A huge and special thanks must go to Martin Strong from S&M Motorcycles in Banbury. Martin has helped MASSIVELY to keep the bikes running throughout the season, practically rebuilding Moldy's machine and using his mechanical mastery to resolve some real tricky gremlins on Longys bike to keep it out there and winning. He is an absolute top man. Thanks a million Martin!
So to the Final Round race report - a mix of ups and downs, highs and lows for many of the Stockers as championship titles were being won and lost with EMRA offering a "double points" bonanza for the last round, spicing up the competition. That meant all EMRA club class championship titles were pretty much up for grabs...Wow!
With glorious sunshine beaming down on the Mallory circuit conditions couldn't have been better one would have thought. However crashes seemed to be the order of the day and regrettably for some, costing them not only bumps and bruises but in some cases the championship title!
For Team SandM the plan was to well..basically stay on the bikes to secure the EMRA Club title (Longy) and runner up spot (Moldy). With nearly enough points accumulated to secure the EMRA champ Longy had to basically cross the finish line in race 1 and similarly for Moldy. BUT, this is racing and with a swarm of Longy's close family and friends coming along to watch this grandest of grand finales, the pressure was on to entertain and perform impossible things on a motorbike like a gladiator where nothing but outright 1st over the line would be considered a hopeless defeat. Twenty parade laps to bag the necessary points would simply not be acceptable to the SandM Groupies - pride was at stake! In addition, Moldy (since the last unreported round at 3 Sisters) was sporting a "lucky beard" and whilst making him look remarkably like either a vagrant, Jesus or Catweazle, it seemed to be doing the trick as Colin Young, his closest rival, was missing with a bowt of Sciatica! May god bless you a swift recovery Colin....
Well, Longy's family hadn't actually arrived for practice so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to sneak in a few moderately paced parade laps before the ante as upped. A fairly sedate 1m 2s lap secured 3rd spot surprisingly with Moldy meantime, getting quicker by the meeting, qualified in 8th spot with a 1m 5s lap. Game on then for the title race....
As the full contingent of Team SandM supporters flowed into circuit the major dilemma began. Cruise 10 laps and bore the spectators senseless so they never came back to watch, or simply "go for it" (as usual) yet risk crashing and burning and losing the EMRA championship at the last fence? This was a tough call....Anyway, no decision was the best decision so Longy sort of adopted a "nearly" go for it approach tucking in behind Tom Benford and the big frame of Rob Eley on their 1100 Suzis and hanging onto a pretty hot pace of around 1m per lap. However after about 5 laps a slower rider appeared rather rapidly and Longy couldn't nip through with the other guys, dropped back and paraded to the finish line. The final laps being a case of crossing everything so the bike kept going to the chequered flag. Yahoo! That was it - title #2, awesome! Moldy meantime was going at it with a bit more vigour and in a closely fought battle with his arch rivals #219 Rob "Bogwit" Paget and #224 Allen "slim-Jim" Bowers, he finished as the meat in the sandwich so to speak but bagging enough points to secure 2nd spot - Yahoo two!
Some however were less fortunate.....
First, racing legend Jacko Jackson #214, unbelievably binned his immaculate Suzi 1100 at the hairpin, apparently turning into the corner too early, hitting the big high kerbing with his shoulder and taking him off...and to top it all, whilst on the deck Rob Chambers #241, decided to run over him! Ouch. Fortunately, Jacko carrying a fair bit of padding nowadays, bounced well, jumped to his feet and started kicking ten bells out of the bike while still on the deck. Must have been majorly entertaining for the crowds!
Another incident had slightly more severe consequences. In the battle for 250LC EMRA title, gay curious "Pinky", aka Mark Emuss, leading the championship, decided to make a move on Alec Gilfillan's bike at the bus stop chicane and an unfortunate coming together happened leaving Pinky on the deck with a busted toe and bent bike. Whilst the bike was OK, Pinky's pinky was judged by the local Doctors as being unsuitable to race with - so that was it - the title was down the tubes. What a bummer....Every cloud has a silver lining however and this meant Dave Barker #317 won the championship - well done Dave and bad luck Mark!
With even more SandM groupies arriving and the 750 championship in the bag, this meant Longy had no excuses. Tom Benford #217 and Alec Gilfillan #216 meantime still had the title to play for - Tom needing to finish ahead of Alec to take his 2nd champ of the season. Tom tried explaining to Longy that he didn't want any fisticuffs like the last Mallory rounds meteoric battle and should give them a wide berth.
As the lights went out, and with the Earlystocks bullet Andy Jackson starting from the back row, taped up leather n'all, Benford hit the front as usual with big Rob Eley #213 getting a poor start. This meant Longy, with huge acceleration disadvantage off the line, managed to keep 2nd slot into Gerrards corner. Knowing Tom wouldn't take any chances in losing the 1300 title at this stage, Longy stuffed it up the inside on the exit of Edwinas to hit the front. This was a somewhat scare experience because as soon as the exit of Devils Elbow appeared, the 750s mere 84 HP was completely dwarfed by the 135 hp of the bigger bikes - so it was just a question of tucking in and hoping for the best. However, no one came past! And then another lap - still no one. Where was Jacko? Big Rob? Tom B? Suddenly a rumble was heard as the dreaded start and finish straight appeared and sure enough slick Jacko, tattered leathers and all, slipped past and immediately started to gap. At this juncture and the dream of an outright race win being over, the energy just sort of zapped from Longy's body and a backwards slide began to finish ultimately 4th as Rob Eley and Aidy Brennan #202 passed on the GS 11s. Hopefully however, enough entertainment had been provided to keep the SandM Groupies happy!
Further down the field, the racing had pretty much sorted itself out and other titles were being decided. Congratulations go to:
- Graeme Acott, 250 champion
- Dave Barker, 250 LC champion
- Cass Beardmore, 500 champion
- Tom Benford, 1300 champion
The plan was to retire at the end of 2009 BUT - yes you guessed it, Team SandM has acquired another bike! This time an upgrade (hopefully) - a Suzuki GSX1100. The trusty Kwacker regrettably has been sold :( and the new machine will be unveiled in full Wes Cooley trim next March for some selected rounds of Earlystocks. Should be Cool(ey)
Well done to all. A fantastic seasons racing. And anyone who isn't a member of the Earlystocks reading this - join the club - it seems to getting more popular by the month - you will not regret it!!!
Happy Christmas everyone!
FINAL POINTS TALLY
|EARLYSTOCKS CHAMPIONSHIP||EMRA CHAMPIONSHIP|
|TOP SIX POSITIONS||TOP SIX POSITIONS|
|STEVE LONG - 200||STEVE LONG - 195|
|JONATHAN MOLD - 125||JONATHAN MOLD - 118|
|NEIL MYATT - 112||NEIL MYATT - 93|
|ALLEN BOWERS - 69||COLIN YOUNG - 88|
|PETER STRINGER - 58||ALAN BOWERS - 86|
|BOB GREEN - 57||ROB PAGET - 83|