A soaking wet Cadwell Park and round four of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters series saw Clubman championship hopeful Sacha Gyte shine through the treachourous conditions to take three clubman class wins and his first ever overall podiums, as he came away with a third and two seconds.
Gyte qualified on the front row on Saturday morning, behind Graham Higlett and pole-sitter and series leader Matt Barber, and converted it into a podium finish in the first race, finishing third. It was his first YPMRC podium and earned him the Clubman win.
Out front, Barber pulled a commanding lead and sailed to victory, crossing the line some 18 seconds ahead of second place, which went the way of returning fan-favourite Pete Fishwick.
Fishwick qualified on the second row in fifth but came through to third place in the early stages. He eventually passed Gyte, who sat second, on lap three, and held the position to the chequered flag.
Gyte finished third but came under fire from Ben Miles in the closing stages. After two slower circulations for Gyte, Miles found himself right on the back of the 33-plated TZR250, the pair split by just two hundedths of a second at the chequered flag.
Marc Prentice finished in a lonely fifth place but took second in the Clubman classification, ahead of Andrew Davies and Richard Sawyer, the former YPMRC Rookie and Clubman champion also returning for a one-off ride. The final spot on the Clubman podium went to Steve Higerty in eighth, as he finished just ahead of last year's Rookie champion Michael Stanley, with Trevor Sharpe, the reigning Clubman champion and also guesting this weekend, finishing 10th. Lee Huff's 11th saw him take the Rookie class win.
Race two followed a similar pattern to race one out front, with Barber taking a comfortable win, this time with a winning margin of six seconds. And it was both Fishwick and Gyte who again stood on the podium with him at the end of the race. This time however, Gyte managed to put an eight second gap into Fishwick and take an excellent second place and another Clubman win.
Fourth went to Davies on the Gibson Exhausts Yamaha. Sadly the race didn't fare so well for his teammate Miles, who retired on the last lap.
The Wave Racing duo of Doug Edmondson and Steve Higerty were fifth and sixth consecutively, with Higerty second in the Clubman results. Higlett was seventh after a scrap with Sharpe, who finished eighth and third in the Clubman category. Ninth went to Huff who took another Rookie race win while fellow Rookie Giles Harwood completed the top 10.
The bad weather remained on Sunday, but it did little to dampen Barber's spirits or his form, as he streaked to another win and completed his hat-trick. After following Gyte for the opening lap he made his move and hit the front, pulling a 14 second gap by the time the chequered flag came out.
Gyte looked a dead cert for second place, but a last lap mistake nearly gave Davies the opportunity he needed to snatch the position away from last year's Rookie runner-up. Gyte held on though, despite less than a second covering them at the flag. It was also Gyte's third Clubman class win of the weekend.
Edmondson crossed the line in fourth but was handed a 10-second penalty for a yellow flag infringement, along with his teammate Higerty. That elevated Higlett to fourth and Miles to fifth, with Edmondson classified sixth.
Giles Harwood took an excellent seventh and the Rookie win, with Higerty relegated to eighth. He picked up a second place Clubman trophy. Sharpe was ninth and third Clubman with Stanley 10th.
The final race of the weekend saw Barber's win-streak broken as Davies took an excellent win. Barber was second and further extended his series lead, while Harwood took a superb third place albeit a lonely one after Gyte crashed out at the Gooseneck giving chase. Harwood also took the Rookie win.
Higlett finished fourth with Higerty fifth and the leading Clubman, ahead of Paul Whitby, who needed a strong result to keep any Clubman championship hopes alive. He was the second Clubman rider home with Kevin Marshall seventh and third Clubman. Huff, Paul Davies and Robert Davies on the Yambits Club Bike completed the top 10.
However, a cloud hung over the paddock and the final race of the meeting. Following a start-line incident in the final 400 race, which YPMRC bikes are eligible for, Ben Miles was airlifted to hospital. He remains there but with positive updates every day. He is now off sedation and breathing for himself, and everyone in the YPMRC paddock wishes him all the best.
Also involved in the accident were Martin Pearson and Michael Stanley. Pearson was taken to hospital but has since been discharched with no broken bones, while Stanley walked away from the accident but his bike was too badly damaged to make the final race.
The next round of the series heads to Pembrey on 10-12 July.
Photography - E.G.B Photography