The opening round of the 2014 ACU GT Cup series was greeted with the best weather of the year, leaving the Mildenhall track primed to perfection. And with the addition of a packed paddock there were smiles all around.
The ACU introduced a new British Clubman Open championship this year and the first round win following a points tie went to Rob Wood. The result settled in Wood’s favour in a last race clincher as both he and veteran Greg Hanson totalled with two heat wins apiece. In a tight finish Luke Spence with three second-place returns as best claimed a more than solid third overall.
Spreading the glory around in the MX2 Under 23s Alfie Smith made off with the win in heats one and four together with the overall victory. Scott Elderfield and Carlton Husband made it first across the line second and third time out. In a section where the start was crucial Smith’s showing in race four coming from the back to win whilst passing both Elderfield and Husband was arguably his best ride of the weekend.
Elsewhere in the section good shows came from wildcard Liam Garland as he led race one to half distance and also a storming two day performance from third overall man Ashley Smith.
In the two-stroke 125cc races the much expected battle of experience against youth materialised as reigning champion Jim Davies and young gun Henry Williams finished in first and second respectively.
Davies won the opening gambit as Williams following a poor start sliced his way through to eventually finish in fifth. Williams won heats two and three with the race four victory going to Fraser Curtis.
TM mounted Davies took the overall plaudits going 1-2-2-2. Curtis made third overall as three more young guns in the shape of Josh Coleman, Rob Yates and Michael Ellis rounded out the top six.
Following a first race demolition job Henry Siddiqui emerged as a strong favourite in the Rookie MXY2 section. On day two Siddiqui added another win and a second but with his machine failing him totally in heat two, seventh overall was the best he could muster.
Kyle Lane and Tony Saunders scooped the victory in the other two heats and ultimately they made one and two respectively on the podium steps – both guys proving ultra strong with Kyle winning it, going 2-2-3-1. Connor Dennis with a best of third in heat two was the happy bunny in third overall.
With a supercharged little show the opening heat of the B/W 85s went the way of Todd Richie. There after however Dexter Douglas took the section by the scruff of the neck, DD winning overall with his 2-1-1-1 return.
Douglas was a classy fast act as Richie kept it all together for a gutsy second overall finish. Making third overall Ethan Winchester upped his game on day two as he chased Douglas home twice, albeit some 24-seconds behind each time.
Taylor Hampshire came to the line in the S/W 85s with a fair deal of confidence surrounding him. And following four resounding heat wins he proved it was no way misplaced as on this showing he will take some beating.
Callum Mitchell and Josh Peters ran Hampshire the closest, but taking second overall it was section newbie Reece Martin as he stayed impressive and consistent going 2-4-4-5. After scoring two Sunday thirds as tops, Drew Anderson claimed section bronze.
As section favourites go reining Junior 65 champion Eddie Jay Wade is a red hot pick. At the opening round it was four clear cut wins for him with the hype fully underlined and endorsed. The battle for the runners’ spot was almost as clear cut with Jack Grayshon running in all the second place returns. Taking the third step on the podium was Olly Bertie Davidson as he beat off Louie Kessell.
In the Auto section the heat wins went the way of Billy Moriarty, Charlie Reynolds, and then twice in Sunday action for Jude Turton. Moriarty put himself out on contention with a day two injury and a relatively poor day one for Turton left him in third overall.
Bayliss Utting rode the wheels off it with a final race second in his efforts for overall winning glory, but ultimately he came up one point short. The opening round winner was Reynolds with his card showing 4-1-2-6.
The 2014 ACU GT Cup moves next to Wilden Lane on March 29/30.
2014 ACU GT Cup schedule calendar dates