Spring Cup: Day One Wrap Up

Spring Cup: Day One Wrap Up
A hive of activity is one way to describe the Oliver’s Mount racing paddock and today it was no different, as various prominent solo, Sidecar exponents, were eager to get underway their 2023 road race tenures.

Post inclement overnight weather, damp conditions all-round greeted competitors during Saturday morning’s practice, qualifying sessions.

With live timing early on at a premium, following the qualifying stints was interesting to say the least. Once results were made available, pole positions per class went to:

Jamie Kelman (Lightweight), Scarborough wins record holder Ian Lougher (Super Twins), Cowton Racing’s Dominic Herbertson (Supersport), Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther (Sidecars), Dave Bell (Classic Superbike).

After qualifying sessions per class, which were all red-flagged bar Supersport sessions, racing commenced, beginning with the opening six-lap Lightweight/CB 500 combined race.

A cross generations battle ensued between former Team ILR team-mates, Joey Thompson and ten times TT winner Ian Lougher.

Closely matched throughout, York’s Thompson held his nerve out front, edging as the sixth, final lap concluded, Laylaw Racing’s Lougher by just over 0.3 of a second.

Ian Stanford completed the top three finishers behind Thompson, twice Duke Road Race Rankings Champion Lougher.

The inaugural CB 500’s race went to Scarborough newcomer Grant Whitaker, with pole-sitter Don Gilbert providing the sternest opposition.

Rob Hodson gained his first victory in SMT Racing colours, speeding to Super Twins race one spoils whilst Rhys Hardisty, Mad Bros Racing’s Gary McCoy had strong-runs to second, third respectively.

Last year’s Classic Superbike Manx GP winner Hodson, went onto dominate the first of three Supersport B races.

A non-qualifier for the (A) final races, Hodson’s pace on route to (B) race 1 success closely matched that of (A) final pace setters Jim Hind and Dominic Herbertson.

Next it was the three wheeling fraternity’s turn to light-up, North Yorkshire’s ‘Mini TT’.

Backing up their pre-event favourite status, Team ARC’s Lee Crawford/Jake Lowther chalked up opening Sidecar race honours, following a highly competent all-round display.

For driver Crawford, it’s his 21st success at England’s only closed roads venue.

Rounding out the top three finishers were the Ramsden’s Steve & Matty and KTM powered TT legends, Dave Molyneux/Dan Sayle.

Attentions then turned towards the Classic Superbike opener, which was ultimately red-flagged on the race’s penultimate lap.

With more than fifty percent race distance covered, Graham Turnbull Yamaha mounted Dave Bell was declared race winner, having at the end of lap four, held a 4.19 seconds’ advantage.

Roddy Taylor joined the Scarborough winners circle, via JMS Support race one success whilst Saturday’s final race, Lightweight Race 2, yielded a 19th Oliver’s Mount victory for Joey Thompson.

As during the prior aforementioned Lightweight encounter, Thompson had to hold off the wily, tenacious attentions of Welsh international road racing great Ian Lougher.

Lougher’s fellow countryman Rhys Hardisty, set to join IRRC rider ranks next month at Hengelo, wrapped up the top three finishers.

In terms of the CB 500 class, Josh Leaning just, just got the better of opening race victor Grant Whitaker.

Attentions now turn toward tomorrows race action, which features the eight-lap Bob Smith Spring Cup. More top draw real road racing in prospect.

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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