Results roundup for Fife & Kinross Riders
The dust has settled on the opening round of the 2018 Scottish and KMSC racing season at Knockhill, and we take a look back at the highs & lows for the local riders from Kinross and Fife across both days racing from all the classes.
Superbikes & Clubman
The 1000cc class is always the main event for the weekend, featuring the top riders on the most powerful bikes. With five 10 lap races across the weekend, two counting towards the Scottish Championship races and three to the Knockhill Motor Sports Club (KMSC) title, there's plenty of hard, fast, close action.
The best performance of the weekend has to go to Hawick rider John Dean, who missed the whole of the 2017 season due to illness. Dean was a big miss in the paddock, but he's back for 2018 on his bright orange BMW S1000RR, and he made up for lost time by winning all five superbike races. It's only the opening round, but on this form, John will take some stopping, and it looks like he's already established himself as the man to beat for both the Scottish and the KMSC crowns.
The 2017 champion was Bruce Birnie, and the Montrose rider has the honour of carrying the Number 1 plate on the front of his BMW. But is was a tough start to the weekend for the reigning champ, who was squeezed out into 5th spot in Saturday's Scottish Championship race. He fared a little better in the Sunday race, managing second place to get this title defence off and running. In the KMSC races, Bruce scored 4th place on Saturday and two 2nd places on Sunday. But he did grab bragging rights by setting the fastest lap of the weekend, with time of 51.115 seconds.
Also making a welcome return to the paddock are the Gilfillan brothers from Crossgates. Both Sean and Greg had last year off, but the are back again for 2018, Sean on his Ducati Panigale and Greg with a BMW. Sean looked like he'd never been away and was quickly back up to speed, taking third place in both Scottish Championship races, as well as two 3rd's and a 4th in the KMSC. Greg took a bit longer to find his feet, and seemed to be struggling with the brakes on his BMW. In the first Championship race he took a detour through the gravel at Clark before retiring from the race. Race two was better, getting himself up to a decent 7th place. In the KMSC races, Greg finished 12th, 7th and 8th - not bad for his first races in a year, but there's definitely more to come from him.
John MacDonald from Kirkcaldy had a bad start to the weekend on his Yamaha R1, with a DNF in the first race of the day, but improved to 11th in his next outing. Sunday was better for John, with three solid top 10 finishes (8th, 6th & 7th). Kinghorn's Clint Walker also had an up & down weekend, only managing to start one race on Saturday scoring a disappointing 27th place, but again improving on Sunday with 20th, 16th and 15th place finishes on the BMW. Kelty rider Gavin Jones had a steady start to the season on the Yamaha, finishing all his races, with two 14th and three 15th places.
Full Superbike Gallery HERE
Now in it's second season, the F600 is proving to be a popular class, with no less than 30 bikes lining up for the first round. Like the Superbikes, there are two Scottish Championship races and three KMSC races, each lasting 10 laps.
The main draw in the F600 class was superstar in the making Rory Skinner. The 16 year old from Perth is one of the hottest properties in the sport, having spent the last two seasons in the prestigious Spanish CEV Championship and now back riding in the UK as the featured rider in the British Talent Cup. Making a guest appearance at his home track on a Kawasaki ZX6R, he showed his class with a cracking win in the first Championship race after a tight battle with Crieff's Willie Monie, the two being separated by just over half a second. All the more impressive given that it was Skinner's first race on a "big bike".
Suzuki rider Willie got his revenge on Sunday, taking the win and beating Rory into 3rd with Bruce Birnie splitting the two on his Kawasaki. In the KMSC races, Rory managed another two wins and a 2nd spot to round off an impressive weekend for the teenager. Monie took two the 2nd places and the 1st, meaning that between them, they won all the races over the weekend.
Further down the field, Jon Dickie from Ladybank can be satisfied with his start to the year, finishing all five races with two 8th places, 10th, 11th and 12th on his Yamaha R6. Cowdenbeath racer Jim Purvis also finished all his races with a respectable 18th, three 19th's and a 20th place. Things were a bit more difficult for Steven Haddow from Kennoway, who only managed three finishes, although they were all in the top 10 (8th, 10th & 10th). Mark Farrell from Lochgelly also had a tough weekend, only managing two finishes in 19th and 20th place.
Full F600 Gallery HERE
It was a great start to the year for Crossgates teenager James McLaren, taking his Kawasaki ZX400 to 1st place in the first race of the season. He should have made it a Saturday double, but he overdid it in race two and crashed out of the lead with only two laps to go. He put that setback behind him though, going even quicker on Sunday. But Mark Bowram from Dumfries also found a bit more pace and James had to settle for three 2nd place finishes. On the same grid, in the smaller 125cc class, Ross Maguire did a clean sweep of wins, while Dunfermline's Declan Connell took five 2nd's out of five, with Logan Turner from Cowdenbeath bagging three 3rd's & two 5th's.
In the Lightweights, it was a frustrating weekend for Cupar's Lewis Nicol, managing only one finish, a lowly 15th place, all weekend long. It was only a little better for Ryan Gibson, the Stirling rider managing 11th, 12th & 13th on his Suzuki SV650.
In the PI600 class, there were two wins for Ladybank's Jon Dickie on Saturday, but his Yamaha had mechanical problems on Sunday and he wasn't able to start any of the races. But there were 6th, 7th, 8th and 12th place finishes for Simon Hardy from Perth and Dunfermline man Neil Munro grabbed a 9th and an 11th.
Finally in the CB500 class, Alan McCleary from Kinross finished all four of his races, but was well down the field in 16th, 14th, 14th & 17th.
The next round of the Scottish Championship will be at East Fortune near Haddington, in two weeks time on 28 & 29 April, before the action returns to Knockhill on 26 & 27 May.
Other Classes Gallery HERE