Mike ‘Spike’ Edwards was a guest of the DFDS Seaways Yamaha Past Masters at Oulton Park the weekend, with the veteran racer and popular figure taking a win and a second in two close fought races.
Former Macau winner Edwards qualified on pole, nearly a second ahead of series leader and reigning BMZRC champion Dean Stimpson. Andy Davies and reigning Yamaha Past Masters champion Graham Higlett made up the front row, but where a whopping six seconds back from Edwards and Stimpson.
With the fourth round of the championship just a one-day meeting, what followed were two titanic battles between a racing stalwart and a young twenty-something riding a bike as old as he was. At the end of the first lap in race one, Edwards and Stimpson had already gapped the rest of the pack, and set about trying to find a winner.
As the lights went out for race one, it was Andy Davies that got the holeshot and streaked into the lead, with Stimpson on his Newvic Property Services TZR250 second and Edwards third. As the field rounded Cascades both Stimpson and Edwards got great drive out of the corner and made to pass Davies.
With Stimpson taking the inside Edwards opted for the outside, just as Davies drifted over to take his line for the next left-hander. Contact was made, but thankfully Davies managed to remain upright and stay in the race.
After going by at Druids, Edwards led Stimpson round for most of race, the younger of the two doing all he could to keep tow, his desire to claim such a scalp evident in his riding. Behind, Ben Miles and Higlett set about deciding the final podium spot.
Stimpson found a way past in the final third of the race but he was unable to hold the position, with Edwards finding a way back past and holding the position the line to take the win by half a second. Miles bettered the reigning champion for the final podium position, the gap at the line just two tenths of a second.
Mechanical issues for rookie Peter Moore meant he retired early on, giving his well-matched rival Matt Barber an opportunity to steal a march in the title chase, but a snapped chain just a lap later put an end to his race.
In race two Stimpson and Edwards disappeared at the front again, the pace electrifying and the tension evident along the pit wall.
While Edwards led for the most part, Stimpson certainly made sure his veteran rival knew he was in the race, and made several moves into the lead. And despite starting the last lap back in second place, it was Stimpson who stole the win at the line, taking the flag six hundredths of a second ahead of Edwards, smashing the lap record in the process with a 1:54.036.
The final podium spot went to Higlett, the number one plated machine fending off Davies and Miles in a close fought dice while Matt Barber was the leading rookie in sixth.