The 2016 DFDS Yamaha Past Masters title was decided with a round to spare, with Mark Taylor clinching the championship at Brands Hatch, despite not winning a race on the GP circuit.
Taylor - who is also the reigning BMZRC 250 champion - held a 120-point lead over 2015 champion, Matt Barber, coming into the weekend, and did what was required to ensure he lifted this year’s gong at the first attempt. Three second placed finishes and a third were enough to keep his championship lead at over 100 points, with just one round to go, while Barber did all he could to keep his title defence alive, with three wins and a third.
But it was neither Taylor or Barber that started the weekend on top, as Doug Edmondson, starting from pole position, took the win in race one. Edmondson slipped to second in the early laps, circulating behind the champion-elect, but hit the front on lap three.
From there, he stretched his advantage, eventually pulling out a lead of over two seconds to take the chequered flag and 25 points, as he bids to secure third in the championship, currently held by Scott Grant, who failed to finish the opening race.
Behind Edmondson, Taylor and Barber raced for second place. Taylor held the advantage for the duration of the race, with Barber never able to make a pass. With a tenth of a second between them at the line, the gap was close, but the four-point difference in Taylor’s favour moved him one step closer to the championship crown.
Giles Harwood took the Clubman win, after a battle with Pete Fishwick for fifth place, with Mark Ewens continuing his run of from from Cadwell Park, taking the Rookie win.
With his title defence on the verge of crumbling, Barber did all he could in the final three races of the weekend, taking a hat-trick of victories and setting a blisteringly fast new lap-record for the class on a TZR250 along the way.
His first win came ahead of Taylor and Edmondson in race two, but it was in race three the record was set, his fastest lap a whole 1.6 seconds faster than anyone else in the same race. It gave him the win, as Taylor again finished second ahead of Edmondson.
Taylor’s third place in the final outing was enough to secure the championship, despite Barber’s third win of the weekend, the points difference standing at 105 with 100 left to play for. Edmondson made it another podium finish in the last race, taking second place.
Harwood added three more Clubman wins to his name, with Ewens sweeping the Rookie wins.