Donington Beckons For YPM
Round four of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters Championship heads to Donington Park this weekend, with everyone wondering the same thing; can anyone beat Graham Higlett?
The 2012 champion heads to the former venue of the British Grand Prix with a 100% record this season and a 104 point advantage in the championship standings, but the rest of the field will be queuing up behind, each eager to be the one to end Higlett's winning streak.
After a brief foray at Oulton Park, the returning Pete Fishwick will again line up on the YPM grid, and, despite taking a break from racing for the last two seasons, will be an odds-on favourite to challenge Higlett.
Edmondson, who sits second in the championship standings, will also be looking to take that first win of 2014 after a positive showing at Oulton Park, once mechanical gremlins were overcame. Joining him in the battle for race wins is likely to be Matt Barber, who led at Oulton Park before crashing out, Andy Davies, and Simon Braby, who took his first podium at the last round.
Donington wasn't kind to Pete Moore last year, the 2013 rookie runner-up crashing out in race one and injuring his shoulder. The Manxman will be looking for better look this year.
Lee Finney missed Oulton Park through injury, but the former Bemsee 250 champion will be eager to get back amongst the action this weekend, and show the form he is clearly capable of and challenge nearer the front at Donington.
Still looking for that final bit of speed is Andy Wheeler, who has impressed this season so far. Wheeler hasn't quite had the pace to challenge at the very front, but isn't far away from bridging the gap.
Also impressive this season has been Rookie Sacha Gyte, who carries a nine point advantage in the Rookie championship with him to Donington. Gyte finished sixth in the last race at Oulton Park, ahead of any finishing Clubman riders, and will be looking to mix it nearer the front of the field again this weekend. However, he did crash at Donington last year on the Club Bike, and will be hoping to avoid similar fortunes this time around.
Michael Stanley and Tim Hall will both be looking to get back among the wins in the Rookie class too, and stop Gyte from pulling away in the championship.
Paul Whitby heads the Clubman Championship, after a less than fortuitous Oulton Park meeting for Trevor and James Sharpe, with James conceding a 10 point championship lead at the Cheshire circuit, to slip 34 points off the top of the standings. Whitby currently also holds a 21 point lead over Trevor Sharpe, who sits second.
However, the men to watch out for this weekend will be Paul Bowling, who found form at Oulton, and will be eager to take his first Clubman win of 2014 at Donington, along with Paul Davies, who put in three excellent rides at the previous round. John Walker also returns for Donington, which should make for an excellent scrap for Clubman honours, especially if Kev Marshal too, can string enough laps together to finish a race, having been plagued with mechanical issues for the majority of the season so far.
With no Friday practice, Saturday features a morning free practice session, followed by qualifying and one race, with Sunday hosting the usual two races.
Photo: E.G.B Photography