The DEP series rolled into a new venue on Sunday to be greeted by a smooth and fast-looking sand track under a blazing Lancastrian sun. As it transpired, the racing was just as hot as the weather.
The 125 A moto one was red-flagged early on as Lewis Tombs and Ryan Hamblin tangled on the first lap. The unfortunate Hamblin ended up with his leg stuck between the back wheel and subframe of Tombs's U Tag Yamaha, a badly-broken ankle and damaged ribs the diagnosis.
On the restart, the ever-reliable Jonathan Pettitt grabbed the holeshot and motored to yet another win, ahead of Dave Willet and Jack Brunell, the leading trio so evenly matched that they were unable to directly get on terms with each other.
Moto two, however, saw former British Champion Greg Hanson get the holeshot ahead of MX2Y contender Lloyd Morgan who’s one of the most experienced riders leading one of the youngest.
But Pettitt was there in third, and took little time charging through to the lead. Jim Davies made his way into third and began to close down Hanson as Morgan fell, but he very quickly had Jack Brunell in tow, and a flurry of mid-race activity saw them all swap, leaving Brunell second ahead of Davies and Hanson.
From the depths of the pack, however, David Willet put on an epic ride after an atrocious first lap as the reigning champion came from a mile down to move into third place, and made an awesome effort to close down Brunell for second.
It was a close run thing, with less than a second in it, but the flag flew a lap too early for Willet as he crossed the line less than a second adrift of Brunell. The net result, however, was that Willet was completely fired-up for moto three.
Pettitt got the drop ahead of Brunell, Willet and Davies, but this time Ironman Willet was not to be denied, making short work of getting into second.
Willet then simply ran Pettitt down and made the pass, the first time this year that the TM veteran has been passed straight up.
Further back, Brunell cruised to a distant, comfortable third, but Davies found himself under the attentions of Hanson as the race reached the closing stages. It seemed the gap would be too much for Greg to make up, but a misunderstanding with a backmarker cost Jim Davies precious seconds and allowed the wily Hanson past at the death.
The 250 A opener saw Matthew Moffat lead off the start from Dave Willet, Mike Kock and Mark Eastwood. Willet immediately began to move up and put in a succesful early bid for the lead, as Eastwood began his own charge, making short work of the move into third, but taking a few laps to get to grips with Moffat for second.
Once there, the reigning Open champion set off after Willet, but the Ironman was too tough a nut to crack in the remaining time. For race two, although it was the usual suspects up front, this time Moffat was the man on fire with Willet in the pursuit role – Eastwood made an atypical mistake and dropped the Honda, although he would be back up within seconds.
The error meant that Moffat and Willet had the race to themselves, however, with Moffat guiding the KTM to his debut DEP moto win.
Faced with the possible prospect of a winless day, Eastwood left nothing to chance in the third, leading from the gate and edging away the whole race.
Willet tried to hang on in second, but Easto had the edge, and the Ironman, in his sixth moto of the day, found himself clinging on as Moffat charged up behind him.
It was a fruitless effort, however, as Willet took the chequers for second place with barely a second's grace.
DEP Pipes British 2 Stroke Championship
Round 3 - Leisure Lakes
1 David Willet - Yamaha
2 Mark Eastwood - Honda
3 Matthew Moffat - KTM
4 Mike Kock - KTM
5 Andre David - Suzuki
1 Jonathan Pettitt - TM
2 David Willet - Yamaha
3 Jack Brunell - Yamaha
4 Greg Hanson - Yamaha
5 Jim Davies - TM