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Rockingham "leveller" produces cracking racing in British Supermoto Championship - August 1st 2005

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    The Vivaldi British Supermoto Championships first visit to the Rockingham Motor Speedway produced some cracking racing and several upsets with a number of riders struggling to come to terms with the challenging nature of the circuit. It was the usual suspects of Iddon, Winstanley and Fiorentino who shone through with Warren hot on their tails and French rider Rolland Aurelien and veteran Ady Smith the big surprises on the day.

    Rockingham polarised opinions among the riders with many really enjoying the purpose built circuit which had an extensive off-road section which was tight and twisty, favouring those with a motocross background. Others though, lamented the shortage of tarmac and over-taking opportunities. Whatever the viewpoint the circuit acted as a great "leveller" and produced some of the best racing seen in this year's British Championship.

    SM1 Qualifying;

    Due to the number of riders, the SM1 and SM2 classes were split into two groups with the quickest riders in each forming a combined grid. Iddon was the fastest in the first group with a time of 50.7 with young French rider Sylvain Bidart on a Honda the best of the second bunch. Winstanley was the big surprise having arrived at Rockingham late on the Saturday night he had not ridden on the track until Sunday morning warm-up but still managed the second quickest time in the first group to put him third on the grid.

  1. 1. Christian Iddon
  2. 2. Sylvain Bidart
  3. 3. Matt Winstanley
  4. SM2 Qualifying;

    Winstanley was on a mission in SM2 with the quickest time overall to land pole position. French rider and part-time British Championship campaigner Rolland Aurelien created an upset recording the fastest time in the second group to secure second place on the grid. Sam Warren carried his strong form in the World Championships through to the Rockingham round to secure third.

  5. 1. Matt Winstanley
  6. 2. Rolland Aurelien
  7. 3. Sam Warren
  8. (SM2 Race 1) Winstanley rules despite lack of track time;

    You never would have known that Matt Winstanley managed to miss his ferry from Ireland on the Saturday and didn't get to the circuit until late that evening missing practice. He came out on the Sunday and blitzed the field in SM2 qualifying to secure pole and then took the lead on the opening lap and gradually built up a comfortable margin to take an easy win in the first major race.

    The surprise was French rider Rolland Aurelien who finished with two podium finishes in the SM2 class to take second overall on the day. Speaking through Fred Fiorentino who was acting as his interpreter Rolland said that his "holiday" to England had gone very well.

    "I am not used to this track and this type of riding. It has forced me to think about the settings on my bike and my riding style. It has definitely improved my riding, which is good. I am here on holiday and will be back to do the winter series."

  9. 1. Matt Winstanley
  10. 2. Sam Warren
  11. 3. Rolland Aurelien
  12. (SM1 Race 1) Fiorentino capitalises on front-runner incidents;

    Fiorentino made the most of the panel bashing between Iddon and Winstanley to steal the win in the first SM1 race of the day. After coming together on the first corner after the start/finish the pair collided again damaging Winstanley's front-end and putting him out of the race. This allowed Fiorentino to take the win and heralded the return of veteran Ady Smith on his KTM with his first podium of the season. He was one of many who really enjoyed the circuit.

    "Personally, I really enjoyed the track. The off-road section is very technical, tight and twisty. I had a good race to finish third but managed to have clutch problems in the second race which meant I couldn't challenge the front runners. All in all it's been a tough year so far, with not much luck."

  13. 1. Fred Fiorentino
  14. 2. Christian Iddon
  15. 3. Ady Smith
  16. (SM2 Race 2) Winstanley continues winning ways;

    Winstanley led from the front once again in the second SM2 race taking the holeshot on the first corner and holding his nerve all the way through to the finish to make it two from two. Rolland Aurelien went one better on his Yamaha to take second from a hard-charging Warren who was less than a second behind him. Warren said that as the off-road section of the track become rougher and more rutted it suited him better.

    "It's a new circuit and it's the same for everyone. But as more races are run on the off-road section it is becoming bumpier and more rutted which suits my style."

  17. 1. Matt Winstanley
  18. 2. Rolland Aurelien
  19. 3. Sam Warren
  20. (SM1 Race 2) Iddon pushes Winstanley to the finish;

    In the best race of the day the main SM1 protagonists Iddon and Winstanley pushed each other all the way to the finish. It was Iddon who took the holeshot and led the way for half of the race before Winstanley snuck past to take the lead and hold on to the finish for what was the closest finish of all the races. Fiorentino lurking back in third waited for the lead two to take each other out again but it wasn't to be.

    Young French rider Sylvain Bidart on a Honda was desperately unlucky not to finish with at least one podium coming home in fourth. In the first SM1 race he mounted the fight back of the round when running in second place he crashed and dropped to sixteenth before some stunning riding brought him back up to sixth at the finish.

  21. 1. Matt Winstanley
  22. 2. Christian Iddon
  23. 3. Fred Fiorentino
  24. (SM1 Clubman Trophy) Ermolenko clean sweep;

    Adam Ermolenko was unlucky to miss the cut for the main event in the SM1 class but made up for it with two convincing wins in the SM1 Clubman Trophy. He was chased by Shaun Church and Stuart Bridges in the first Clubman's race and by Rick Bowell and Paul Needham in the second for what were full grid races. Howard Boylan who was testing a new Husqvarna for Motorcycle News said that he had a fantastic days racing and was in awe of the front-runners.

    "I'm still buzzing. It's been a fantastic day and great mixing it with the quick boys. They were so polite, shouting at me to get out of their way and then thanking me as they went past. The track proved to be good for me and the bike slowing everyone down to something close to me speed. Finishing 23rd and 15th in the two races was a great result though I think I was flattered by a number of DNF's."

    SM1 Overall:

  25. 1. Adam Ermolenko
  26. 2. Shaun Church
  27. 3. Rick Bowell
  28. (SM2 Clubman Trophy) Hilton takes it to the Hilt;

    John Hilton finished with maximum points in the SM2 Clubman races winning both races convincingly. David Farmer was second overall and Alan Bott third despite a jumped start and 10 second penalty in the first race. Andy Phillips was a little unlucky to finish fourth after a second placed finish in the first race and a non-point scorer in the second. Victor Bull and Christopher Homer also finished the day on 20 points.

    SM2 Overall:

  29. 1. John Hilton
  30. 2. David Farmer
  31. 3. Alan Bott
  32. (SM4) Dichello the dominator;

    The SM4 class for kids under 15 continues to go from strength to strength with the number of starters now into double figures. Following a red flag incident in the first race it was re-scheduled for a little later in the day with times aggregated. Gennaro Dichello continued his winning ways making it two from two with Oliver Pope second in both races and George Gough third.

    SM4 Overall:

  33. 1. Gennaro Dichello
  34. 2. Oliver Pope
  35. 3. George Gough
  36. Naturally Best, Rider of the Day;

    The Naturally Best, Rider of the Day proved to be another very tough decision for the panel of judges with Danny Tollett the lucky recipient of the trophy and cheque for a 1,000. He made up for some poor qualifying in SM2 charging through the field to finish in seventh place in both races and had a best result of fifth in the first SM1 race.