Bailo claims Flat Track title at Redcar! – Indian Motorcycles Flat Track Nationals Round 6 – Race Report and Results
Gerard Bailo was proclaimed the 2019 Indian Motorcycle DTRA UK Flat Track National Champion in Middlesbrough on Saturday night, becoming the first title-holder from outside of Britain since Italian Marco Belli scooped the prize in 2008. Second place for the reigning world number two at the Media Prima Arena means he cannot be caught at the final Round in September, although on this occasion he had to play second fiddle to fellow countryman Ferran Sastre.
Report by Alex Raby – Images courtesy of Braking Point Images
Sastre, fastest in qualifying, won Heat One at a canter and – after a narrow defeat in the first Semi Final – extracted his revenge when it mattered in the fifteen-lap Final, getting the better of Gerard Bailo by a one-and-a-half second margin. Bailo had made the faster start, pursued around the outside line early on by King’s Lynn winner Gary Birtwistle, but by the end of the second lap Sastre had left the Brit behind him, and two laps later he performed a near-identical pass on the exit of the pits bend to hit the front.
Birtwistle meanwhile, second in the points arriving in the North-East, lost two positions in the space of two bends and slipped out of podium contention after dropping behind Toby Hales at the start of lap four. From there the number eleven had his hands full with small track specialist Rob Mear, who put in his best performance of the season so far on the 271 metre Speedway oval but had to be content with fifth.
With his overtake on Birtwistle, meanwhile, Hales provided the only British representation on the podium whilst continuing his strong recovery in the second half of this season. The youngster from Lincolnshire was second-fastest in qualifying, won Heat Two and the second Semi Final with some comfort, but when he met the Spaniards for the first time in the Final he missed the start and left himself with too much work to do.
On the back of her Eastbourne Hooligan success Leah Tokelove put in her best result of the UK Nationals campaign, her seventh place secured the hard way after a sixth place finish in the Semi Finals had forced her to battle through via the Last Chance Qualifier, which she won ahead of Conrad Little. In the Final, Tokelove put in a combative ride and recovered from the third row, only to find her route blocked by a defensive-riding Maikel Dijkstra, the Dutchman unable to replicate his Amman Valley exploits and seeing his pursuit of a place on 2019’s Championship podium come to an end.
With the title race itself settled in Redcar, attention now turns to the fight for second and third overall with three riders in the mix. Ferran Sastre and Gary Birtwistle now have a win each and are separated by just five points, while the dropped Round rule will favour Toby Hales who fell from the lead at the season opener.
Gerard Bailo can head to Greenfield in September the most relaxed of them all, having earned his place in the record books as the first Spaniard to claim Championship honours in the UK. But his 2019 victory, which provides the DTRA with a third different title-holder in as many years, proves the depth and unpredictability of the fast-growing Flat Track Nationals.
RD6 REDCAR RESULTS: 1. Ferran Sastre 3:50.976s , 2. Gerard Bailo +1.412, 3. Toby Hales +3.466, 4. Gary Birtwistle +5.958, 5. Rob Mear +6.658, 6. Maikel Dijkstra +10.461
CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1. Gerard Bailo 98, 2. Ferran Sastre 88, 3. Gary Birtwistle 83, 4. Toby Hales 78, 5. Maikel Dijkstra 62, 6. Rob Mear 52
ROBERTSON RECORDS CLASSY REDCAR REVENGE
Having been pipped on the line by Conrad Little in the Amman Valley, Robertson reversed the order of the top two in Middlesbrough’s Intermediate Final.
Jamie Robertson made it back-to-back podium finishes in the Intermediate class of the DTRA UK Flat Track Nationals and this time the top step beckoned. The 33-year-old made his first pro Final with a stunning Semi Final appearance, then topped his own class Final by almost two seconds. But having sat out the opening two Rounds Robertson, as the fourth different winner in five Rounds, can only watch on with only two remaining contenders for the crown. Conrad Little’s runner-up ranking in Redcar means he has beaten series leader Simon Parkin in three consecutive meetings. But consistency has been the key for Simon Parkin whose two early-season victories and now another pair of podiums leave him seven points up with one Round remaining.
DIJKSTRA DOES THE DOUBLE
Back-to-back Thunderbike wins for Maikel Dijkstra, but Tom Clemans took a crucial step towards the title with second place
The 2019 Sportax Thunderbike Championship is now a two-horse race after contenders Tom Clemans and Dan Ridge shared the podium with Dutchman Maikel Dijkstra for the second time. Dijkstra had been beaten by both in Heat Two but pulled well clear from the front in the Final, leaving Ridge and Clemans to settle among themselves who would lead the series heading to the decider at Greenfield. The number forty-two claimed second at Redcar, his fourth podium in five Rounds, and with the dropped Round rule taken into consideration he is the net series leader despite Ridge, who claimed third, leading the totals by a four-point margin.