Season Starts In Style At Donington Park
Donington Park played host the opening round of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters, which had seen a resurgence in grid numbers over the winter.
However, reigning champion Matt Barber picked up from where he left off in 2015, and, despite starting from the back of the grid after a technical problem in qualifying, took the win in the opening race of the season.
After stalking down former BMZRC champion Mark Taylor and returning YPM champion Rik Ballerini, Barber snatched the lead on the final lap, seizing on a mistake from Ballerini, to draw first blood of the season.
Ballerini also lost out to Taylor in the dying moments of the race, as Taylor finished second on his YPM debut with Ballerini third.
The Clubman win went the way of Giles Harwood, who finished ninth overall, while Rookie honours went to Mark Ewens.
It was also a race of attrition too, with last year’s dominant Rookie champion, Scott Grant, crashing when trying to negotiate a back-marker, while Paul Middleton and Malcom Hutcheon came together on the last corner of the last lap.
Barber was again on the top step of the podium in race two, after stalking Ballerini for most of the race. On the penultimate lap he made a move for the lead stick, but was chased to the chequered flag, the gap less than two tenths of a second at the end of the race.
Doug Edmondson bettered Taylor on the second lap to move into third place, and from there was never challenged for the final spot on the podium. Harwood was again leading Clubman, and Middleton came from the back of the grid to take the Rookie win.
Barber was denied a perfect weekend, however, as Edmondson proved he will be in the hunt for the championship this year with a dominant start to finish victory.
The rest of the field could only watch the 14-plated TZR250 disappear into the distance, and were left to do battle behind.
Six seconds after Edmondson crossed the line, Taylor came out on top in the scrap with Barber, the duo second and third, highlighting how hard-fought this year’s championship will be.
Harwood was again the leading Clubman, and Middleton the first of the Rookies across the line.