of the grid, followed in by the championship leader Colin Hadley in 2nd. Harry MacDonald landed third on the grid with a solid lap chased in by Robert/Sam Lloyd in 4th. Claire Avis closed off the grid in 5th place.
This session was always going to be about space, with 12 machines on track a clean lap would be the key for a good grid spot. Paul Rowlands found that and on his 7th lap nailed down pole in a critical round of the championship. Mark McCann his closest rival secured 2nd with Paul Severn starting to find his groove in 3rd, both on the same second. Richard Avis landed 4th spot setting up a great battle for Moto 1. The returning Joe Bennett with stand in passenger Sam Lloyd finished in 5th place with Shaun/Erin Jenkinson and Tom Fletcher again on the same second showing just how tight this class can be. This theme carried on with Adrian/Callum Loveridge and Miles Radburn/Alisder Fenwick scoring 8th and 9th again on the same second to set up another battle for the first corner. Jason Payne 10th place followed in by James Blakey and Brian Lydon closed off the grid for Moto 1.
900/ Turbo Moto 1
It was decided to run the Turbos and 900s in together with a staggered start to get a busy race track for racing. This seemed to work well as they all broke away clean from the start. Josh Barrett in the turbo class was gone and ploughed away to secure the Moto 1 victory comfortably from the 2nd place Jason Rowlands, Jas just unable to keep with the championship leader Barrett. Mark McCann/Jayne Ind crossed the line third with Lee Small unable to finish due to a large case of bad luck!
The 900s were a lot more intense with battles throughout the pack. Lewis Fletcher and Colin Hadley broke away early and battled for the lead. Colin Hadley’s pace and style seized the day to take the Moto win finishing on the same lap as the much more powerful turbo charged vehicles. Robert/Sam Lloyd took the opportunity given to them and finished in 2nd spot followed in by Claire Avis in 3rd, Harry MacDonald struggled with buggy settings which resulted in a disappointing 4th place finish something he would look to put right in the later races.
900/Turbo Moto 2
The turbo class saw more of the same as the on-form Barrett broke away again and led flag to flag. Another fantastic drive from the Championship leader. Mark McCann/Jayne Ind found some pace from the previous Moto and with great use of the Joker lane finished 2nd ahead of Jason Rowlands 3rd separated by the smallest of margins. Again Lee Small was unable to place but continued his learning experience, definitely a great addition to the Championship for next year.
The 900s were all about the fantastic drive from Harry MacDonald going from 4th to taking the checkered flag. Skills that have made him a well-known name in the paddock. Behind Harry the other youngsters Robert/Sam Lloyd again drove a fantastic race to take the 2nd spot showing that SXS Racing is in good hands as the youngsters secured the top two steps in the Moto. Colin Hadley had an uncharacteristic 3rd but that would be put right later showing his dominance at the top of the 900 Championship. A misfiring Claire Avis closed off the grid for Moto two as everyone worked to figure out what was wrong with the ever-reliable Fifi.
900/Turbo Moto 3
Moto 3 was a near carbon copy of Moto 2 as still nobody could touch the dominant Barrett. Leading from the line Barrett sprinted away and never looked back to take the win and bag maximum points for the day. Mark McCann/Jayne Ind grabbed another good haul of points with a solid 2nd Jason Rowlands was unable to challenge for points in Moto3. Lee Small again struggled with setup issues but enjoyed the whole experience, I definitely think he has the pace to have a great 2017 so one to watch.
The final 900 race was probably one of the races of the year with battles developing every lap. Some amazing racing with Joker lane doors getting slammed and out of control hill descents as first place was the only option for the racers. Colin Hadley came out on top after a fantastic race all the way to the line with 2nd place Harry McDonald, what a race that was to watch so well done to both of them for keeping it clean. Claire Avis finished in 3rd with the Lloyds pushed back to 4th. A fantastic race for both the drivers and spectators, so well done to everyone involved.
1000cc Moto 1
Moto 1 was all about the Joker lane. Paul Rowlands broke from the front and led throughout, however once at the front he appeared to settle a little too much leaving him vulnerable to a well-timed Joker lane. Guess what!? Mark McCann/Jayne Ind timed the joker lane to perfection and were able to use it to snatch the Moto win from pole sitter Rowlands. Fantastic racing! Paul Severn seemed to love the track as he found his mojo early scoring third place in the first Moto a fantastic result for Paul’s Championship standings. Richard Avis crossed the line in 4th unable to catch Severn for a podium place. Tom Fletcher made his long awaited return to racing with a 5th place finish with Adrian/Callum Loveridge crossing the line to grab 6th. Dave Riley and Brian Lydon continued their fantastic rookie year as the final finishers in 7th and 8th place.
1000cc Moto 2
Moto 2. Mark McCann/Jayne Ind pressured to keep their cool and nerve from pole with the growling Rowlands sat behind them. The start got away clean and everything seemed to be going to plan as lap after lap passed with the battle for the front unclear. As Joker lane strategies were yet to unfold it made an exciting race. After another fantastic Moto with all its twists and turns McCann jumped the finish line to secure the win with screaming and clapping ringing from the buggy. The remainder of the top 4 saw Paul Rowlands 2nd, Paul Severn 3rd and Richard Avis in 4th. Tom Fletcher crossed the line 5th with Adrian/Callum Loveridge again a solid and consistent 6th place. Dave Riley scored a 7th place and remains one to watch for the rookie title next season. James Blakey continues his adjustment to SXS racing with an 8th place with Shaun/Erin Jenkinson the final finishers.
1000cc Moto 3
Moto 3 was all about the full house, could McCann land the full house or would the determined Rowlands spoil the party? The race unfolded very quickly with McCann/Ind breaking clean and gapping 2nd. An unfortunate incident with Paul Rowlands power steering sent him diving off the circuit leaving McCann/Ind unchallenged as they jumped the line for the full house. Well done Mark and Jayne for taking the Championship right to the wire. Unlucky Paul Rowlands but with one round to go I’ve got a feeling we haven’t heard the end of this one. Paul Severn took advantage of the Rowlands exit to land 2nd spot a great result again followed in by Richard Avis. Tom Fletcher crossed the line 4th with Shaun/Erin Jenkinson improving to 5th after an unlucky day. Dave Riley and James Blakey closed off the days racing with 6th and 7th place so well done.
So when all was said and done round 7 was one of the best rounds yet, the track was fantastic. A massive thank you to everyone who made that possible especially Jamie Courtney and the team from Champs Park. The racing was fast and clean and the drivers and spectators where served some of the best moments of 2016. It looks like we are going to the wire this year so don’t miss the finale 25th Sept.
1st (45) Josh Barrett
2nd (64) Mark McCann/Jayne Ind
3rd (165) Jason Rowlands
1st (247) Colin Hadley
2nd (44) Harry McDonald
3rd (41) Robert/Sam Lloyd
1st (64) Mark McCann/Jayne Ind
2nd (7) Paul Severn
3rd (77) Richard Avis
Full results and Standings can be found HERE.