OULTON Park proved a happy hunting ground for two Huddersfield racers.
Both Jonathan Lodge and Joe Irving claimed eighth place finishes in their respective categories.
For Holmfirth’s Irving, who will be 15 next month, it was a very promising result as his debut season in the SUNOCO British 125GP Championship unfolds.
Having started his campaign with 15th place at Brands Hatch, and his move up the field to eighth – the Oulton Park race being won by the Rob Guiver – will be a big boost.
For Jonathan Lodge the outcome in the Metzeler National Superstock 600 Championship was a little frustrating – despite an improvement on his ninth place finish at Brands.
However, Jonathan was nowhere near as disappointed as brother James riding in the same class.
“In free practice we both did really well. I was fourth fastest and Jonathan was fifth – unfortunately at the end of the session I had a stupid crash on an in-lap and it turned out that it ruined the whole weekend for me,” said James.
“In the first qualifying session I ended up only finishing half a lap as the crash cracked an engine casing and it was spraying oil out, but Jonathan’s session was good as he ended up sixth fastest.
“In the second session I was struggling and I ended up qualifying 41st with a time two seconds slower than I went in practice, so I was in the shoot-out race.”
Jonathan had another successful session being sixth fastest again, but he took seventh overall in combined qualifying.
In the shoot-out race James was 11th on the grid but produced a great performance to come home first and ensure 31st place on the grid for the main race.
James had a strong first lap and moved up to 20th after a couple of laps, but the start of the third lap brought disaster.
“I tried to go round the outside of the rider in front of me which wasn’t the right move,” admitted James. “As I was on the outside of him when he straightened up he caught my tyre and I went down, so I was left in the gravel.”
Jonathan didn’t get a good start and was swallowed up in the pack going into the first corner, but he plugged away and on the last lap he out-braked a rider to ensure his eighth place by the finish.
The Lodges will be looking for better luck in the next meeting at Croft over the weekend of May 13-14, as will Netherton’s Josh Caygill.
He did not finish in the first round of the Fuchs-Silkolene British Supersport Championship at Brands and had mixed fortunes again in Cheshire. In his first race he managed to reach the finishing line in 26th place, but crashed in his second outing at Hizzy’s chicane.
“I was running around the mid-20s in the race and I was moving through the pack until I crashed at Hizzy’s,” said Caygill.