The Greenfield Dirt Track team go great guns on home soil!
Images courtesy Braking Point Images
Despite the heavy rains that complicated the weekend for the third round of the British Flat Track Championship, the complete Pro category program, scheduled for Saturday, was run on Sunday and fans saw an intense wheel-to-wheel battle between the two Spanish riders, Gerard Bailo and Ferran Sastre, of the Greenfield-Noyes Camp team (both on Kawasaki KXF450F singles). The team’s British rider, Toby Hales, very fast in his three heats, got a poor start in the final but managed to take fourth place behind Richard Mason (Honda) and in front of Gary Birtwistle (Honda).
In the final, Sastre was in the lead when a red flag came out due to a fall downfield. On the restart, he led again while Bailo was third on the opening laps. Once he caught up with his teammate, Bailo looked for a chance to pass but Sastre seemed to have the situation under control until he hit a bump and ran slightly wide half-way through the penultimate lap. This was the gap Bailo needed to go through on the inside and take the win by a scant two tenths of a second.
For Bailo it is his second victory in a row after having finished second in the first of the three races held to date. He was able to increase his advantage to 10 points over Sastre and to 15 over Birtwistle. Hales is fourth place in the points table but there are still four races remaining.
It was a difficult weekend for the promoters due to the rains but, thanks to the efforts of George Pickering, owner of the circuit, Anthony Brown, promoter of the British Championship, and their respective teams, all races in all classes were completed on Sunday.
The battle for the British title will resume at the Ammanford Half Mile with two races (July 20 and 21), but next week the Greenfield-Noyes Camp team will fight simultaneously on two fronts, both in Spain. Ferran Sastre will defend his first place in the points table of the Indian Motorcycles European Flat Track Championship at the classic “Wheels and Waves” race at San Sebastian, while Gerard Bailo and Toby Hales compete in the Rodi Cup race in Barcelona.
George Pickering – Team Owner: “Another successful weekend with the team! We were obviously racing at our home TT, although we didn’t have much time for testing before the meeting. Our three Pro riders were visually the fastest three out on track. With Bailo and Ferran making their way to the top two spots on the podium, while Toby had a bit of a hard time in the final. He got a little beaten up and lost some time, but he was fast all weekend and deserved to join his team mates on the podium.
It was a busy weekend for us, running the track and the team but we’re pleased with how it all went! We’d also like to say a well done to some of our junior riders.
Fergus Bluff managed a 2nd place finish in the Youth Senior class on his Kawasaki KXF250 and also to Thomas Hunt & Dan Mason who finished 2nd & 3rd respectively in the Youth Inters class on their Kawasaki KX85’s.”
Gerard Bailo #17: “I felt good from the start of practice. I was quickest in qualifying and won two of the three heats to get the first choice of grid position. The first start of the Main was red-flagged but on the second start I got stuck in third or fourth and it took a few laps to get by and to catch Ferran, but, once there, I was stuck looking for an opportunity to pass until, half way through the penultimate lap, he made a small mistake and I was able to get past on the inside. There was only one lap left and I hung on to take the win. I am very happy with my second consecutive victory and at having increased my overall points lead. Thanks to Greenfield, Noyes Camp and Català for the support. I hope to continue like this.”
Ferran Sastre #215: “I started from the second place on the grid and was leading but they brought out a red flag. I got the same jump on the restart and led most of the race but on the penultimate lap in the hard-braking area of the TT circuit I hit a bump, got crossed up and ran a little wide … just enough for Gerard to get by and there was only a lap left. I am unhappy because a small mistake at a bad time cost me a chance to win. I was close to Gerard on the last lap but a couldn’t get a wheel in. Above all, thanks to the team for all the help and especially to George for the work done in preparing the track after the rains. This race has made me realize that the small details matter a lot. In the next race I hope avoid mistakes and nail it for a win.”
Toby Hales #1: “Because Saturday evening got called off due to rain, we had to race on Sunday with all the other classes so we just did three heat races and a final in one evening! In the first heat Bailo and I had a close call and I nearly fell off but managed to stay in second for the rest of the heat! And then in the second heat I was winning until the last corner when I went a little bit wide and Bailo just managed to get past, but I led the third heat from start to finish in front of Ferran. In the main had third grid pick and didn’t get a great start and was 4th out the first corner but just got past Gary Birtwistle then it got red flagged because someone fell off, so In the restart I was in 4th again and then Gary got past me. When I finally passed him I was catching Richard Mason, but by the time I caught up the race had finished! So, I got fourth.”