Strafford extends lead at top of Classic championship

Ryan Strafford has opened up a 78-point lead in the GP1 Classic Superbikes Championships following two race wins and a second place at Mallory Park. Picture: Kerry Rawson Photography.
Ryan Strafford has opened up a 78-point lead in the GP1 Classic Superbikes Championships following two race wins and a second place at Mallory Park. Picture: Kerry Rawson Photography.

Ryan Strafford had a bitter sweet meeting in round four of the GP1 Classic Superbikes Championships at Mallory Park, winning both races on Saturday but losing out in Sunday’s races.

Things did not start well for Thundersport GB rider Stafford when his gear quick shifter failed during the second lap of testing.

Although they lost two further sessions of testing, a new part was ordered, arrived and was fitted in time for qualifying on Saturday. 

Mirfield rider Strafford recorded the fourth fastest time around the short Mallory Park circuit, with 0.4 seconds covering the top four riders. 

The circuit was perfect for race one on Saturday and the track temperature was over 35 oC.

Strafford shot off the grid and was up to second after the first lap and by end of lap two he was leading by 0.1 second from local rider George Pyecroft.

Strafford maintained his slender lead throughout and won by the tightest of margins of 0.009s from Pyecroft. 

Strafford and Pyecroft also battled it out in the second race on Saturday and the Mirfield rider won by 1.7s to stretch his championship lead by 18 points over the two races. 

Having recorded the fastest lap during Saturday’s racing, Strafford started Sunday’s two races on pole position. 

Again it was Strafford and Pyecroft who pulled away from the field in the first race.

Strafford led Pyecroft for nine of the 10 laps but Pyecroft made a move with half a lap remaining and held on to win by one second.

Lap one of the second race saw Strafford slip streaming Pyecroft down the start finish straight when Pyecroft’s throttle cable snapped.

With Strafford only two bike lengths behind he had no chance of avoiding the quickly slowing machine and smashed into the rear of Pyecroft’s bike which resulted in the two bikes locking together.

Strafford was thrown from his machine and slid for over 100 metres, with the chasing pack doing a fantastic job of avoiding him.

Strafford received treatment at the side of the circuit as the race was red flagged.

After five minutes, Strafford stood up and walked to the ambulance.

After assessment in the medical centre his only injury was a broken little finger in his left hand.

The bike was dragged all the way to a stop a further 50 metres down the track attached to Pyecroft’s bike. 

Despite the crash Strafford had a great set of results with two race wins and a second place, which has been him increase his lead in the championship to 78 points.

Strafford is now concentrating on getting back to full fitness for Donington Park in July.

Strafford said “Saturday was a great day’s racing the pace was very fast and I was pleased with how the bike performed.

“Sunday wasn’t the way I wanted to end a great weekend. I felt strong in the opening lap and I wanted the win but I am really grateful to the track side medics who did a great job.”