A calm and bright day welcomed the leading KMSC and Scottish riders for the final raceday of the season at Knockhill at the weekend (Sunday 27th September). A long grueling season had seen competitors tackle 20 races in each Championship, with Knockhill and East Fortune the hosting venues.
The weekend’s festivities were backed up by a spectacular Rewind Festival, featuring iconic bikes from the 70s, 80s and 90s. The 64 machines lined the paddocks for the assembled crowds to enjoy, and some of the more adventurous owner’s even took them on track during two 15-minute track sessions, adding a touch of nostalgia to the whole event.
In the KMSC Superbike class, it all came down to the final race of the season, with Andrew Tasker having drawn level with Bruce Birnie at the top of the standings as they lined up for the final race of the season – in a winner-takes-all encounter. In a pulsating race that saw the championship ebb and flow between the two riders, eventually saw Birnie cross the line by just 0.51 seconds as Tasker tried in-vein to add a KMSC title to the Scottish title he claimed a few weeks ago. Race wins over the weekend however went to Sean Gilfillan – who claimed two wins on Saturday and, Keith Amor who helped himself to three wins on Sunday, despite struggling with the set-up of his Rig Deluge Superbike.
“What a ride,” exclaimed Birnie; before adding, “I feel sorry for Andrew, I know how much it means to both of us to be Champion. I wasn’t expecting it if I’m honest, but we are here and absolutely delighted. A hue thanks to all my sponsors and in particular Carnegie Fuels, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.
A gracious Tasker said, “Every time I got into a position to pass, Sean (Gilfillan) came past me. Fair play to Bruce though, he’s the KMSC Champion and I’m the Scottish Champion; a terrific season all-round.”
In the Shirlaw’s Clubman class, Richard Hughes saw his Championship lead overhauled by Kris Duncan – despite claiming a race win and three other podiums over the course of the weekend. However, Duncan managed to surpass Hughes’ 242 points total by taking one 3rd place podium and four race wins to claim the Championship win by 15 points.
In the Skinner Motorcycles Superstock 600 Championship, Lewis Rollo signed off an incredible season with another clean sweep of victories, setting multiple new lap records in the process, to add the KMSC Superstock 600 Championship to the Scottish Championship he’d already claimed. Callum Grigor backed up his fine form with a decent haul of points that saw him claim 2nd on the standings ahead of Liam Shellcock in 3rd – after the Oban ace composed himself following an early off on Sunday morning. Rollo though, has been an absolute revelation this year – claiming 19 wins from 20 races having only moved up to Stock 600 machinery at the beginning of the season. His efforts, and indeed his focus on the weekend, now turn to a British Superstock 600 Championship tilt in 2016; and from what we’ve seen over the course of the weekend, he and his Shirlaw’s Motorcycle team might just make some waves on the National scene – we’ll be watching that’s for sure.
Keith Dickie will rue this weekend more than most. Leading into it he had been leading the KMSC Mini-Twin Championship with podium-scores the secret to his Championship success. But, when the time came, his consistency, for once, let him down and despite a strong effort from Torquil Paterson – piping Adrian Clark to three of the five race wins at the weekend – Dickie couldn’t register enough points to hold off the man on the home-built bike. Despite missing an entire race weekend, due to road racing commitments, Adrian Clark out-scored everyone else on the standings to claim the title win. In the F400 standings, Gillian McGaw did all she could to overhaul Stuart Hamilton at the head of the standings by taking four race wins over the weekend; but three strong podium scores on Sunday secured the KMSC F400 Championship win for Hamilton by the slenderest of margins – just 5 points.
In the Perth Motorcycles Pre-Injection 600 class, Kyle Harper endured a nervy end of season meeting as Patrick Forman out scored him in the opening three races of the weekend by 32 points. That gave the veteran racer a real chance at the title only for lady luck to cruelly deny him the chance in the fourth race of the weekend – as Forman was forced to retire following mechanical issues before the race. That left the way clear for Harper to claim 2015 Championship glory – crossing the finishing line in the final two encounters on the podium.
“Glad to be on the final podium of the season and to claim the Championship in that fashion,” said Harper.
Lewis Paterson claimed his first KMSC F125 title by amassing 16 race wins along the way. That title, added to his Father’s (Torquil) Scottish Championship Lightweight success will probably be taking centre-stage in their household this morning. James McLaren and Rishon Hickey closed out the season in 2nd and 3rd place respectively, but with a strong foundation of young riders coming through, hopefully the F125 series can continue to spawn young talented riders the likes of which the series has already delivered including Lewis Rollo, Paul McClung, Gillian McGaw and of course, Rory Skinner now gracing the world’s best circuits on the MotoGP calendar.
Aside from the solo action, this weekend we also played host to the final of the Scottish Sidecar Championship and the Jock Taylor Memorial race. The Sean Heggarty/James Neave combo proved to strong for a 16-sidecar grid that included World Championship and TT winning duo Ben and Tom Birchall. Indeed, Heggarty and Neave not only claimed all the race wins, they also helped themselves to the Jock Taylor Memorial Trophy and Steve Webster Trophy for the fastest lap to cap a trophy-laden weekend. Coincidently, the Jock Taylor Room in Pencaitland opens this weekend, which will also coincide with the Jock Taylor run on Sunday 4th October from 10am.
A final congratulations to our 2015 KMSC Champions:
KMSC Superbikes – Bruce Birnie
Shirlaw’s Clubman – Kris Duncan
Skinner Motorcycles Superstock 600 – Lewis Rollo
Perth Motorcycles Pre-Injection 600 – Kyle Harper
KMSC Mini-Twin – Adrian Clark
KMSC Formula 400 – Stuart Hamilton
KMSC Formula 125 – Lewis Paterson
Here’s a quick snapshot of the action:
Thanks once again for another fantastic season at Knockhill. Special thanks to our sponsors, marshals, officials, medical teams and of course the riders for another superb season. Roll on 2016.