RELIEF as much as celebration was the reaction of James Lodge’s team as he claimed the British Superbikes 125cc crown.
The 20-year-old Brockholes racer needed a top eight finish to secure the Relentless British 125cc title at Oulton Park – he managed to muster seventh to top the rankings with 182 points.
The gap of 12 points from closest rival Rob Guiver, from Rainham, suggested an easy ride for the Manchester University student, but his uncle and team sponsor Martyn Lodge, of Huddersfield’s Earnshaw’s Motorcycles, said it had been anything but plain sailing on the Cheshire track.
“In the end is was more a relief than a celebration,” said Martyn.
“The weekend was not without problems and the bike was not running well right through.
“We knew that seventh would be enough, but in many ways Sunday’s race was just about finishing.
“If anything it was harder work than being in the position of going out and winning, because we knew that we had everything to lose if it didn’t go right.
“But in the end we finished up getting to the party.”
With Brian Clark relegating Guiver to second place at Oulton the job was perhaps easier than expected for James, who had seen the back end of the campaign become a battle after problems at Cadwell Park and Croft, before a third place finish at Silverstone set up the final push to the title.
He will now be looking at his options with Martyn revealing that his success has already brought interest from works teams.
“There have been a couple of parties interested in signing him, but we have to set up meetings later this week to discuss exactly what his next route will be.
“We will still be looking to compete as a team in the 125cc, but that is really the default position, and we will have a couple of meetings to work out which way we want to go.”
Final championship standings: 1. James Lodge (KRP/Earnshaws Motorcycles Honda) 182pts, 2. Rob Guiver (SP125/RGRacing Honda) 170, 3 Martin Glossop (KRP/BradleySmithRacing Honda/Seel) 155, 4. Brian Clark (Banks Racing/Xpress Racewear Honda) 138, 5. Paul Jordan (KRP/Bradley Smith Racing Honda) 104.
Oulton Park race results: 1. Brian Clark (Honda Banks Racing/Express Racewear), 2. Rob Guiver (Honda SP125/RG Racing, 3. Deane Brown (Honda Colin Appleyard/Macadam Racing), 4. Adam Blacklock (Honda Repli-Cast UK), 5. Danny Kent (Honda Team Aztec GP), 6. Connor Behan (Honda SP125/Express Forklifts), 7. James Lodge (Honda KRP/Earnshaws Motorcycles), 8. Paul Jordan (Honda KRP/Bradley Smith Racing), 9. Tom Hayward (Honda KRP/Daniel Weston Racing), 10. Ryan Saxelby (Honda RS Racing).