Season Finale At Snetterton 200
The DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters' 2015 season drew to a close at the final round at Snetterton, and while two out of the three club champions were decided, it was not without drama.
A dry qualifying gave way to wet racing on Saturday, with new champion Matt Barber on pole. Alongside him on the front row sat outgoing champion Graham Higlett and Neil MacQueen. 2015 Clubman champion Sacha Gyte started from the head of the second row of the grid, but would soon be the architect of the drama that would rule him out of the rest of the weekend, and take Barber and MacQueen out of the race.
After a mediocre start, Gyte carried the speed through a sodden turn one, passing Higlett and the hard-charging Andy Davies, to hold third place on the run up to the Montreal hairpin. Unfortunately too much front brake saw him tuck the front, which sent his TZR hurtling towards Barber and MacQueen. It collided with them both, and took all three out of the race.
From there Doug Edmondson and Higlett battled for the win, with Edmondson holding the position in the early laps. With two to go, Higlett found his way through and held on for the race win, while Edmondson, with one eye on ensuring third place in the championship - a plight made easier by Gyte's exit - kept it safe and upright to take second place.
Davies took the final podium spot in third place while Giles Hardwood rode to an excellent fourth place and the Rookie class win.
Steve Higerty took the Clubman win, while Paul Whitby and Tim Hall battled it out for second in class. Hall was having arguably his best race, and after catching Whitby throughout the race, he made a pass on the last lap. Unfortunately he crashed at Murray's on the final lap, along with Whitby, the pair both losing the front.
Paul Davies took second in the Clubman class with Kev Marshall third.
With poor light ending Saturday's action early, Sunday's timetable consisted of three races for the Yamaha Past Masters and the crowning of the club's third and final champion.
Despite a healthy lead in the Rookie championship, Scott Grant's title was by no means secure. A steady race on Saturday saw him second in class before he took a class win in Sunday's opener, crossing the line in ninth place, before two second-in-class-places in the final two races were enough to see him crowned this year's Rookie champion.
At the front, Barber stormed from the back of the grid to take the win in the day's opening race, crossing the line half a second ahead of Andy Davies, while Edmondson this time got the better of Higlett to take the final podium spot.
Kev Marshall rode to an excellent fifth place, crossing the line behind Higlett to take the Clubman class win. He fended off stiff competition from Steve Higerty, who took second in the Clubman class, while third went to Marc Prentice after he crashed out of race one.
There was news for Whitby, who highsided himself out of contention, crashing at the same corner that he fell victim to in the first race of the weekend.
The third race of the weekend saw Higlett take another win with Barber and Andy Davies on the podium in second and third. Edmondson finished fourth with Harwood taking another Rookie class win in fifth. Whitby came from the back of the grid to finish sixth and take the Clubman win ahead of Higerty.
A wildcard from Richard Sawyer saw him finish eighth with ninth going to Kev Marshall, who took third in the Clubman class.
New champion Barber returned to winning ways for the final race of the season, capping off what has been a remarkable campaign for a rider that first raced with the club as Rookie onboard on the Club Bike in 2012.
He was joined on the podium by Higlett and Andy Davies, who had a sucessful trophy haul to end the season with, while Edmondson took another fourth place, ahead of Rookie race winner Harwood in fifth.
Clubman honours went to Higerty in sixth ahead of Whitby and Rookie Grant, while Prentice completed the Clubman podium in ninth.
Photo: E.G.B Photography