-- Island weather plays havoc at Hartwell Rnd 3 / Bad light stops play
Hartwell headed to Phillip Island for the third round of the 2012 competition. Staged in the first weekend in June, just a week after Phillip Island experienced flash flooding with turns one and three completely under deep water. Round three also incorporated the MRRDA and Formula 400 series, helping push entry numbers to 157 riders and 190 bikes.
Nathan Mawson was hoping to extend his lead in the Over 600 Expert championship after his lead was reduced at Mac Park in the last round. Mawson put himself in a good position by qualifying second on the grid behind Nathan Jones, who was racing in the championship for the first time this season.
Mawson managed to finish second in the opening bout, only 0.178s behind Nathan Jones on a dry track. Trotter, currently third in the championship, rounded out the podium.
Race two commenced in almost darkness on a damp track, catching most riders by surprise. Riders had little time to change to wets, only three riders thus prepared for the start. On the opening lap Mawson high-sided coming out of turn one and lost his lead in the championship to Trotter who finished in fourth place behind race winner Loomes. Tait and Burtt took the other steps on the rostrum.
After Mawson’s bike returned to the pits it was evident from even the most cursory glance that the bike would not be ridden again this event, such was the damage. A generous benefactor in the shape of Mark Henderson allowed Mawson to continue the event on his BMW S 1000 RR. Mawson took to the German machine quickly and added another 37 points to his tally in the final two bouts, positioning him only 14 points behind new championship leader David Trotter, who with 240pts leads Trotter and third ranked Nathan McKenzie (157pts).
The Over 600 Expert round belonged to Nathan Jones on a Kawasaki ZX-10R, finishing on 86pts, ahead of Trotter on 79pts and Mawson with 57pts.
Track conditions over the weekend tested many riders; on Saturday afternoon and Sunday it was mostly wet. Light conditions were so bad on Saturday afternoon that it prevented some events being run, those events subsequently shifted to Sunday morning.
One of the highlights of the weekend was the 600cc Novice Class. James Patrick extended his lead in the championship by winning all four races by margins of up to 20 seconds. Patrick is almost unbeatable in the championship with a lead of 100 points. Chris Watt has carded 195pts and Dixon in third has 192pts. Patrick will head to Broadford, one of his favourite tracks, for the last round in August.
Bruce Howie piloted his Yamaha R6 in the 600cc Non-Expert class to three wins from four races to extend his lead in the championship. On 265 pts, Howie leads Marateo on 226pts and Smith on 210pts. The 600cc Expert class saw Mark Harris take the lead in the championship, primarily due to the absence of Darren Trotter who has now dropped to 3rd place behind Nicolson.
A great showing of 22 riders contested the MRRDA Juniors round. Race two unfortunately saw a number of riders crash due to being caught out by the rapidly changing track conditions early in the race. Mitch Simpson won the Junior 150cc class and Tayla Street won the MRRDA Nippers class.
The Greg Bailey feature race of 20 minutes was a battle of the Jones boys, Tyson and Nathan on a damp track with some dry lines, the lead changed six times in the race. On the last lap with only three corners to go Nathan high-sided while leading out of MG, giving his brother Tyson the victory ahead of Nathan Mawson on the borrowed BMW and Tony Urwin in third place. Some riders decided to retire from the race to save their wet tyres for the final race of the day.
With a split grid format for the Formula 400 and Supermoto/Supermono class it was some of the closest racing of the weekend. Stephen Brocklesby took out the Formula 400 Stock class and David Capuano saluted in the Modified class. The Supermono class was won by Adam Nicolson from Bruce Hill whilst the Supermoto class was won by James Dyer.
Pre-Modern class attracted 26 competitors and saw Craig Malloy on his 1999 Yamaha R1 narrowly win the weekend by 2pts from Donny Biddle (88pts) and Jack Fox (69pts). Unplaced Wayne Nicolson still leads the championship by 13pts from his nearest rival.
Phillip Island attracted an improved field of nine sidecars and three different sidecars received the chequered flag over the weekend. The pair of Justin and Melissa Foot won the round and edged 5pts closer to championship leaders Rogers and Bell.
It was a difficult weekend for Race Control with many bikes crashing in the slippery conditions, this and the lack of daylight on Saturday caused the cancellation of the final race for all classes.
-- Round Three Results
125GP – Ryan RITCHIE
- Championship Leaders after Round Three
125GP – Ryan RITCHIE
Final Round is on 4th/5th August at Broadford.
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