DFDS SEAWAYS YAMAHA PAST MASTERS ROUND 3
Donington Park 05/09/20
Big wide and fast, 1.979 miles of beautiful Donington Park National Circuit soaked in two stroke smoke, like heady days of GP racing in the nineties. But this isn’t a Schwantz & Rainey dual, it’s Carson & Branton scrap for the YPM championship. On the way into the weekend, Scott Carson holds a 41pt lead over Branton after a dominant Cadwell Park display. But as we all know with championships they can change in an instant, every point is vital, especially at the penultimate round!
It was not a huge surprise to see Carson set the fastest lap, straight into the low 1.21’s, surprisingly, however, Branton was not to join him on the front row. Second, on the timesheets was Paul the Power Toland, his bike has looked super quick this year, credit to both tuner and rider which I think might be a double pat on the back? Go big 0! Third was Pete Moore. The second row was made up of Bown, Grant and Branton the later some 1.5 seconds slower.
Another hugely healthy grid with 37 riders lining up for Race 1 partly bolstered by some familiar returning faces. Steve Higerty, Rick ‘The Hair’ Ballerini, Paul Bowling, Denise Button, Martin Pearson, Paul Firth and Mungo Prentice all finding the YPM family allure stronger than retirement. By the end of Lap 1, it was clear Peter Branton was far from retirement, from 6th on the grid to frontman in a typically assertive flash. He’d made his winning intentions clear earlier to the race commentary team and he meant it! Scott Carson was not going to let him have it all his own way as he got back in front on Lap2, sadly a technical failure saw him drop down the order which was a real shame as it was set to be a thriller. Branton continued on in fine style with the fastest lap of the race a 1:20.1. In Second, Scott Grant returned to the podium places, third was Geoff Mook the fastest 63 year old in town, he joined Peter Branton as one of the only two riders under the 1:21 barrier proving talent is not an age! The Clubman winner was Billy Perkins with a fine 4th overall and the Rookie crown went to Damien Lee.
Donington Park 06/09/20
With a few delays to the Saturday schedule the YPM race 2 had to start early Sunday morning. With cool air in abundance, there was potential for some quick lap times and the combustion chambers with the biggest appetite were again Peter Brantons. The pole man lead from the front and set a new lap record of 1:19.082 on the way to victory. Mr. Carson had a nibble on Lap 2 and gained the lead but was soon demoted by Branton. The top ten were a little strung out behind as they crossed the line, Toland, Bown, Perkins, Mook, Moore, Whitby and Cooper. Again Billy Perkins and Damien Lee picked up the subclass honours.
With a DNF and a second place, this was the race where Carson needed to get back on terms. The flag fell and within a few laps, it looked likely that the championship points deficit would continue in the same fashion. The winning formula was starting to look formulaic, another flag to finish for Peter Branton now on a Hat-trick. The yellow domed demon punched the air as he crossed the line with a wasp-like sting in the tail. It was a battle of the Scotts again for second and third, with Grant reversing the race 2 positions to steal second from Carson, how vital will those few points be? Only Brands Hatch will tell us. Toland, Bown and Mook resumed their threesome in that order followed by Perkins, Moore and Whitby who had a Wales on his tail Andy Burscough rounding out the top ten on the YPVS 350.
Scott Grant hit the launch control button on the race to Redgate. By the end of lap 1, he had over a half a second lead on Branton with Carson in hot pursuit. By the end of lap 3, two enormous changes had taken place. Branton took the lead, Carson was again missing from the timesheets. How do you like your season finale? Balanced on a knife-edge? if you are team Carson it is tense. If you are team Branton it is tense. If you are partisan, get ready for fireworks. Andy Bown got the better of Paul Toland for a great third place. Perkins, Mook and Burscough came across the line with only second separating them. Clubman and Rookie Dominance were again Perkins and Lee.
Whilst we all look forwards to Brands Hatch, we also share a thought for #27 Rich Hayward and wish him a speedy recovery.