Holmes back on top after Pontrilas clash
Following a surprise defeat for the pair at round one of the Cromwell Trucks British Championship normal service was resumed at round two at Pontrilas on Sunday when reigning champion Paul Holmes took overall victory ahead of his bitter rival, Mark McLernon.
Holmes improved as the day went on around the fast hillside track going 3-2-1 to just edge out McLernon by two points after the Ulsterman went into the final race leading overall only a fourth place finish to scupper his chance of overall victory.
However, despite yet another “intense” battle between the two big stars, it was Dafydd Davies who had most people talking at the end of day after the Welsh teenager secured third overall and notched up his first ever British Championship win in race one.
But, it was a day to forget for Ireland’s Leon Rogers, who won the opening round of the series in fine style last month in the Desertmartin sand, when he slipped to a lowly 12th overall on the Pontrilas hard pack, to fall back to third in the series.
Another youngster to get tongues wagging was Scotland’s Murray Graham who set a blistering pace in qualifying (which he was to back up with fastest laps in the first and seconds races). The youngster was over a second faster than the field!
In race one he showed the qualifying lap was no fluke leading until lap nine when Davies, who had led briefly off the start, retook the lead and held it to the flag.
However, it was not Graham who followed Davies over the line. Graham was eventually snaffled up by a Holmes/McLernon battle and just held on to fourth ahead of a fast charging Harry Walker.
Davies eventually won by three and half seconds and in turn became the second youngest rider ever to win a British Championship race, (with Walker still holding that honour by a few months after his heat win at Dean Moor in 2017).
In race two Graham looked even more likely to take his debut win after grabbing the holeshot and opening up a six second lead. But with three laps to go disaster struck when one of his grips loosened and he crashed into a fence at the top of the track!
That promoted Davies to the lead, but he was soon demoted by a ferocious battle between Holmes and McLernon, which eventually saw McLernon win by 0.7s at the flag.
In the final race Holmes needed to win and McLernon and Davies had to finish outside the top three for him to take the overall - and that’s exactly what happened.
Wildcard George Day – making his first appearance in the series this year - got the holeshot closely followed by his younger brother Tom (another Wildcard), plus Holmes and McLernon.
However, once Holmes got to the front he controlled proceedings to eventually win by two and half seconds from Day senior with Day junior third.
In the Willcock Holeformers Under 21 category Walker, who suffered a day marred by bad starts, actually slightly increased his championship lead over Graham despite the pair finishing fourth and fifth respectively!
However, victory on the day went to the impressive Davies, who now sits just 11 points behind the series leader. Tom Day was second overall, with Belgian Wildcard, Davino Bruneel, third.
Overall: 1 Paul Holmes (Yamaha) 67 points, 2 Mark McLernon (Yamaha) 65, 3 Dafydd Davies (KTM) 59, 4 George Day (Suzuki) 54, 5 Tom Day (Suzuki) 47, 6 George Callaway (Yamaha) 36.
Race one: 1 Davies, 2 McLernon, 3 Holmes, 4 Murray Graham (Honda), 5 Harry Walker (Yamaha), 6 Callaway.
Race two: 1 McLernon, 2 Holmes, 3 Davies, 4 George Day, 5 Tom Day, 6 Carl Bunce (Suzuki).
Race three: 1 Holmes, 2 George Day, 3 Tom Day, 4 McLernon, 5 Callaway, 6 Davino Bruneel (Yamaha).
Under 21 Overall: 1 Davies, 2 Tom Day, 3 Bruneel, 4 Walker, 5 Graham, 6 Dean Dillon (Honda).
Championship points: Holmes 132, McLernon 125, Rogers 95, Walker 91, Davies 71, Reid 68.
Under 21 Championship points: Walker 128, Graham 118, Davies 117, Sinclair 101, Dillon 95, Bevan 85
Round 3 of the Cromwell trucks championship will unfold alongside British Sidecars @ Foxhills Swindon 1st July where the crowds normally come out in force to watch at the ex-gp Track with teriffic viewing......