Round 7, held 3rd/4th August saw Lamonde Automation sponsored Matt at the famous Cadwell Park circuit, a favourite of riders and spectators alike. This is the second time that the minitwins have raced at Cadwell this year.
Saturday morning, Matt, qualified 5th on the grid with a 1:41.806, the rookie lap record has stood at 1:41.1 since 2012, set by Ashley Buxton.
Race 1, Matt got off to a flying start and was in 4th position into the first corner, however, a start-line incident caused the race to be red-flagged.
Mark Taylor, who was 4th on the grid had stalled, or not got away swiftly enough and unfortunately was hit by another bike and as a result broke his collar bone. Get well soon Mark. The race was restarted with a reduced length of 5 laps. After another great start, Matt was 3rd (overall) into Coppice, until overtaken by Keith Povah. On lap 4, Matt lapped at 1:39.771 giving him the rookie lap record, 1.4 seconds faster than the previous record! Matt won the rookie race and finished 4th overall.
Race 2, Matt qualified 5th as Dave Twyford set a faster lap than me in race 1 (grid positions are determined by lap times from the previous race). Matt got off the start line but was beaten into turn 1 by Jake Povah and then fellow rookie, Tommy Downes came around the outside putting him on the inside line for turn 2, Charlie’s 1. Matt knew he had more pace and was happy to sit behind Tommy, but that didn’t last long as he left his braking late up causing him to take to the grass, but he stayed on. Matt was able to bridge the gap with Jake and on lap 4, Jake hit a false neutral and under braking ran wide into Mansfield, so Matt was able to pass him on the inside and had a clear track in front of him, so he got his head down and pulled the pin finishing 1st rookie and 5th overall.
Sunday, race 3, Matt was 6th on the grid, in 6th, Jake Povah in 5th with a better best-lap time in the previous race. Matt awaited the flag to drop for the warm-up lap, he always does a racing start as it’s the only time he gets to practice. Off the line, he went, and immediately there was a yellow flag, there was another start-line incident as per race 1, this one was more serious and the race was to be re-run later in the day. Best wishes to those involved for a speedy recovery.
At lunchtime, a memorial lap of Cadwell Park was held for Dan Thomas #34 for all those in the minitwins, Thunderbike sport and any others that wished to take part. It was started with 34 seconds of noise and then the riders circulated slowly around the track to allow all Bemsee staff, medics and Marshall’s to honour Dan’s memory, it was fitting, all involved were displaying stickers in the Kevin Schwartz colours, Dan’s childhood hero. R.I.P. Dan.
Race 3 – Matt got off to a good start and tried again to stay with the front group; Glynn Davies, Keith Povah and Dan Singleton, who with years of experience are very fast, these are the guys that Matt will likely be doing battle with next year in the MRO (main non-rookie class) for a spot on the podium. Matt set about chasing down David Twyford down, nearly beating his new lap record when the yellow and yellow and red striped flags were being out at the bottom of the mountain. Matt backed off in case there was oil or debris on the track and as he crested the mountain section Keith Povah’s bike was in the middle of the track with Keith crawling away to the grass. Dave and Matt took avoiding action, and as they approached the start/finish line for lap 6, the red flags came out, ending the race, Matt was disappointed as he finished 0.291 seconds behind Dave and was confident that he could have put a move on him for another place given another lap.
During the cool-down lap, Matt noticed Dan Singleton’s bike at the side of the track, the riders were held at the bus stop allowing medics & marshalls etc. to see to Keith. Matt didn’t realise that this meant that he’d just got his first MRO podium, Dave Twyford pointed out he was 3rd overall. Keith and Dan were thankfully ok. Som
Race 4 – Matt qualified 5th, with Tommy Downes in 6th, Matt got a good start, with Tommy showing his front wheel into turn 1, the line was Matt’s, he with the front group. Tommy put an excellent move into Mansfield but ran wide. Matt got back underneath him but Tommy had the inside line for the bus stop, he wasn’t bothered as he knew he could run 1:39’s and was happy to sit behind him until he put the same move on Dave Twyford into Mansfield as he had on Matt. He now knew the battle was on and had to get past Dave, it took Matt two laps, helped by Dave running wide out of Charlies 2. On to lap 6 and Matt was happy that he had the pace to challenge Tommy for the rookie lead and knew he was going to have to do it and pull the pin to hold the lead and hopefully break the tow, because Tommy is excellent at drafting, his size and build allowing him to do draft really effectively.
As they exited Barn for the start of lap 7, it seemed that Tommy missed a gear, Matt took advantage and just went, so much so that he caught up with Dan Singleton who was in 3rd and he set about challenging for his next podium. Matt showed Dan a wheel at Hall bends, not a place to stuff it up the inside of anyone, least of all Dan, he takes no prisoners! Out of nowhere, Dave Twyford came past Matt on the start of Lap 8.
Now there were three battling for overall 3rd place. On lap 9, Matt, Dave & Dan came up behind a back-marker, Dan got round the outside on Coppice and Dave went for the inside line Matt could see the gap closing as the back-marker headed for the racing line, the speed differential was big and to avoid T-boning them Dave had to go to big brakes, and Matt even bigger brakes, recovering quickly Matt had a good look behind thinking that Tommy was going to be snapping at his heels having been held up/nearly crashing out with the back-marker. There was nobody there, so Matt won rookie race, coming 5th overall.
So four wins, one lap record, and a 3rd place in the main class for his first podium = a mega weekend! Well done Matt.
Round 8, the final round is at Brands Hatch 5th-6th October, and it’s all still to play for.
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