Barber Extends Series Lead With Silverstone Domination
Matt Barber dominated the second round of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters series at Silverstone, storming to victory in all three races. He looked set to win all four scheduled races based on his weekend's form, however an oil spill in another class rendered the track unsafe, with the last race abandoned. It will be rescheduled for a future round.
Barber was taking part in his first race meeting on the Silverstone International circuit having missed the club's round at the venue in 2014. However, it didn't take him long to find his way around, the former YPMRC Rookie champion qualifying on pole and setting a time nearly one and a half seconds faster than reigning champion Graham Higlett, who started second on the grid. Doug Edmondson completed the front row despite a high-speed crash at turn one in Saturday's qualifying session.
Pete Moore qualified fourth ahead of Scott Grant, who looked odds-on for another winning weekend in the Rookie class, while Sacha Gyte qualified sixth and fastest Clubman.
But it was the Barber show as the lights went out for the first race. Moore held the advantage after the first lap, but after Barber found his way past he was never headed, going on to take the win by nearly four seconds. Moore was second with Higlett third.
Fourth went the way of Gyte, who put in an excellent ride to take his second Clubman win of the season, as he crossed the line just one tenth of a second ahead of Andy Davies, as the pair went at it throughout the entire race.
Scott Grant's sixth handed him another Rookie class win, his fifth in five races, as Marc Prentice and Paul Whitby completed the Clubman podium in seventh and eighth. Steve Higerty, who took three Clubman wins at Snetterton, finished ninth with Rooke Lee Huff completing the top 10, as he got the better of a confidence-shaken Edmondson.
Barber's victory in race two came a huge eight seconds ahead of the chasing pack, with Higlett and Moore reversing positions on the second and third steps of the podium. Davies was fourth while Edmondson rediscovered some form to come through the pack to finish fifth.
However, Edmondson's fifth came after a huge scrap involving six riders. Edmondson made the move for fifth on the last lap at the chicane, as six riders sorted out the finishing order in exciting fashion. Whitby benefited from the last lap carnage too, taking sixth and his first Clubman win of the season, while Grant was shuffled back to seventh, but took the Rookie win.
Gyte, who'd held fifth for much of the race, ended up in eighth and second Clubman with Prentice ninth and third Clubman and Higerty 10th.
The third - and sadly final - race of the weekend, saw Barber complete his domination. He led the way before the red flags came out at the halfway stage. When the race restarted as a five lap sprint, he still managed to pull out a seven and a half second lead.
Behind, Higlett bettered Davies by half a second, as the pair finished second and thid. Behind, Moore finished fourth, narrowling beating Grant by less than a tenth of a second. Grant was again the leading Rookie in fifth.
After a weekend of mechanical woes, Ben Miles finally finished a race, crossing the line in sixth after coming from the back of the grid. Gyte was seventh and lead Clubman ahead of Whitby and Edmondson, with Michael Stanley breaking in to the top 10 after rectifying a stator issue that had plagued him all weekend.
Barber, who arrived at the Northamptonshire circit with the series lead extended it with his three wins. The abandoned fourth race will be rescheduled and ran at a future meeting.
The next round of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters championship takes place at Oulton Park on May 29-30.
Photo: E.G.B Photography