Donington BSB: Belford doubles up at BTC finale

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Picture: BTC

City Lifting by RS Racing’s Evan Belford completed a double victory at Donington Park as 2022 Honda British Talent Cup came to a close.

With 2022 Champion Johnny Garness out of action after a qualifying crash, the penultimate race was thrown wide open on Saturday. Starting from pole position Belford was hoping to sign off the season in style, a feat he completed after triumphing in a last lap battle.

Taking the holeshot, Belford was soon picked off by Rocket Racing’s Rhys Stephenson who had a half a second lead by the halfway point in the lap. Carter Brown (MLav VisionTrack Academy) sat third, whilst Lucas Brown (SP125/Amphibian Scaffolding) and Harley McCabe (MLav Vision Track Academy) rounded out the top five.

With a new lap record set by Belford on lap eight, it was matched by Stephenson next time around, the drama continuing as the two collided going through turn six three laps later, leaving Stephenson in the dirt. Rider okay but his bid for third place overall had been hurt. That promoted McCabe into third on track.



A lap later, Brown got ahead of Belford at turn 11, with the number 52 striking back at the start of lap 14. Onto the final revolution, Belford again came under attack at the Melbourne Loop from the number 74, but Brown ran wide, allowing Belford to get the cut-back and take a second victory of the season. Brown was second ahead of McCabe, whilst Lucas Brown was fourth ahead of Crosby in fifth, Filip Surowiak (MJL Racing), James Cook (ThorneyCroft56 Racing), Sullivan Mounsey (Wilson Racing/J&S Accessories), Dessoy and Daniel Goodman (MLav VisionTrack Academy) completing the top ten.

The final race of 2022 brought to a close a record-breaking season, with another thrilling race. With good weather at Donington Park, the 15-lap duel saw Stephenson go from pole position, Belford keen for a double, whilst their rivals were just as eager to finish their season in style. A red flag on lap 13 brought the season to an early end but it was once again victory for Belford.

Grabbing the holeshot, it was McCabe who took the lead but by the end of the first lap, Belford was back up front. It was a bright start for Mounsey, whilst Stephenson, Brown and McCabe completed the top five. On lap two at the Melbourne Loop, Stephenson momentarily hit the front, but Belford bit back at turn 12. At the start of lap three, the two were side by side, with Lincolnshire rider Stephenson coming out on top. Into the top five by the end of the third lap, Lucas Brown set the fastest lap of the race. At the end of lap four, the safety car was deployed after a crash for Goodman at the Craner Curves; he was stretchered away but conscious.

With the race resuming two laps later; Belford led the way ahead of Stephenson and Carter Brown, whilst Mounsey and Lucas Brown followed. Crucially, in the battle for third overall in the standings, Harrison Crosby (Banks Racing) was only seventh and needed to get higher up with Stephenson being his main rival. On lap eight, there was a constant swapping and changing for the lead with Lucas Brown being the latest to hit the front before Mounsey took over, both looking for a first win in the class. On multiple occasions, there were five abreast into the braking zone, but it remained clean and tidy. At the end of lap 10, Luca Hopkins (SP125/Barnsdale Leisure) crashed but was okay.

In the closing stages, Stephenson set a new lap record and on lap 12, he made his move at the Foggy Esses to hit the front, before once again, Belford struck back. Carter Brown was then into second at the final corner, with Mounsey into fourth and the front four trying to break away. However, on lap 13, there was a crash at Craner Curves for Troy Jeffrey (ThorneyCroft56 Racing) and that brought out the red flag, which meant an early end to the race; Jeffrey was conscious and on the stretcher with an ankle injury.

With Belford in the lead, he took the double ahead of Carter Brown and Rhys Stephenson. Mounsey took fourth ahead of Lucas Brown, McCabe, Crosby – who took third overall in the standings – and Surowiak. Cook and Kiyano Veijer (Microlise Cresswell Racing) completed the top ten.

With it being the final race of the 2022 season and with Garness already taking the title, he finished 104 points clear of Carter Brown who was second ahead of Crosby, Stephenson and Lucas Brown.

Picture: BTC
Picture: BTC