It’s certainly still all to play for in the race for the 2011 AMCA Superclass crown following the opening round of the series staged at Enstone, Oxfordshire on Sunday. Lee Dunham, Richard Cannings and Clinton Barrs all bagged a moto win each to leave the title race wide open and guarantee a thrilling, nailbiting final meeting on April 17th. After three hotly contested races,Dunham and Cannings had finished level on 164 points apiece with the overall victory going to the latter, courtesy of his higher final moto placing whilst the last podium place went to Barrs. Also producing strong performances at Enstone were Jack Taylor, James Lane, Shane Holmes, Sean Frayne and Paul Neale. Although eventually finishing in 13th spot, Neale’s final placing in round one would definitely have been much higher but for an unfortunate moment in the opening moto of the day when his fuel pipe came adrift.
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With defending Superclass Champion Ben Saunders a surprise non-starter, it meant that there would definitely be a new Superclass king for 2011,and it was to be Dunham on his Maxxis Henderson LPE Kawasaki who was to make a lightning holeshot in moto one and thus lead the pack away, followed by Taylor, Neale,Cannings, Rich Meakin, Barrs and J Lane. As Dunham smoothly controlled proceedings from gate to flag to thus take the first Championship win of the new season ahead of Taylor,there was plenty of excitement going on behind the front two. First Neale went out with that afore mentioned fuel pipe problem whilst Barrs after initially gating well downfield recovered to dramatically reel in Cannings in the battle for 3rd. In a super final lap,the rapid Barrs then produced a daring mid-air pass on the Yorkshireman only for Cannings to cleverly then return the compliment and that’s the way it stayed.
Dunham again grabbed the holeshot in moto two,but in a frantic opening couple of laps, Cannings blasted his way through to then take control.In a super contest, Cannings and Dunham, lapping at an incredible pace,locked horns in the battle for leadership only to then also be joined at the front by a very determined Barrs. The super three way tussle for supremacy though was not the only excitement on offer as Neale, J Lane,Taylor and Frayne hotly disputed 4th. On completion of a breathtaking contest, just a very narrow two seconds separated winner Cannings aboard the PJ1/Craigs Motorcycles 450F Honda, Dunham and Barrs with Taylor moving through to earn 4th ahead of Lane, Holmes and Frayne. Moto two proved to be a particularly painful encounter for Carl Benjamin when running over his own leg.
So in a tense final clash who would take the honours? Well it was to be that man Barrs on the Delkevic Kawasaki who was fastest away on this occasion followed by the very gallant Neale on his 250F Racespec Kawasaki with Cannings in 3rd, Lane 4th, Holmes 5th and Dunham 6th. Whilst Barrs stylishly stretched his advantage at the front, Neale dug deep for several laps until eventually being passed by first Cannings then Dunham. However Paul was still to take a super 4th spot behind deserved winner Barrs, Cannings and Dunham but ahead of another tight battle featuring Holmes, Lane, Frayne and Taylor who had initially gated in 11th.
Words and Images by Mike Wood