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Lydd in Kent on the South coast of England – was the venue for Round 5 of the 2019 Cool-FAB Racing British Minibikes Championship.
The series was returning to the Lydd Karting Circuit for the first time since 2016, a rider favourite circuit for those that knew it. The fast, technical track providing a different challenge for the riders, long corners meeting with tight chicanes and heavy braking zones.
There was a contrast between wet weather affecting qualifying and the first set of races on Saturday and the sun beaming down on the Kent circuit on Sunday.
All eyes were set on the premier class of the Cool-Fab Racing series. Evan Belford and James Cook entered Round 5 both tied on 211 points. James Cook needing a strong result to swing the championship momentum back in his direction
Race 1 on Saturday was held in wet conditions, Cook starting from 2nd, ahead of championship rival Belford (3rd), got the holeshot and took the early race lead from Belford. Cook opened up a gap of 1.4 seconds over his championship rival but disaster struck on lap 5 of 14. The slippery conditions caught out Cook at the 2nd chicane and he crashed from the lead. He would eventually remount to finish 9th. Belford couldn’t settle for the lead just yet, he would come under pressure from Eddie O’Shea in the latter stages of the race but it was Belford who would splash his way through the puddles to take the win, narrowly in front of O’Shea.
Belford would once again take the spoils in Race 2. Clearing off at the front of the field, which left Cook to hold off O’Shea. 8 laps remaining, Cook was again was caught out at the second chicane and crashed but he would remount the bike to finish 10th.
Eddie O’Shea was having his strongest weekend since Llandow - Round 1. Scoring a 2nd & 3rd before Race 3. The final race saw O’Shea pick up his 4th win of 2019, his first since his hat-trick at Llandow. He hunted down early race leader Cook and took the lead at the halfway mark before controlling the race until the chequered flag. The star of Sunday would be Bailey Stuart-Campbell, after qualifying 13th, he struggled in the wet conditions but in both races on Sunday, he worked his way to 2nd place, providing the spectators with endless action as he carved his way through the field with spectacular overtakes. Harrison Crosby had a strong weekend claiming 3rd in Race 1. Cook pulled points back on Belford after finishing 3rd, while Belford could only manage 5th. Belford now has a lead of 32 points over James Cook and Eddie O’Shea.
Eight points separated Harrison Crosby and Josh Bannister in the championship. Championship leader Crosby proved his prowess in wet conditions by taking pole position and the win in Race 1 by nearly 10 seconds over Kyle Payne. Bannister struggled but finished 4th after a damage limitation ride, finish closely behind Sullivan Mounsey picking up his first podium of 2019 in the MiniGP50 class.
The spectators were treated to the usual close racing in the class on Sunday in Race 2. Payne was the early race leader, holding off a frantic group of riders, which included, Crosby, Bannister and Ryan Hitchcock. Crosby had a look at Payne for the lead on many occasions but into the first chicane got too close to his rival, tagging his rear wheel and had to let go of the bike before hitting the barrier, he remounted to finish 7th. This left Bannister to take the fight to Payne, making his move on the closing stages of the race to pick up 4th win in 5 races.
Josh Bannister took the spoils once again in Race 3 ahead of Kyle Payne and Crosby held off a hard-charging Lucas Brown in the closing stages to take his 2nd podium of the weekend. The two wins for Josh Bannister now takes him into the lead of the championship, 5 points ahead of Harrison Crosby.
There was lots of action during the weekend from the Minimoto classes. The LC40 Elite class giving us entertainment and drama. Johnny Garness taking his 12th win of the season in Saturday’s wet conditions, while Mason Foster came out on top of an epic fight between the pair, which went right down to the chequered flag.
The AC40 Pro class had Mason Foster take a hat-trick of race wins to extend his lead in the championship. The standout riders of the weekend were Finnan Wherity and Warwick Brady taking their first podium of the season in Saturday's Race 1.
AC40 Rookies provided great action all weekend, Blake Wilson converting pole position into two race wins, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Luke Fitchett would prevent a Wilson hattrick, beating Wilson on the run to the line. Archie Gibbs still leads the standings over Ollie Sims.
Round 6 of the championship comes to the popular Whilton Mill circuit in Daventry on the 10th and 11th of August.