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Higlett Launches Title Assault

Higlett Snet ReportGraham Higlett got his assault on the 2014 title off on the right foot, taking all four wins from the opening round at Snetterton.

The 2012 champion, who failed to notch a single win in the year of his title defence, looked focused and determined right from the off, qualifying on pole on Saturday morning, with only Doug Edmondson within a second of his time of 2:18:829. 2013 Rookie champion Matt Barber rounded out the front row, a second back of Higlett.

But it was Barber who put up the most resistance to Higlett's dominance over the weekend, and in Saturday's opening encounter it was the pair of them that disappeared at the front, the only two lapping in the 2:16s. Victory went the way of Higlett, as he eventually gapped and dropped Barber, crossing the line four and a half seconds ahead of him at the chequered flag. Edmondson, with a comfortable advantage over fourth placed Richard Sawyer, came home third.

In the Clubman class, Paul Whitby held the advantage for most of the race, dicing with Andy Wheeler for seventh overall with the pair swapping places constantly. However, too much front brake going into Nelson for the final time saw him lose the front and crash out, handing the win to James Sharpe, who bettered Kev Higerty for the Clubman win. Trevor Sharpe was the third Clubman rider across the line.

Sacha Gyte drew first blood in the Rookie class, taking the win and 17th overall, with Michael Stanley, another Club Bike graduate, second and Tim Hall third.

A packed schedule saw the second Yamaha Past Masters race held over until Sunday morning, when the race was unfortunately red flagged after a handful of laps.

While battling for the position of highest Clubman, Kev Higerty suffered a huge highside at the exit of turn one. The race was stopped, with Higerty later diagnosed with four broken vertebrae.

Barber Snet ReportHiglett took his second win in the restarted raced, chased home by Barber, with Edmondson just half a second back, while Trevor Sharpe took the win in the Clubman class ahead of Whitby and Len Whalin, while Hall just edged out Stanley for top Rookie honours.

Sunday's scheduled races saw Higlett complete his clean-sweep, taking victory in race one by nearly five seconds, after shaking off the attention of Barber, who did his best to prevent the former champion from getting into his rhythm.

Barber, making a good start, held the lead early on, before the pair battled for a number of laps, with Barber launching an attempted pass wherever he could, knowing it was his best chance of preventing Higlett from settling into the groove and taking the win.

Unfortunately for him it was to no avail, with Higlett shaking him off and pulling away to take the win with Barber second and Edmondson third.

Top Clubman honours went to James Sharpe, who came from the back of the grid to finish 10th, after a battle with Whitby and Whalin, who finished second and third Clubman respectively, while Gyte returned to the top step of the Rookie podium, crossing the line half a second ahead of Stanley, with Hall third rookie.

Higlett's rout was complete in race four, while a fluffed start from Barber meant he was unable to get away with the race leader, instead allowing Edmondson to have a go. The 2011 Rookie runner-up was unable to challenge for the lead however, and settled for second, with Barber third.

Whitby took his first Clubman win of the weekend in the final race, with Trevor Sharpe second and John Walker third, with Gyte the leading rookie and in the points in 14th.

Higlett's 100% record means he heads the championship standings, with Barber second and Edmondson third, the trio already putting in a  gap to the chasing pack, headed by Andy Davies.

Consistency and four finishes mean Trevor Sharpe tops the Clubman championship after round one with 74 points, while Whitby, on 65, and James Sharpe, on 63, sit second and third.

Consistency for Michael Stanley also means he leads the Rookie championship, with four second placed finishes and 80 points, with Gyte on 75 and Hall on 73.

Photos: Bryan Lancaster / Bryant Photography

Round One Preview

snet previewThe DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters series is set for its opening round of the 2014 season, with the Snetterton 300 circuit in Norfolk - the scene of the opening round in 2013 before the meeting was cancelled due to heavy snowfall - the venue.
 
With reigning champion Dean Stimpson moving on, a number of riders will be looking to assert themselves as championship contenders, including local competitors Richard Sawyer and former champion Graham Higlett. Others widely tipped to join the fray at the sharp end include Pete Moore and Matt Barber, after the two who went head-to-head for the 2013 Rookie Championship, as well as Lee Finney and Doug Edmondson.
 
Last year's Clubman Championship went down to the wire, and 2014 also promises to provide a fiercely fought championship, with plenty of riders capable of picking up points and trophies throughout the season, including last year's main protagonists, Paul Whitby and Paul Bowling.
A number of freshly recruited rookies will be battling for top novice at the weekend too, with a number graduating to a full championship from the YPMRC Club Bike.
 
The Yamaha Past Masters Racing Club will be in action with a full day of practice on Friday 25 April and 15 minute qualifying session on the morning of Saturday 26 April. There will be then four races over the course of the weekend, two Saturday and two Sunday 27 April. The YPMRC is scheduled for races 10 and 20 on both days.
 
Completed in 2011, the Snetterton 300 circuit is one of the more newly developed tracks, and also the second longest in the country, incorporating the old layout of the original circuit with a new infield section. The British Motorcycle Racing Club was also the first motorcycle racing organisation to host a motorcycle race meeting on the circuit.

Lee Huff Claims Club Bike For Cadwell

Club Bike CadwellThe YPMRC TZR250 CLub Bike has been booked for Cadwell Park, with Lee Huff taking his first steps into motorcycle racing, after a history of racing and doing track days in cars.

Lee, from Chepstow, spent a season racing Caterhams 15 years ago, and has a number of car track days under his belt, however, despite being relatively new to riding motorcycles, he has held a long-burning passion to race bikes.

He said, "I have only recently taken up motorcycling, at the age of 40, hoping that common sense and self preservation have improved somewhat from my early years in cars.

"I got my road licence about eight months ago and bought myself a 1999 Honda Fireblade. But apart from the CTC Course Assessment at Pembrey I have not yet done any trackdays on my bike. However, I have one booked at Castle Coombe in April and am also booked for Ron Haslam's race school at Donington in May. I also hope to get another one in before the race at Cadwell in July.

"I'm originally from Lincolnshire so Cadwell was the 'local' track, hence the attraction and also chance for some home support. The club bike sounds like an excellent way to experience a race weekend and if all goes well I plan to do a full season next year."

For more information on the YPM Club Bikes, click here.

Photo: E.G.B Photography

Race School Success For YPM Rookies

1621677 486208511485911 1899435938 nSix YPM Rookies took their first steps to going racing at the weekend, taking to the cold but drying Brands Hatch asphalt at the Bemsee Rookie School.

Under the watchful guidance of instructors Kev Higerty and Andy Wheeler, the six rookies took part in four on-track sessions, as well as a practice start. While Bemsee has always ran its own Rookie School, 2014 marked the first year the ACU stipulated riders wanting to obtain their licence must complete such an assessment.

Under instruction from Kev was Tim Hall, using the 350 YPVS kindly loaned to him for the season by Kev Marshal, Denise Button, and Rebecca Johnston, using Pete Moore's TZR.

Matt Sharpe, using Trevor Sharpe's TZR, Ben Leeds, on the Wave Racing TZR250, and Jess Dunne were taken under the wing of Andy Wheeler.

Unfortunately Rebecca suffered a viscous-looking highside at Clearways, caught out by the tyres on a drying track. A trip to the med-centre revealed a broken hand, but everyone in the YPMRC wishes her well and is still looking forward to her joining the class, after showing real potential on track.

Other Rookies for 2014 include Club Bike graduates Michael Stanley, Sacha Gyte, Richard Dry and Adrian Byrne.

The opening round of the YPM season is on the Snetterton 300 circuit on April 25-27.

Club Bike Booked For Brands GP

The YPMRC TZR250 Club Bike has been booked for Brands Hatch GP, with Mark Ewens from Fordingbridge looking to get a taste of racing and YPM.

Mark turns 50 this year, and decided it was a good a time as any to start racing. He enquired about the club bike last year, but missed out with the bike already being booked up. So this year he has got his entry in early.

Mark rides a Ducati 996 and is familiar with Brands, and is looking forward to getting involved with the class.

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