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Despite basking in a two month heatwave, the good weather came to an untimely abrupt end in Cambridgeshire for the fifth round of the Cool Fab British Minibike Championship, coming from Red Lodge. The tight and twisty 1km course saw record temperatures in practice but come race day on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, the clouds had gathered. Kick-starting the second half of the season, Red Lodge proved to be a turning point for many riders across the five junior classes.
In the AC40 Pros class, the rivalry between Jonny Garness and Mason Foster would reach new heights during race one. Mason Foster drew first blood as he beat Garness by just 0.002s - the second closest finish in the championship’s history and the closest finish in almost a decade. Race two saw Garness return to the top, being joined on the podium in race two by Troy Jeffrey and Luca Hopkins - who in turn took his first podium of the season, with a 3rd. In race three, Garness beat title rival Mason Foster, with Troy Jeffrey once again on the podium in 3rd.
In the overall championship chase, Jonny Garness leads on 319, 34 ahead of Mason Foster in 2nd place. Sullivan Mounsey’s tricky weekend didn’t prevent him from dropping from 3rd, as he is 114 points away from the championship lead. Troy Jeffrey is four points further back in 4th whilst Luca Hopkins’ podium means he completes the top five.
The AC40 Rookies always provide drama and from pole position, Olly Horner took his first win of the championship in race one in a Jorge Lorenzo-style way, dominating from lights to flag, with Ruben Bray in 2nd and Samuel Munson 3rd. Race two would prove to be dramatic with many of the front runners crashing in the soaking wet conditions. Ruben Bray looked like he had the race in the bag and with two laps to go, had a two second lead over Finnan Wherity. On the last corner of the penultimate lap, Bray crashed out, leaving Finnan Wherity to come through to take his first win of the year, becoming the sixth different winner in the class in 2018! Archie Gibbs was 3rd and took his first podium of the year too! In race three, a more normal order was restored with Ruben Bray taking victory and Olly Horner 2nd, whilst Samuel Munson was 3rd.
In the championship standings, things are starting to get really close! Olly Horner’s stellar weekend means he is the new series leader with 252 points, just three ahead of Samuel Munson. Eight further back is Henry McCartney, who in turn is two points ahead of Ruben Bray in 4th. Warwick Brady, the double winner from Clay Pigeon, is 5th, on 172. Just 13 points cover the top four in what is one of the closest championships in recent years.
The Junior LC40 Elites has seen some close finishes in the past but Red Lodge turned out to provide a variety of results. Race one saw Casey O’Gorman win ahead of Bailey Stuart-Campbell and James Cook - younger brother to Max Cook. However, in race two, Evan Belford came through to take the win, with Ryan Hitchcock and Ollie Walker completing the podium in great fashion. Race three witnessed a return to the top for Irishman O’Gorman, with James Cook collecting another podium with 2nd and Bailey Stuart-Campbell in 3rd.
In the championship, O’Gorman becomes the new leader on 301, whilst Bailey Stuart-Campbell slips to 2nd with 290. Amanuel Brinton’s tricky weekend sees him remain a distant 3rd, 116 points back from the series leader. Ollie Walker and Ryan Hitchcock both had good weekends, promoting them to fourth and fifth respectively, with 180 points and 143 points each.
The MiniGP50 championship witnessed something pretty rare at Red Lodge. Casey O’Gorman won the first race with Amanuel Brinton and James Cook in 2nd and 3rd - that is fairly normal. However, in race two, which happened in the rain, Casey O’Gorman made a rare mistake and crashed out whilst leading. This meant that Eddie O’Shea, from 5th on the grid, was leading and subsequently took his first win since graduating to the class this season. O’Shea winning meant he became the first rider to defeat O’Gorman in a MiniGP50 race. Amanuel Brinton was 2nd and Thomas Gomes 3rd. Race three saw O’Gorman return to the front, with O’Shea finishing 2nd and Dylan Mellor 3rd.
In the championship, O’Gorman leads Amanuel Brinton by 124 points, meaning he can take the championship at the next round at Glan Y Gors. James Cook is 3rd with 180 points whilst Josh Bannister is in 4th on 166. Completing the top five is Thomas Gomes on 162, meaning the battle for 3rd place is well and truly alive and kicking!
Finally, the MiniGP70 races, where Casey O’Gorman maintained his sensational run of form, extending his race winning run to 15 in the class. In all three races, Evan Belford finished 2nd to him whilst in race one and two, Bailey Stuart-Campbell came home in third. However, in race three, there was a surprise on the podium in the form of Owen Mellor, who took his first podium of the season.
In the championship, O’Gorman leads Belford by 109 points and has a chance to secure title glory at the next round. 72 further back is Bailey Stuart-Campbell whilst Calum Beach occupies 4th. Completing the top five is Sean Able, who is 221 points away from Casey O’Gorman.
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