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Annual Dinner Dance Closes 2014 Season

DinnerDance2014WinnersThe British Motorcycle Racing Club's annual Dinner Dance again capped-off a fantastic season's racing, with the Yamaha Past Masters Racing Club joining in with the celebrations and crowning this year's champions.

Collecting the 2014 championship trophy was Graham Higlett. The 2012 champion started the season as favourite, and showed he meant business from the off, going on an unprecedented winning run that eventually came to an end at Cadwell Park when Pete Moore took off like a scalded cat and stormed to his first YPMRC win.

Joining Higlett on the podium was Matt Barber and Doug Edmondson, the pair going toe-to-toe over the course of the season for that runner-up spot, with the outcome decided at the final round.

Barber's infectious grin and happy-go-lucky approach to his racing - evident from his first foray on the Yambits Club Bike in 2012 - has made him a paddock favourite, backed up by a sometimes wild but always fast style on track. On for his first win of the season at Oulton Park, he crashed out in the changing conditions, handing victory to Higlett. However, he made it to the top step of the podium at the final round at Brands Hatch.

Edmondson was another tipped for championship contention at the start of the season. Battling at the sharp end throughout the year, by the middle of the season it looked as though he might be the only one to catch Higlett. Edmondson got himself on the top step of the podium at the final round, but it wasn't enough to stop Barber taking the runner-up spot overall.

DinnerDance2014ClubmanThe Yamaha Past Masters Clubman championship was set for a showdown at the season finale, with Trevor Sharpe arriving with just a 13 point advantage over James Sharpe. However, in the end Trevor Sharpe was crowned champion before the turn of a racing wheel, with James Sharpe missing the action after a crash in Friday Practice and with no one else capable of catching him.

James Sharpe finished second on the overall Clubman podium, with Paul Whitby rounding out the top three after getting the better of Paul Davies at final round, the pair still scrapping for the final rostrum position until the last race.

Trevor Sharpe was also awarded the Danny Whalin trophy. Danny Whalin raced with the Yamaha Past Masters with his father Len Whalin. Danny sadly lost his life to the sport, but each year an award is presented to someone Len and daughter Chloe nominate for their services and dedication to the club.

In the Rookie class of 2014, Michael Stanley took the honours. After a steady start to his Rookie campaign, Stanley's run of form in the second half of the season saw him regularly competiting nearer the front, and he will definitely be one to watch in the Clubman Championship in 2015.

DinnerDance2014RookiesTim Hall - pictured attempting to wrestle the gong from Stanley - finished third overall in the class after an up and down season that saw him riding four bikes over the course of the year. However, he will be back in 2015 on a freshly acquired TZR250. Taking Rookie class wins this year, he will be looking to give a good account of himself next season. Sacha Gyte, finished second in the Rookie class but couldn't make the end of season party. But he too will return for 2015.

The British Motorcycle Racing Club's Open Day will take place on the 14th of December, with fresh rookies taking the necessary steps and filling out the necessary paperwork to attend the Rookie Day in February with a view to obtaining their ACU licence. Full details can be found here.

Photos: Racing Line Photography

2014 YPMRC Award Winners

10712837 10152345608740060 8299951621437692940 nAlongside the more obvious champions and championship top-threes that receive their awards, the Yamaha Past Masters Club has always been sure to thank and reward those that give a little extra, whether that's through dedication to the club, or by crashing a lot.

At the final round at Brands Hatch, the assembled YPM riders and crews again gathered for a season-ending hog roast and their own awards ceremony.

Mark Silcox - Dedication To YPM

Despite never racing with the Yamaha Past Masters Racing Club, Mark Silcox - better known around the paddock as Billy - attends nearly every round. Booking his accommodation well in advance as soon as the calendar is announced, Billy also feeds a lot of the paddock with the cakes he brings, courtesy of his wife Alison. This year he also drove to collect the food for the annual Cadwell Curry.

Since suffering a big accident at Brands Hatch in 2009, which put paid to his racing exploits, Billy came to a number of YPM meetings with Tony Hoare. From there he got to know more and more people in the paddock. Setting up camp with the Sharpes and Paul Whitby, Billy spends his time putting bikes on and off stands, removing tyre warmers, helping with last minute wheel changes, and enjoying paddock life.

15282 583796265060468 6458769773707129232 nSacha Gyte - Crasher Of The Year

One of the more difficult years when it came to deciding on this year's Crasher of the Year award, with a number of riders all boasting the same number of crashes. Nominees included Tim Hall, Michael Stanley, Matt Barber (not least of all for crashing out of the lead at Oulton and his inclusion in the now infamous Melbourne Loop pile up), James Sharpe, Paul Whitby, and Graham Higlett.

However, Gyte was eventually awarded the trophy after crashing from bolt upright at Oulton Park, and for crashing at the final corner at Donington on the final lap from what would have been his best finish of the season. He admitted later to changing his line on the last lap to reflect other riders around him.

10543621 547862868653808 2962358012145467110 nPete Moore - Best Prepared Bike

Pete Moore's TZR250 wasn't shy of a mechanical issue in in 2013. So for 2014 he spent the winter meticulously preparing it, treating it to nice new bodywork too. Many more mechanical issues and a couple of slides on its later, and you wouldn't know to look at.

Instead it was always clean, never held together with gaffer tape and cable ties, and always looking full factory.

10702110 573638986076196 1339323710506134898 nPaul Davies - Most Improved Rider

Riding the 2013 championship-winning bike paid dividends for Paul Davies. Improving immediately, Davies spent the opening part of the season getting closer and closer to the front runners in the battle for the Clubman Championship.

By the Brands Hatch GP round, he had well and truly announced himself in the fight for Clubman wins, taking his first class victory in the final race of the weekend. From there he went on to take two more and a second at Snetterton, putting himself in contention for third place in the Clubman championship.

Unfortunately for Davies, a crash in the final race at Snetterton impacted his performance at the final round and he finished off the Clubman podium in fourth overall, but certainly showed that he will be one to watch in 2015.

10393707 547128352060593 8144233763818421082 nLee Huff - Yambits Club Bike Rider Of The Year

Every rider who raced the Club Bike this season was eligible for the Yambits Club Bike award, with many factors coming in to play when deciding on a winner, including performance, enthusiasm, and fit within the YPMRC fold.

Again, a number of candidates were put forward, including Barry Drummond after taking the bike to its first Rookie class win at Donington Park. However, it was eventually awarded to Lee Huff. After a string of impressive performances at Cadwell Park - and a crash - Huff then went and put himself on the grid for the final round of the championship on the bike he will race in 2015.

JSweb RLGa0738James Sharpe - YPM Marshal Award

Every season the YPM Marhsals of Den, Nicki and Scott Grant present their own YPM Marshal award, based on a number of categories. For 2014, this was awarded to Clubman runner-up James Sharpe.

"The YPM Marshal award is awarded in memory of Sophie," Den explains. " Sophie came to racing as part of our family to support me when I was racing in YPM in 2005.

"Sophie died in 2010 in her sleep when she was 17 and we ask the riders to wear a sunflower sticker with a smile, to give us a smile just like she had.

"We wanted to do something fun for Sophie's memory and thought of having an award for things that we talked about on the way home, just like we did on long journeys back from circuits when I was racing; the things that made us smile during the weekend. Silly things like riders waving at each other whilst over taking, a rider helping pick their bike up after a little spill.

"This year the award goes to Jamie ' I will try and remember to wave' Sharpe. He had a varied year's racing where he managed to scare us at Silverstone with a big wobble, had mechanical problems and a few spills too. But we also witnessed some very good results and some special overtaking of his fellow racers and family members."

Champions Decided At Final Round

BrandsIndy01With Graham Higlett already crowned this year's DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters Champion, the final round at Brands Hatch was still the scene for the battle for second in the championship standings, as well as Clubman and Rookie honours.

The Clubman championship was one battle that was set to go to the wire, with just 13 points separating Trevor Sharpe and James Sharpe. However, a crash in Friday practice ruled James Sharpe out of the weekend's races, handing the Clubman championship to Trevor Sharpe, with no one else able of overhauling his lead.

The Rookie class however, was far from decided, with 64 separating Michael Stanley and Sacha Gyte at the top, and it was Gyte who started the right way in the rain in Saturday's opening encounter, finishing eighth and lead Rookie ahead of Lee Huff, another Rookie who rode the Yambits Club Bike at Cadwell Park. Stanley finished 12th and third Rookie, giving away nine points to Gyte.

At the front Dan Wright, back for his second race of the season and looking good at the front, crashed out of the lead, handing victory to Doug Edmondson, who ended up cruising to the win by six seconds, finishing ahead of Matt Barber, the pair both aiming for second in the overall championship. Emma Jarman, having her first ride in the class also crashed out on Pete Fishwick's TZR250.

Higlett finished third, just a tenth of a second ahead of a returning Steve King. Kevin Marshall finished lead Clubman after an excellent ride, and rounded out the top five. Len Whalin finished seventh behind Pete Moore and second Clubman. Trevor Sharpe finished tenth and completed the Clubman podium.

BrandsIndy02Saturday's second race was another rain-soaked affair, and Stanley's hunt for the Rookie championship took another hit. As the pack charged towards Paddock Hill for the first time, Stanley's over-exurberance on the throttle saw the rear let go, and as he slid towards the gravel, he skittled the unlucky Paul Bowling and Nick Kennet.

With all the riders up and okay, Gyte rode to the Rookie class win in eighth, putting a further 25 points in Stanley's class lead. At the front, Matt Barber fended off Edmondson for the race win in the battle for second in the championship, with Wright coming through the pack to finish on the podium in third. King finished fourth ahead of the lead Clubman, Marshall.

Jarman also came through the field to finish sixth ahead of Moore, Gyte, Paul Davies and Whalin, while newly-crowned champion Higlett crashed out on lap five.

In contrast to Saturday's water-logged affair, Sunday was positively glorious. With the field full from the paddock hogroast the nightbefore, the day's opening 10-lap race saw King take the win, closely followd by Barber and Wright. Edmondson finished fourth ahead of Jarman, who crossed the line in fifth and ahead of Higlett in sixth. Moore finished seventh with a jump-start penalty, however it didn't affect the result, with Stanley eighth and lead rookie.

Paul Whitby took his first Clubman win of the weekend in his fight to regain third in the Clubman standings, finishing ninth ahead of Marshall with Whalin third Clubman in 11th.

BrandsIndy03In the final race Barber cemented second place in the 2014 championship standings after a race-long dice with King. Barber took the win by just over a tenth of a second. Edmondson took third, coming out on top in a three-way battle for the final spot on the podium. Behind him finished Moore and Wright.

Higlett and Jarman finishd sixth and seventh, with Marshall taking his third Clubman win of the weekend in eighth after what has been a challenging season for the Derbyshireman. Stanley finished behind him as lead Rookie in ninth, ensuring he was crowned the 2014 YPMRC Rookie champion, with Whitby rounding out the top 10 and claiming second Clubman. With Davies finishing fifth Clubman, it was enough for Whitby to secure the final spot on the Clubman championship podium.

The annual BMCRC Dinner Dance takes place on 15 November at the Ashford International Hotel, where the champions will be presented with their trophies.

Photo: E.G.B Photography

Lee Huff Joins YPM Grid For Final Round

Brands ClubBike Preview01Lee Huff will line up on the YPM grid for the second time this season, the Club Bike graduate taking part in the final round of the season at Brands Hatch.

Huff, who rode the Yambits sponsored Club Bike at the fifth round earlier in the year, took a 15th and a 10th at Cadwell Park, before crashing out at the Gooseneck on the opening lap of the third race.

However, it wasn't enough to deter Huff, who hails from Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire. After securing a TZR250 for the final round, he has his eyes firmly fixed on the 2015 YPMRC Rookie championship.

The final round takes place on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit on October 4-5.

Photo: E.G.B Photography

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

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