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Hat-Trick For Higlett As Grant Takes First Podium

Higlett Pembrey 2015Graham Higlett took a hat-trick of victories at Pembrey for the fifth round of the DFDS Seaways Yamah Past Masters championship, his first of the season, with Doug Edmondson taking the other win in a wet race on Sunday.

But it was Scott Grant that was the name on everyone's lips on Saturday morning, the class rookie storming to pole position in qualifying, posting a lap time half a second quicker than Clubman championship hopefuly Steve Higerty and Higlett, who made up the front row.

In the opening race Grant took off from his pole grid spot and led the opening lap, but Higlett soon made his way past and took the race lead on lap two. From there he eeked out his advantage over the 10-lap race and took his first win of the 2015 campaign.

Behind Grant and Edmondson were left to settle the order of the remaining two podium positions, which saw the rookie finish second and Edmondson third. Marc Prentice headed a three-way fight for Clubman class honours, crossing the line in fourth place just half a second ahead of Paul Whitby and Steve Higerty, the trio filling the Clubman podium.

Paul Davies finished seventh but was pushed all the way by Lee Huff, who was the second rookie home, followed by third rookie Giles Harwood and Clubman Kev Higerty, who completed the top 10.

Grant Pembrey 2015Higlett took his second victory in race two, again pulling a commanding lead of seven seconds come the chequered flag. After taking an early lead, Edmondson had to settle for second place as he and Grant reversed their finishing positions from race one, with Grant again the leading rookie.

Sacha Gyte, who failed to finish the opening race with gear selector issues, came through from the back of the grid to finish fourth, and headed a four-rider train in the battle for Clubman honours. Half a second separated him from Prentice, with Steve Higerty and Whitby a further half a second back again.

Davies and Huff resumed their tussle from race one, this time with Huff coming out on top in the battle for eighth, as Kev Higerty again claimed another top 10 finish as he continues his return from the back injuries he sustained at Snetterton last year.

The overnight rain on Saturday made for a wet race on Sunday morning. Edmondson disappeared at the front and took an early lead, while Gyte worked his way through to second place. With 12 laps of the Pembrey circuit to chase down Edmondson, Gyte set about narrowing the gap. Unfortunately for him he couldn't make a pass on the race leader, and finished second but by less than two tenths of a second, but took the Clubman win.

JSweb RLMa0506Grant took another third place and the rookie win, with Prentice and Steve Higerty fourth and fifth and second and third in the Clubman class. Kevin Higerty climbed to sixth ahead of Lee Huff who led the five rider battle for seventh, as the class rookie crossed the line ahead of Whitby, Paul Hensen, Higlett and Davies.

With the track dry for the final race, Higlett returned to winning ways and completed his hat-trick, taking victory by nearly six seconds. Behind, Edmondson settled into second place, before being passed by Gyte and Grant. Despite dropping to fourth, Edmondson was hanging in there but a mistake on the penultimate lap cost him more than 10 seconds, and dropped him down to sixth at the chequered flag.

In the end, Paul Whitby took his best ever result of fourth and second place Clubman, fending off Steve Higerty who finished fifth and completed the Clubman podium. Edmondson's mistake dropped him to sixth but he managed to keep ahead of Prentice who finished seventh. Giles Harwood, Huff and Davies rounded out the top 10.

Photos: Racing Line Photography

Gyte Shines At Treacherous Cadwell

Cadwell 2015 01A 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.

11402722 692241530882607 2739103880420016584 nFourth 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.

10898021 691141210992639 5248769134554811860 nHowever, 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

Barber On Top At Oulton Park

Oulton 2015 BarberMatt 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.

10628519 685255231581237 3525542244844636058 nSeventh 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

Barber Extends Series Lead With Silverstone Domination

Silverstone 2015 01Matt Barber dominated the second round of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters series at Silverstone, storming to victory in all three races. He looked set to win all four scheduled races based on his weekend's form, however an oil spill in another class rendered the track unsafe, with the last race abandoned. It will be rescheduled for a future round.

Barber was taking part in his first race meeting on the Silverstone International circuit having missed the club's round at the venue in 2014. However, it didn't take him long to find his way around, the former YPMRC Rookie champion qualifying on pole and setting a time nearly one and a half seconds faster than reigning champion Graham Higlett, who started second on the grid. Doug Edmondson completed the front row despite a high-speed crash at turn one in Saturday's qualifying session.

Pete Moore qualified fourth ahead of Scott Grant, who looked odds-on for another winning weekend in the Rookie class, while Sacha Gyte qualified sixth and fastest Clubman.

But it was the Barber show as the lights went out for the first race. Moore held the advantage after the first lap, but after Barber found his way past he was never headed, going on to take the win by nearly four seconds. Moore was second with Higlett third.

Fourth went the way of Gyte, who put in an excellent ride to take his second Clubman win of the season, as he crossed the line just one tenth of a second ahead of Andy Davies, as the pair went at it throughout the entire race.

Scott Grant's sixth handed him another Rookie class win, his fifth in five races, as Marc Prentice and Paul Whitby completed the Clubman podium in seventh and eighth. Steve Higerty, who took three Clubman wins at Snetterton, finished ninth with Rooke Lee Huff completing the top 10, as he got the better of a confidence-shaken Edmondson.

Silverstone 2015 02Barber's victory in race two came a huge eight seconds ahead of the chasing pack, with Higlett and Moore reversing positions on the second and third steps of the podium. Davies was fourth while Edmondson rediscovered some form to come through the pack to finish fifth.

However, Edmondson's fifth came after a huge scrap involving six riders. Edmondson made the move for fifth on the last lap at the chicane, as six riders sorted out the finishing order in exciting fashion. Whitby benefited from the last lap carnage too, taking sixth and his first Clubman win of the season, while Grant was shuffled back to seventh, but took the Rookie win.

Gyte, who'd held fifth for much of the race, ended up in eighth and second Clubman with Prentice ninth and third Clubman and Higerty 10th.

The third - and sadly final - race of the weekend, saw Barber complete his  domination. He led the way before the red flags came out at the halfway stage. When the race restarted as a five lap sprint, he still managed to pull out a seven and a half second lead.

Behind, Higlett bettered Davies by half a second, as the pair finished second and thid. Behind, Moore finished fourth, narrowling beating Grant by less than a tenth of a second. Grant was again the leading Rookie in fifth.

After a weekend of mechanical woes, Ben Miles finally finished a race, crossing the line in sixth after coming from the back of the grid. Gyte was seventh and lead Clubman ahead of Whitby and Edmondson, with Michael Stanley breaking in to the top 10 after rectifying a stator issue that had plagued him all weekend.

Barber, who arrived at the Northamptonshire circit with the series lead extended it with his three wins. The abandoned fourth race will be rescheduled and ran at a future meeting.

The next round of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters championship takes place at Oulton Park on May 29-30.

Photo: E.G.B Photography

Macqueen In Charge As Higlett Struggles

Snet 2015 01Neil Macqueen took three wins from four at the opening round of the DFDS Seaways-backed Yamaha Past Masters Racing Club series at Snetterton, while reigning champion Graham Higlett had a weekend to forget at his local circuit.

A wet qualifying saw Macqueen qualify on pole with a lap time nearly six seconds quicker than anyone else, set on his final lap of the session. Pete Moore qualified second, while last year's Rookie championship runner-up Sacha Gyte completed the front row.

Higlett qualified in seventh, but as track conditions improved for the race, he was able to make progress towards the front of the pack, and led onto the final lap. However, he was out-foxed, with Macqueen stealing victory by eight tenths of a second. Higlett was second with Pete Moore just eight thousandths of a second further back in third.

It was a lonely ride for Matt Barber in fourth, before a train of riders crossed the line in the battle for fifth. At the front was Scott Grant, the Rookie making his YPMRC debut with a class win. He crossed the line less than a second ahead of Steve Higerty, who took sixth and his first Clubman class win. Ben Miles and Andy Davies were a second behind in seventh and eighth.

The battle for ninth was another close-run affair, with two seconds splitting Rookie Giles Harwood and Kev Marshall in 12th. In between was Sacha Gyte, who was second Clubman, in 10th and the returning Paul Toland in 11th.

It was an interesting start the racing career of Stephen Johnson, who looped his TZR250 in exuberance off the start, while Paul Henson also crashed out of contention in the early stages. There were also mechanical retirements for Clubman championship hopefuls Michael Stanley and Paul Whitby, while Paul Davies failed to make the start.

Race two started on Saturday, but a high-side at the final corner for Graham Higlett brought proceedings to an early end when the red flags came out. The re-run was carried over until Sunday morning, and it was Macqueen who took the win in tricky conditions, storming to victory by over six seconds. Barber was second, just ahead of Davies. Doug Edmondson, who retired from race one, came through the field to finish fourth.

Snet 2015 02Grant was again lead Rookie in a fine fifth place, again finishing ahead of Higerty, who took his second Clubman win. Paul Bowling took second in the Clubman class in seventh with Marshall completing the class podium in eighth. Gyte was ninth and Stanley was 10th, ahead of Paul Middleton on the Yambits Club Bike, who took his second chequered flag of the weekend, improving all the time.

Macqueen completed his hat-trick of wins in race three, crossing the line two seconds ahead of Matt Barber, who rode to another fine second place, with Edmondson on the podium in third after holding off the challenger from Pete Moore, who finished fourth and a half a second off the podium, with Davies another second and a half back in fifth.

Grant took his third Rookie class win in sixth, while Gyte took his first Clubman class win in seventh with Higerty second in class in eighth. Harwood was second rookie in ninth with Ben Miles in 10th, who mistakenly took yellow flags on the start finish straight as the last lap flag, and eased off with a lap to go.

Higlett's charge from the back of the grid ended after just one lap, with the reigning champion retiring with mechanical woes.

Howeverm Macqueen didn't make the start of the final race, which saw Barber take a comfortable victory, as Edmondson and Moore were again tied together, this time in a battle for second. It went the way of Edmondson with Moore third and Davies fourth.

Toland, after retiring from the previous race, came through to take a well-deserved fifth place, ahead of Grant who completed his Rookie class clean-sweep of wins, and has installed himself as the early favourite for the championship come the end of the season.

Gyte was seventh and took his second Clubman win ahead of Miles, Harwood and Paul Davies, who rounded out the top 10.

The closest battle on track centred around 14th place and the scrap for the final championship points. Stanley crossed the line three hundredths of a second ahead of Middleton on the Club Bike, with Henson half a second behind in 16th and Marshall 17th, two seconds behind at the line.

The next round of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters Championship heads to Silverstone on May 9-10, with Friday practice on May 8.

Photo: E.G.B Photography

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