Winstanley is the mutt's at Nutts
A record breaking crowd were treated to first class racing at Belfast's Nutts Corner circuit for round five of the British Supermoto Championship.
In what proved to be an extremely popular circuit for riders and crowds alike, Nutts Corner delivered white-hot action throughout the field in every class.
In the 450 class the man of the moment was Bracken KTM's Matt Winstanley. The young Lancastrian strung together the perfect lap to grab the Dragon Superpole competition, won both races and set fastest laps in both legs to complete the perfect score. But Winstanley was pushed hard at all times, in the first race by Ady Smith and in the second by an on-form Leighton Haigh on his Honda CRF450.
Winstanley's outstanding pace in the 450 class was questioned by a rival team who sanctioned an official protest over the capacity of the Austrian machine. However, after the engine was stripped by technical officials it was found to be undersized at 443cc.
In the Open class it was Zupin Husqvarna's Christian Iddon who looked to be in dominant form. Right from the start of practice Iddon was clearly enjoying himself on the spectacular circuit and, although beaten to pole position by Winstanley, both riders were the only competitors to dip into the sub one-minute lap times.
As the close qualifying times suggested, the first race was a tooth-and-nail battle between Iddon and Winstanley with Iddon taking the flag by just .point two of a second. Championship leader David Tougher brought his TM machine home in third place to secure more vital points with on-form Andy Mitchell on his Husaberg in fourth. VOR rider Greg Kinsella netted fifth.
In the second Open class race drama unfolded on the start line when Jay Smith was hit from behind on the grid, causing the race to be red flagged on the first lap. The unlucky Londoner suffered a broken wrist in the accident - the only real rider injury of the day. The restarted race looked set to belong to Iddon but with just four laps to go Iddon's back wheel disintegrated after a heavy landing on the table-top jump forcing him to retire from the lead. Winstanley took the opportunity to defend his new-found lead to the flag to be followed home by Tougher, Mitchell and Kinsella.
`I was absolutely devastated,' said Iddon. `It was exactly a year ago since Dave Jefferies was killed at the TT and I really wanted that win for him. Now I'm just going to have to give it my all to win all the rest of the remaining races to claw back some points.'
Iddon's departure from the race two results jumps Andy Mitchell up into second place in the series, 48 points behind David Tougher. Ady Smith hold third place with Iddon now fourth, 55 points adrift.
The racing in both legs of the KTM Junior Cup was no less amazing with the top riders lapping faster than the winner of the Open B class winners despite a 450cc capacity disadvantage. Championship leader Chris Hodgson took the first win after a close battle with George Clements and Sam Chapman. In the second race Essex charger George Clements took a welcome first win of the season with a superb start-to-finish victory from the rapidly improving Sam Chapman, leaving Hodgson to net third. With previous Championship leader Daniel Griffiths scoring uncustomary fifth and sixth places, George Clements now moves up to second place in the series just nineteen points behind leader Chris Hodgson. A mere forty one points cover the top four in the series.
The next round of the series at Rowrah Stadium in Cumbria is on June 27.