With two rounds cancelled and a number of the big players opting to give the final round of the Future West SX series a swerve, Saturday night’s swansong in the LG Arena in Birmingham could have ended up being a seriously anti-climatic climax. Instead, thanks to some great racing and two seriously exciting pro finals, it played out in fine style.
Steven’s Evo-Tech Honda’s Neville Bradshaw goes into the event tied on points in the Pro Lites division with super-fast Frenchman Nico Aubin and the South African’s also just three points shy of the Open class leader Tom Church meaning he could come away as a double champ.
What initially appears to be a great start for Bradshaw goes pear-shaped as Ashley Greedy runs him way wide into the opening turn but Nev regroups, hits back and starts stringing some passes together.
After working his way by Aubin the Nevster’s looking good for the title but on the final lap hits second-placed Jack Brunell’s rear wheel which allows the Buildbase Honda-mounted Frenchman to close. With victory going to Adam Chatfield from Brunell, Bradshaw hangs on for third and the crown.
“It was quite a sketchy race – I got a real good start and then everyone ran wide and I went off the track and was stressing quite bad,” admits Neville. “I jumped the triple on the first lap and landed on someone’s back wheel but stayed on and managed to make some passes. Then I got on the back of Aubin, made a quick pass on him and pulled away and caught the leaders. Brunell missed a gear on the last lap and I ran into the back of him and almost fell over and then Aubin managed to get back up to me and tried to go underneath in a turn and I just kept it on.”
The Open final sees defending champ TC nail a gate-to-flag win to make sure of the title in what could well prove to be his last professional race before he takes up cider drinking and pie eating and gets fat.
Tom’s main challenge in the early stages comes from Gordon Crockard before the Irishman hits the eject button when he cases the big triple and despite getting closed down in the final laps TC keeps a cool head.
“I reckoned the guys would be kinda preoccupied after the Lites final so I knew my chance would come from the start and I nailed that bit and went for it. I got my head down and built up a really big lead – then I looked back, thought ‘Jeez I’ve got this’ and then it all nearly went wrong. How I stayed on I don’t know. Then I was blowing a bit and they caught me. I don’t even know who was second in the race – I was just happy to see that chequered flag come out.”
For a full report and lots more of Sutty’s sexy, shiny snapshots don’t miss the April issue of DBR on sale March 9…