Report: Fraser Law
The fifth round of the 2012 SMC Championship took place at Culham Park for the first time ever. The event dubbed the ‘SMC Summer National’ certainly lived up to its billing, with a record entry of nearly 200 adult riders. The popular track with its spectacular hillside jumps was groomed and watered to perfection. Despite some overnight rain and the occasional mild shower, the day was mainly sunny and the large crowd enjoyed some close and exciting racing. With many new riders trying an SMC round for the first time, the championship regulars certainly had their work cut out trying to maintain their usual positions. The ACU transponder timing truck was on hand to provide both riders and spectators with up to date with results and lap times.
First out on to the track was the large Expert group headed up initially by Vets star Phil Mercer, but an unfortunate accident saw him out of action for the rest of the day. Fraser Wakeford took control and went on to win in style and by some distance, setting the fastest lap time of the day while the track was still smooth. Current SMC Champion Dale Raynor followed him home in front of brothers Chris and Matt Bayliss. In race two Fraser Wakeford was followed home closely by Daniel Latham, the pair around 20 seconds clear of Dale Raynor who just edged out Ryan Pryer. In the final encounter Daniel Latham took the win, second being good enough to give Fraser the overall win. Chris Bayliss took another third from Ryan Pryer. Second overall went Daniel Latham who got faster as the day went on, with Dale Raynor taking a hard fought third place.
The Junior group was split into A, B and C classes after the heats. In the fastest Junior A group Ben Putnam initially took charge at the front of Final 1, in a race that had the crowds on the edge of their seats. Jordan Wills caught and passed him on the step-up jump into the finish line, but Ben never let him get away and passed him back on the very same place a few yards before the chequered flag. This fight took them clear of the following pack, headed up by two more Jordans- Batchelor and Loomes. The second A Final saw Ben take the win again, this time from George Hebden with Jordan Wills in third. A heat race mishap left Stevie Gesner in the Junior B group where he dominated both finals, with Michael Austen in second and Lewis Shorter third both times. In the C group, James Holt had suffered similarly in his heat race allowing him to win both legs by some of the biggest margins of the day. Daniel Miles took second overall with two second places, from Guy Pickering in third.
The Over 40 class, henceforth known as the Premier class, continues to grow in popularity. Traditionally run in conjunction with the Elite (Over 50) Class, the numbers in both have grown so much this year that they have become standalone classes in their own right. In the Premier Class Tony Leishman notched up his 727th overall class victory, not the exact figure but to the rest of the class it feels like that many. On this occasion however he had to fight for it, consistency gifting him the overall despite Mark Bland winning two out of the three encounters. After winning race 1, a broken gearbox in his 250 meant Tony had to switch to his back up 125. A collision at the start of race 2 left him with too much to do as Mark had already checked out. After getting a taste for winning, Mark then went on to beat Tony in the final race as well, but his fourth place in race 1 relegated him to second overall by just a single point. Cliff Lester took the final step of the podium in all three legs.
In the Elite class Keith Hanson proved to be just that, winning all three motos with ease. Sean Bennett took second in the first race but couldn’t catch Nigel Miller in either of the other races and had to be content with third overall. A win and a second place gave Jordan Batchelor overall victory in the popular 2 Stroke class. George Hebden secured second with two top-three finishes, followed by the Premier class pairing of Mark Bland and Tony Leishman. The SMC Championship resumes at Toddington on September 2nd.
Expert: 1 Fraser Wakeford, 2 Daniel Latham, 3 Dale Raynor, 4 Chris Bayliss, 5 Ryan Pryer, 6 Michael McClurg
Junior A: 1 Ben Putnam, 2 Jordan Wills, 3 George Hebden, 4 Jordan Loomes, 5 Jordan Batchelor, 6 Aaron Omahony
Junior B: 1 Stevie Gesner, 2 Michael Austin, 3 Lewis Shorter, 4 Glyn Litchfield, 5 Tom Parkes, 6 Ben Burns
Junior C: 1 James Holt, 2 Daniel Miles, 3 Guy Pickering, 4 Aaron Wills, 5 Ricky Hopgood, 6 Andrea Merret
Premier (Over 40): 1 Tony Leishman, 2 Mark Bland, 3 Cliff Lester, 4 Fraser Law, 5 Richard Wright, 6 Ryan Griffiths
Elite (Over 50): 1 Keith Hanson, 2 Nigel Miller, 3 Sean Bennett, 4 Andrew Brightman, 5 Pat Winter, 6 Reg Willis
2 Stroke: 1 Jordan Batchelor, 2 George Hebden, 3 Mark Bland, 4 Tony Leishman, 5 Timmy Andrews, 6 Billy Fountain