The final round of the 2019 British Masters Championship took place this past weekend at the spectacular Cusses Gorse circuit near Salisbury, Wiltshire. The track was in fine fettle and the weather was good all weekend, a little breezy at times along with a small shower on Saturday, but for the most, a warm and comfortable temperature.
It was a nail-biting finale with the top three in the 125cc standings covered only by a handful of points as we headed into the last 4 races of the season. After taking Pole on Saturday, Troy Willerton was the man with the pressure on in this win or lose scenario, leading the championship by the smallest of margins from his nearest 2 rivals.
An incredible start and a hard charge early-doors saw Troy lead race 1, battling hard for the duration where a couple of small mistakes in the latter stages cost him and knocked him back to 3rd place.
Race two was a fight for all, on the now rutted, choppy and ‘one-line’ track surface, a challenge that caught out more than its fair share with limited line choice and little option to ‘gain’. Another solid start put Troy with his competitors from the first turn, however, the race turned into a processional affair as riders seemed to be battling against the conditions over the competition. Large gaps eventually formed and the race to settle into a rhythm with the top 3 once again leaving the pack but also putting distance between themselves, another 3rd place was all that could be achieved.
Race 3 was an epic affair with Troy battling for the win until the chequered flag taking a well-earned 2nd place only a couple of bike lengths in arrears, it could not have been closer or harder fought and certainly upped the stakes with the whole championship now coming down to the last race result, it was that close once again.
The final race of the season unfortunately turned into another ‘race 2’ type of affair, solid starts and hard charging by the top 3 riders in the standings saw some battles early doors, but as the top three distanced themselves from the pack, they also settled and began putting distance between themselves on the now more challenging track surface where one ‘good’ line had formed once again. From this point, the finishing order was plain to see – bar any mistakes – with a good few laps remaining. A great effort from Troy to maintain pace whilst the pressure of the occasion also took its toll alongside the niggling shoulder injury that has plagued him for months, looking a little ‘stiff’ on the bike he continued to push as best he could in a state of tension and frustration, to end in 3rd place.
With the final race now completed and the points tallied, it was once again a marginal affair at the top of the standings with Troy ending 3rd overall on the day to finish 3rd overall in the championship.
Also joining us for this last round as a wildcard was Archie Hicks. Archie joined Troy in the 125cc class and had a great weekend on his TM once again. Beginning to settle and return to form after his long spell out, some quality race time and some valuable set-up time is paying dividends, allowing Archie to show great progression after only a couple of meetings. After taking 14th in qualifying on the ‘claggy’ surface, great starts put Archie into the mix in every race and set him up well for some solid results as his fitness returns. Working hard, Archie ended his weekend with a 9 / 10 / 15 / 8 scorecard for a well-deserved 7th overall, with a puncture in race 3 sadly being a small blight on the results.
A big ‘well done’ to all the riders and congratulations to the podium finishers on the day and for the series, some great racing all season and credit to all of you, well done boys. Well done also to all the ‘helpers’, the Mum, Dads, family members and the supporters. And finally, a big thank you to all of the team sponsors. Thank you, TM UK.