2014 YPMRC Award Winners
Alongside the more obvious champions and championship top-threes that receive their awards, the Yamaha Past Masters Club has always been sure to thank and reward those that give a little extra, whether that's through dedication to the club, or by crashing a lot.
At the final round at Brands Hatch, the assembled YPM riders and crews again gathered for a season-ending hog roast and their own awards ceremony.
Mark Silcox - Dedication To YPM
Despite never racing with the Yamaha Past Masters Racing Club, Mark Silcox - better known around the paddock as Billy - attends nearly every round. Booking his accommodation well in advance as soon as the calendar is announced, Billy also feeds a lot of the paddock with the cakes he brings, courtesy of his wife Alison. This year he also drove to collect the food for the annual Cadwell Curry.
Since suffering a big accident at Brands Hatch in 2009, which put paid to his racing exploits, Billy came to a number of YPM meetings with Tony Hoare. From there he got to know more and more people in the paddock. Setting up camp with the Sharpes and Paul Whitby, Billy spends his time putting bikes on and off stands, removing tyre warmers, helping with last minute wheel changes, and enjoying paddock life.
Sacha Gyte - Crasher Of The Year
One of the more difficult years when it came to deciding on this year's Crasher of the Year award, with a number of riders all boasting the same number of crashes. Nominees included Tim Hall, Michael Stanley, Matt Barber (not least of all for crashing out of the lead at Oulton and his inclusion in the now infamous Melbourne Loop pile up), James Sharpe, Paul Whitby, and Graham Higlett.
However, Gyte was eventually awarded the trophy after crashing from bolt upright at Oulton Park, and for crashing at the final corner at Donington on the final lap from what would have been his best finish of the season. He admitted later to changing his line on the last lap to reflect other riders around him.
Pete Moore - Best Prepared Bike
Pete Moore's TZR250 wasn't shy of a mechanical issue in in 2013. So for 2014 he spent the winter meticulously preparing it, treating it to nice new bodywork too. Many more mechanical issues and a couple of slides on its later, and you wouldn't know to look at.
Instead it was always clean, never held together with gaffer tape and cable ties, and always looking full factory.
Paul Davies - Most Improved Rider
Riding the 2013 championship-winning bike paid dividends for Paul Davies. Improving immediately, Davies spent the opening part of the season getting closer and closer to the front runners in the battle for the Clubman Championship.
By the Brands Hatch GP round, he had well and truly announced himself in the fight for Clubman wins, taking his first class victory in the final race of the weekend. From there he went on to take two more and a second at Snetterton, putting himself in contention for third place in the Clubman championship.
Unfortunately for Davies, a crash in the final race at Snetterton impacted his performance at the final round and he finished off the Clubman podium in fourth overall, but certainly showed that he will be one to watch in 2015.
Lee Huff - Yambits Club Bike Rider Of The Year
Every rider who raced the Club Bike this season was eligible for the Yambits Club Bike award, with many factors coming in to play when deciding on a winner, including performance, enthusiasm, and fit within the YPMRC fold.
Again, a number of candidates were put forward, including Barry Drummond after taking the bike to its first Rookie class win at Donington Park. However, it was eventually awarded to Lee Huff. After a string of impressive performances at Cadwell Park - and a crash - Huff then went and put himself on the grid for the final round of the championship on the bike he will race in 2015.
James Sharpe - YPM Marshal Award
Every season the YPM Marhsals of Den, Nicki and Scott Grant present their own YPM Marshal award, based on a number of categories. For 2014, this was awarded to Clubman runner-up James Sharpe.
"The YPM Marshal award is awarded in memory of Sophie," Den explains. " Sophie came to racing as part of our family to support me when I was racing in YPM in 2005.
"Sophie died in 2010 in her sleep when she was 17 and we ask the riders to wear a sunflower sticker with a smile, to give us a smile just like she had.
"We wanted to do something fun for Sophie's memory and thought of having an award for things that we talked about on the way home, just like we did on long journeys back from circuits when I was racing; the things that made us smile during the weekend. Silly things like riders waving at each other whilst over taking, a rider helping pick their bike up after a little spill.
"This year the award goes to Jamie ' I will try and remember to wave' Sharpe. He had a varied year's racing where he managed to scare us at Silverstone with a big wobble, had mechanical problems and a few spills too. But we also witnessed some very good results and some special overtaking of his fellow racers and family members."