Barber On Top At Oulton Park
Matt Barber was on top form at Oulton Park and extended his series lead, taking a brace of victories at the Cheshire venue.
Barber, who came into the weekend following a dominant showing at Silverstone, started the weekend as he meant to go on, qualifying on pole by nearly a second, before taking the win in both of the weekend's races. As well as taking both wins, the former YPMRC Rookie champion showed his mettle to win in both the wet and the dry at the undulating and challenging track.
A wet race one saw Barber lead from start to finish, breaking away from the chasing pack and pulling a six second lead by the start of the third lap. However, the man to watch started from seventh on the grid.
Ben Miles, who struggled with mechanical woes at Silverstone, charged through the third by the end of the opening lap, before progressing to second a lap later. He then set about clawing back Barber's early advantage, bringing the gap down every lap. On the last circulation Miles cut Barber's lead by two seconds, setting the fastest lap of the race along the way. Unfortunately for him it wasn't enough, and Barber took the win by, albeit by less than half a second.
Andy Davies rode to a lonely third place in the end, with reigning champion Higlett fourth. Doug Edmondson and his Wave Racing teammate Steve Higerty were fifth and sixth, with Higerty the leading Clubman rider as Clubman series leader Sacha Gyte failed to finish with technical problems. Michael Stanley also failed to finish along with Tim Hall, who crashed at Old Hall corner at the halfway stage.
Seventh in the final classification went to Pete Moore, half a second ahead of Paul Davies and Paul Bowling, the two Pauls second and third in the Clubman class, with Kev Higerty rounding out the top 10 in his first race since breaking his back at Snetterton and the opening round of the 2014 season.
The Rookie win went to Paul Middleton, who was taking part in his first race weekend on his own bike, after enjoying the Yambits-sponsored Club Bike experience at the opening round at Snetterton. Rookie championship favourite Scott Grant crashed out of a potential third place finish.
For race two the sun came out and racing was done on a dry track. But it was still Barber who crossed the finish line first to take the chequered flag, this time with a comfortable four second margin over Higlett in second. The fight for the final spot on the podium between Davies and Miles was decided by half a second, going the way of Davies.
Moore was fifth with Grant coming through from the back of the grid to finish sixth and take the Rookie class win ahead of Doug Edmondson in seventh. Gyte came through from the back of the grid and took the Clubman win after a scrap with Steve Higerty, the pair finishing eighth and ninth, while rookie Giles Harwood rounded out the top 10.
The next round for the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters takes place on June 12-14.
Photography: E.G.B Photography