Thomas Hayward aged 20, from Skellingthorpe returned from the long trip down to Lydden Hill with a second and third place in the bag from Saturday’s two races in the Bemsee King of Clubs Championship but the weekend was marred by a major crash on Sunday in the opening 125cc race which left Hayward uninjured but unable to net any further points towards the title chase where he remains in second place.
Saturday’s opening race was challenging as the combined grid of GP125’s and the more powerful GP250cc machines mixed it around the short but demanding Kent circuit. The 250 machines made up the first three rows of the grid with a two-row gap before the 125 riders. Hayward was second on the 125-grid alongside pole setter James Webb who also leads the championship.
As the race got underway the 125 riders instantly caught and passed the slower of the 250 machines with Webb, Hayward and Cox cutting through the larger bikes like a knife through butter. But it was a different story trying to out-manoeuvre the front-running 250 riders. The lighter, more nimble 125 machines could out-brake their opponents on cornering only to lose out on sheer power down the straights, more so on the uphill section to the hairpin.
Webb managed to find a gap but Hayward and Cox were held up in the pack resulting in a second place for Hayward at the chequered flag.
The second encounter was a thriller with Hayward, Webb and Cox all running together, exchanging the lead throughout. A coming together of two of the front-running 250 riders slowed the leading group sufficiently to allow the battling trio of 125s to go swiftly about their business lapping at just under half a second away from lap record pace.
Again the 250 machines spoilt the race for Hayward as Webb managed to put a couple of larger machines between himself and the Hayward – Cox battle. This time the young county rider crossed the finish line in third place to bag a further 16 points towards his title challenge.
Sunday was a day that Hayward would rather forget as while chasing Webb for the lead he crashed out big time at the Elbow.
" I knew I had to get the power on quickly after I out-braked Webb into the Elbow so I would get the drag up the hill towards the Hairpin but the move went all wrong and off I came. "
Although Thomas escaped unscathed the bike was not so lucky and will need a fair bit of work before the coming weekend’s racing at Cadwell Park where Thomas is riding in the MRO GP125 series.
Despite his spectacular crash and lack of points on Sunday Hayward retains his second place in the standings behind Kent rider James Webb and will be out to make amends in the next round.