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Higlett Dominates Home Round

Snet02 Report01Graham Higlett dominated his home round and the penultimate outing for the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters, taking all four wins and securing the 2014 championship in the process. He also set a new YPMRC lap record for a TZR250.

Race one quickly became a two-horse race, as Higlett and Pete Moore pulled a gap on the chasing pack. Split by no more than a couple of tenths all race, Moore was desperate for his first win since Cadwell Park, and crossed the line first starting the final lap, Higlett just over a tenth further back.

As they crossed the line for the final time, that gap was even smaller, this time with Higlett just ahead, taking the win by seven hundredths of a second.

It was a race of close margins, as Matt Barber crossed the line third, five hundredths of a second ahead of the returning Dan Wright, with Doug Edmondson half a second back in fifth. Richard Sawyer, another returnee, finished in a lonely sixth place, ahead of the battle for top Clubman honours.

After a disastrous Brands Hatch GP, Paul Whitby's weekend hardly got off to the brightest starts, with issues plaguing his Friday practice. However, it came together for the race, as he and Paul Davies slogged it out for seventh and third in the Clubman championship standings. The win went to Whitby by six hundredths of a second.

A race-long scrap for ninth between top Rookie Michael Stanley and James Sharpe went the way of Stanley. Sharpe then missed out on 10th place and the final spot on the Clubman podium, out-dragged to the line by Trevor Sharpe, the gap between them five hundredths of a second with Kev Marshall just half a second back in 12th.

Looking at the time sheets alone make Higlett's victory in race two look slightly more comfortable, the winning margin just over a second. However, he was pushed all the way by Barber, who found something between races to enable him to go with the series leader.

Crossing the line to start the last lap and Barber was just a tenth behind the #50 TZR of Higlett. However, the 2014 champion pulled something out the back to set the best lap of the race on his final circulation, gapping Barber by a second in one lap, to take the win.

Edmondson rounded out the podium, albeit four seconds back of Barber, with Moore riding to a lonely fourth place. Wright took fifth, with Sawyer less than a second back in sixth.

Snet02 Report02Paul Davies took his second Clubman win of the season in seventh, slowly gapping the chasing duo of Whitby and James Sharpe, who duked it out between then for second Clubman. That went to Whitby by half a second, the pair eighth and ninth, with Stanley again top Rookie in 10th place. Trevor Sharpe crossed the line just a tenth back in 11th place, with Marshall enjoying a run of finishes after a season of mechanical woes, crossing the line less than half a second behind in 12th.

Saturday's presentation evening saw Graham collect his race-win trophies and was announced as champion. There was also a special mention for Rookie Denise Button, competing in here first ever race weekend. Denise was awarded the Rookie of the Day award on Saturday night. She would eventually find nine seconds in her best lap time, from race one to the final race on Sunday.

What started as a five-way fight for the win in race one on Sunday eventually ended with Higlett winning by three and a half seconds, leaving the others to battle it out for the remaining podium positions.

Barber, Moore, Wright and Edmondson eventually crossed the line with less than one and a half seconds splitting them. Barber eventually pulled the biggest gap, taking second by just under a second, with Moore, Wright and Edmondson in tow. Sawyer again rode a lonely sixth place.

Paul Davies also had a lonely race in the end, riding to his second Clubman class win and seventh place. Behind, James Sharpe eventually pulled away from a close on-track battle with Stanley and Trevor Sharpe. James and Trevor Sharpe finished eighth and ninth, second and third Clubman, with Stanley tenth.

There was disappointment for Whitby, who came off worse in a coming together with Stanley at Coram on the opening lap, crashing out and watching his fight for third in Clubman championship slip away.

However, Whitby's fortunes would take a turn in the final race, and the fight for third in Clubman standings is back on and goes to the final round, as Davies crashed out on the second lap. After passing James Sharpe into Richies at the start of the second lap, he tried too hard into turn three and lost the front.

That handed the advantage to Sharpe, who rode to the Clubman win. Finishing seventh, he was followed across the line by top Rookie Matthew Sharpe, taking part in his first ever race weekend, and Rookie series leader Stanley, the pair enjoying a race-long battle for Rookie honours. Whitby and Trevor Sharpe completed the Clubman podium in 10th and 11th.

1901586 572569882849773 8207751722385020150 nAt the sharp end, Higlett showed the dominance that has won him his second Yamaha Past Masters title this season, clearing off at the front to take the win by nearly eight seconds, setting the fastest lap of the weekend and a new lap record in the class for a TZR250 around the Snetterton circuit.

The final race also saw the closest finish of the day, with just two hundredths of a second splitting Edmondson and Barber at the line. Wright finished fourth, with Moore recovering to fifth after an off-track excursion on the opening lap, trying to run it round the outside of Sawyer into Agostini's, only to find the 2013 Clubman champion was going in way too hot. Sawyer finished sixth.

There was cruel misfortune for a returning Steve Higgerty, who blew his TZR up in the closing stages of the final race, after only submitting an entry for both of Sunday's races. The grid hopes to see him out full-time in 2015.

The final round of season takes place at Brands Hatch on the Indy circuit, with racing on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 October. Higlett has already been crowned champion, but the battle for second and third is far from over between Barber, Edmondson and Moore.

Just 13 points separate Trevor Sharpe and James Sharpe at the top of the Clubman standings, with 14 splitting Davies and Whitby in the battle for third. Stanley boasts a 64 point lead over Sacha Gyte in the Rookie championship.

Photo: Bryan Lancaster / E.G.B Photography

Higlett Crowned 2014 Champion

Higlett ChampGraham Higlett was crowned the 2014 DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters champion this weekend at Snetterton, wrapping up the series with a round to go.

Higlett took both wins on Saturday, ensuring he could not be caught and claimed his second YPMRC title. He was pushed all the way, his first victory coming by seven hudredths of a second from Pete Moore. Matt Barber then pushed it close in the second outing.

With the championship already decided, Higlett then went out and won both of Sunday's races, setting his fastest lap of the weekend in the final race, where he stormed to victory by seven seconds.

Higlett was also crowned Formula 400 Sub-64 champion, too.

Full YPMRC race report to follow.

Photo: E.G.B Photography

Higlett Eyes Championship Crown

Snet02 Preview 01Graham Higlett could win his second DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters championship at this weekend's penultimate round, with the 2012 champion eyeing victory at his home track.

Set for the second visit to the Snetterton 300 circuit, the venue for the opening round of the 2014 season, Higlett boasts a championship lead of 157 points. If he can score enough points to leave with a points advantage of over 100, he will be crowned 2014 champion.

However, it is by no mean a formality, with Higlett recovering from the injury he sustained at the previous round, as well as a number of other riders eyeing race wins.

Fresh from his two victories at Brands Hatch, Matt Barber will be looking to taste victory again at Snetterton, where he was the only rider able to push Higlett at the first round, while Pete Moore will also be hungry for race wins after his impressive win at Cadwell Park. Don't count out Doug Edmondson either, while a wild-carding Richard Sawyer will also be looking to mix at the sharp end at his home circuit.

The battle for Clubman honours is also primed to ignite at Snetterton. Trevor Sharpe now leads the championship standings, with a 26 point advantage over James Sharpe. After an excellent weekend at Brands Hatch, where he took his first ever Clubman win, Paul Davies now sits in third place, and will be eager to try and wrestle second place in the championship away from Sharpe. However, he will have his work cut out, as Paul Whitby is looking to bounce back to form after a torrid weekend at Brands last time out and recover his top three position in the championship.

10614213 557629477677147 4294608291397986648 nWhile those look set to fight it out amongst themselves, fellow Clubman Paul Bowling and Kev Marshal will be be looking to join the fray, while Rookie Michael Stanley will also be looking to ruin a few weekends for people by battling for positions again too. Stanley currently sits second in the Rookie Championship, but with Sacha Gyte absent from proceedings, he and fellow Rookie Tim Hall will be hoping to take advantage ahead of the final round at Brands Hatch. But don't discount this weekend's Yambits Club Bike pilot Keith Cotgrove, who, with a racing history from a few years ago, might just throw his hat in the ring for some trophies, too, along with wild-carding Rookie Matt Sharpe, guesting on Paul Whitby's number two bike.

It's set to be an entertaining weekend through the field, with everyone keen to be the one to stop Higlett from celebrating a championship win just yet, and plenty to fight for down the order too.

The penultimate round of the 2014 DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters Championship takes place on the Snetterton 300 circuit, with practice on Friday 5 September, with racing on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 September.

Photo: E.G.B Photography.

Barber Wins Through Brands Bedlam

BrandsGP Report01Matt Barber took his first wins of the season in the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters championship, taking a brace of victories as he moved into second place in the championship standings. Neil MacQueen, guesting in the class as Doug Edmondson's teammate, took the other available wins.

However, overshadowing the weekend's antics were the injuries sustained by champion-elect Graham Higlett and the returning Lee Finney, the pair crashing out in race one, which resulted in a red flag.

Rounding Surtees in the lead of the race, Higlett lost the rear of his TZR250, and low-sided. With nowhere left to go, Finney, enjoying his first race back since injuring his shoulder at the second round of the championship at Silverstone, hit the sliding figure of Higlett and crashed hard. Higlett came away with nerve damage to his shoulder, while Finney suffered a broken collarbone. Higlett is expecting to return at Snetterton, however, Finney has called early retirement on what was tipped to be his last season.

With the race red-flagged, it was rerun later in the programme, with Barber taking his first win of the season, just ahead of Andy Wheeler. The battle at the front did lose Pete Moore, who retired with front brake issues, and MacQueen, who pulled in with a faulty throttle cable.

Doug Edmondson crossed the line in third, who, after getting away at the front early on, was being reeled in throughout the race by the chasing pack. Michael Stanley finished fourth and lead Rookie, just ahead of James Sharpe, who passed Trevor Sharpe on the last lap for fifth and Clubman win. Paul Davies finished third Clubman. Paul Bowling and Kev Marshal also enjoyed a close scrap, just two tenths separating them in eighth and ninth.

Saturday's second race was held until Sunday morning, with torrential rain soaking the track beforehand. Coming through from the back of the grid was MacQueen, who splashed his way to victory, while Moore followed him through, but crossed the line three seconds back.

The battle for the remaining podium position however involved a race-long dice between Edmondson and Barber, with less than a tenth covering them at the flag. Edmondson took the remaining podium spot ahead of the 2013 Rookie Champion, with Wheeler in fifth.

BrandsGP Report02Trevor Sharpe held sixth and the lead Clubman position until the last lap, when Paul Davies made a move. However, Sharpe returned fire on the run to Clearways and took the Clubman win, with Davies second. Sacha Gyte finished eighth and lead rookie, with Bowling ninth and third Clubman.

Michael Stanley looked set to take the Rookie honours, but a hefty mechanical issue put paid to that on the last lap. He joined Paul Whitby on the DNF list, who had a torrid weekend with mechanical issues, including a DNS on Saturday, after his TZR dropped a cir-clip. Mike Wake also failed to finish, as did James Sharpe with powervalve issues.

As the sun broke through later in the morning, the wets were removed and dry tyres fitted. However, just moments before the YPMRC race, the heavens opened, and a series of high-speed wheel changes followed, only for the track to dry quickly and almost immediately, leaving the grid on a mixture of tyres and with a mixture of wet and dry sections to contend with.

Neil MacQueen rode to his second win, taking victory by over three seconds, leaving Moore, Barber and Edmondson to duke it out for the podium. Less than half a second covered them at the chequered flag, just five hundredths between Moore and Barber going for second. Moore claimed it with Barber third. Edmondson finished less than two tenths back in fourth.

Behind them, Trevor Sharpe and Wheeler enjoyed a titanic scrap for fifth, with Sharpe on full wets and Wheeler with a dry rear. In the end Sharpe got better drive out of Clearways to take fifth by less than two tenths of a second. Sharpe was also lead Clubman.

Paul Davies took second Clubman in seventh, as Bowling crashed out at Clearways on the opening lap. He was joined in the gravel by Tim Hall. Paul Whitby also retired, this time with a puncture, with Marshal also not finishing the race. John Walker was third Clubman in ninth, behind lead Rookie Gyte in eighth.

In the final race held in dry conditions, Barber took the win from Moore by less than a tenth of a second, with Edmondson third, just edging out Wheeler by three tenths of a second in some of the closest racing of the season.

BrandsGP Report03Paul Davies took his first Clubman class win in fifth, passing Trevor Sharpe on the last lap. James Sharpe chased them across the line in seventh, rounding out the Clubman podium. Whitby finally finished a race, crossing the line eighth. However, his bad luck and Davies' in-form riding has seen Davies leap to third in the Clubman standings.

Gyte was lead rookie in 10th, with Stanley unable to make the grid, after the spare bike he was loaned in race three was unavailable for the final race.

Higlett, despite missing the weekend's action, holds a healthy championship lead, and is able to secure the crown at Snetterton in September. Barber now sits second with Edmondson third.

Trevor Sharpe assumed the Clubman class lead, and holds a 26 point advantage over James Sharpe, with Davies now third. And in the Rookie class Gyte now boasts a 31 point lead over Stanley.

The next round is on the Snetterton 300 circuit on September 6-7.

Photos: E.G.B Photography

Ewens Enjoys Club Bike At Brands

Club Bike BrandsGPMark Ewens got his first taste of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters at the weekend, taking the Yambits sponsored Club Bike to a best finish of 12th place.

Racing on the full, prestigious Brands Hatch GP circuit, Ewens was faced with one of the more challenging race weekends than pilots of the Club Bike have endured in the past. After Friday practices on the Indy, he then qualified in 17th on Saturday morning.

However, in his first race, he was faced with a red flag situation after a crash at Surtees. The race was rerun in dry conditions later that day. He finished 13th.

Sunday however saw the opening race, held over from Saturday, held in soaking wet conditions, before the paddock and track dried before the second race. But as the field changed to dry tyres, the heavens opened moments before the race, making for frantic wheel changes. With the wets fitted, the rain abated, and the track began to dry quickly, making for an unpredictable track for Rookie Ewens.

Thankfully, the track dried fully for the final race, with Ewens taking the Yambits Club Bike to 12th, adding to the two 12th placed finishes he scored earlier in the day.

He is now looking for his own TZR250, aiming to join the grid full time in 2015.

Full race report coming soon.

Photo: E.G.B Photography

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