Indian Motorcycles DTRA Nationals Round 6, Redcar - Race Report and Results
The penultimate round of our 2019 Indian Motorcycles Nationals championship took us back to Redcar Bears Speedway in Middlesbrough on the 17th and 18th August, a favourite track among our riders that once again played host to some really exciting racing and close battles.
The results of our Pro race also confirmed Spanish rider Gerard Bailo as the deserving Nationals champion, and the first Spaniard to take a UK title; even with one round still to go, his 98-point lead comfortably places him in first place and now our focus turns to the battle for the second and third spots.
Watch this awesome video of the weekend, created by Tom Bing, which perfectly captures the action and most memorable moments:
Our commentator for the weekend, Alex Raby has also put together this great race report for us. Read on for all of the highlights from our Pro, Inter and Thunderbikes classes on Saturday, and the current championship standings as we prepare for the final round of the year at Greenfield Dirt Track.
PRO - Ferran Sastre claims his first win but cannot deny title rival Gerard Bailo the 2019 crown
Gerard Bailo was proclaimed the 2019 Indian Motorcycle DTRA UK Flat Track Nationals champion in Middlesbrough on Saturday night, becoming the first title-holder from outside of Britain since Italian Marco Belli scooped the prize in 2008. Second place for the reigning world number two at the Media Prima Arena means he cannot be caught at the final round in September, although on this occasion he had to play second fiddle to fellow countryman Ferran Sastre.
Sastre, fastest in qualifying, won heat one at a canter and - after a narrow defeat in the first semi final - extracted his revenge when it mattered in the fifteen-lap final, getting the better of Gerard Bailo by a one-and-a-half second margin. Bailo had made the faster start, pursued around the outside line early on by King’s Lynn winner Gary Birtwistle, but by the end of the second lap Sastre had left the Brit behind him, and two laps later he performed a near-identical pass on the exit of the pits bend to hit the front.
Birtwistle meanwhile, second in the points arriving in the North East, lost two positions in the space of two bends and slipped out of podium contention after dropping behind Toby Hales at the start of lap four. From there the number 11 had his hands full with small track specialist Rob Mear, who put in his best performance of the season so far on the 271 metre speedway oval but had to be content with fifth.
With his overtake on Birtwistle, meanwhile, Hales provided the only British representation on the podium whilst continuing his strong recovery in the second half of this season. The youngster from Lincolnshire was second-fastest in qualifying, won heat two and the second semi final with some comfort, but when he met the Spaniards for the first time in the final he missed the start and left himself with too much work to do.
On the back of her Eastbourne Hooligan success Leah Tokelove put in her best result of the UK Nationals campaign, her seventh place secured the hard way after a sixth place finish in the semi finals had forced her to battle through via the Last Chance Qualifier, which she won ahead of Conrad Little. In the final, Tokelove put in a combative ride and recovered from the third row, only to find her route blocked by a defensive-riding Maikel Dijkstra, the Dutchman unable to replicate his Amman Valley exploits and seeing his pursuit of a place on 2019’s Championship podium come to an end.
With the title race itself settled in Redcar, attention now turns to the fight for second and third overall with three riders in the mix. Ferran Sastre and Gary Birtwistle now have a win each and are separated by just five points, while the dropped round rule will favour Toby Hales who fell from the lead at the season opener.
Gerard Bailo can head to Greenfield in September the most relaxed of them all, having earned his place in the record books as the first Spaniard to claim Championship honours in the UK. But his 2019 victory, which provides the DTRA with a third different title-holder in as many years, proves the depth and unpredictability of the fast-growing Flat Track Nationals.
RD6 REDCAR RESULTS:
Ferran Sastre 3:50.976s
Gerard Bailo +1.412
Toby Hales +3.466
Gary Birtwistle +5.958
Rob Mear +6.658,
Maikel Dijkstra +10.461
Gerard Bailo 98
Ferran Sastre 88
Gary Birtwistle 83
Toby Hales 78
Maikel Dijkstra 62
Rob Mear 52
INTERS - Jamie Robertson reversed the order of the top two in Middlesbrough’s Intermediate final
Jamie Robertson made it back-to-back podium finishes in the Intermediate class of the DTRA UK Flat Track Nationals and this time the top step beckoned. The 33-year-old made his first pro final with a stunning semi final appearance, then topped his own class final by almost two seconds. But having sat out the opening two rounds Robertson, as the fourth different winner in five rounds, can only watch on with only two remaining contenders for the crown.
Conrad Little’s runner-up ranking in Redcar means he has beaten series leader Simon Parkin in three consecutive meetings. But consistency has been the key for Simon Parkin whose two early-season victories and now another pair of podiums leave him seven points up with one round remaining.
THUNDERBIKES - Back-to-back Thunderbike wins for Maikel Dijkstra, but Tom Clemans took a crucial step towards the title with second place
The 2019 Sportax Thunderbike Championship is now a two-horse race after contenders Tom Clemans and Dan Ridge shared the podium with Dutchman Maikel Dijkstra for the second time. Dijkstra had been beaten by both in heat two but pulled well clear from the front in the final, leaving Ridge and Clemans to settle among themselves who would lead the series heading to the decider at Greenfield.
The number 42 claimed second at Redcar, his fourth podium in five rounds, and with the dropped round rule taken into consideration he is the net series leader despite Ridge, who claimed third, leading the totals by a four-point margin.
Many thanks for putting this report together for us Alex, and of course thanks to all of our riders and spectators who made the journey to Middlesbrough - and congratulations to our new Nationals champion, Gerard Bailo. We’re also grateful to the team at Redcar Bears Speedway who generously accommodated us once again and ensured that the weekend ran smoothly and safely.
You can view all of the results from the Round 6 weekend, and the current standings in all of our classes over on Speedhive.
Now we begin preparations to bring our racing season to a close at Greenfield Dirt Track on September 21st and 22nd. This weekend incorporates Round 7 of our Nationals championship, Round 5 of our Hooligan championship and Round 3 of our Euros championship, which will make for an epic two days of racing and the perfect high note on which to end our year.
Entries are now open for all classes - so get signed up and ready, and we’ll see you at the races.