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Win a piece for Ward and Jones at Oulton Park

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The Triumph Triple Challenge once again produced some first class racing during round two at Oulton Park with Peter “Pesky” Ward and Luke Jones taking a win each.

Pesky got his weekend off to the ideal start by taking pole position. The Hinckley rider only put in four laps during qualifying and confidently sat the rest of the session out. South African rider Phil Atkinson was back on form this weekend now that he has a better understanding of his new 675 Daytona.

Atkinson was the early challenger for pole position until Ashley Beech got into his stride, pushing Atkinson back to third place and finishing just 0.071seconds behind Pesky. Luke Jones completed the front row of the grid.

Freddy Pett was unable to take part in qualifying following an unlucky crash during free practice. He has broken his right hand in six places and needs an operation to pin and plate the injury. He passed on his good wishes to the other riders in the Championship.

Following qualifying Ward said: “The bike feels good, and I know I’ve more pace should I need it. I didn’t see the point in staying out and wasting fuel and my tyres. My back is playing up too so I wanted to keep the number of laps down. I feel fairly confident for the race.”

Pole position translated into a race win for Pesky giving him his first win of the season. Off the line it was Phil Atkinson who got the holeshot and immediately tried to gap the chasing riders. Pesky slotted into second place with Championship leader Jones in third and Beech in fourth place. Beech wasted no time and passed Jones at Shell hairpin on lap three

Atkinson was doing his best to escape and by lap five he was 0.595 seconds clear of Pesky, however one lap later Pesky had closed him down to a gap of 0.284 seconds. With a back marker on the horizon Pesky made his move on the run into Lodge corner to take the lead. Beech wasn’t standing still either and he picked Atkinson off one lap later at the same place.

The front runners were in a race very much of their own and had pulled away from Jones in fourth place by a good 3 seconds. Beech who finished second to Pesky broke the lap record by a second and his awesome pace gave him pole position for race two with a time of 1min 43.934 seconds.

Ward said: “I could hear a bike behind me and I knew it was Ash as he has been going really well. I needed to look after my tyre for race two so I just backed him up twice by holding onto the brakes a bit longer and waited to hear him back off. I just wanted to get through Brands and then see what we could do here. I’ve not led a race for a while so I tensed up a bit and made some mistakes, I just wanted to be consistent. I need a better start for race two. My back is still playing up so I’ll rest up between races.”

Beech said: “It was ok really, I need to try and make a better start as I spent all race making up for it. I’m pole for race two so I want to get away and try to break them. I’m losing out on the brakes but I know I can carry more corner speed. I’ll be faster in the next one.”

Atkinson said: “I was hoping to do what I did last year at Cadwell Park, just get clear but I got arm pump on lap eight and I couldn’t hold on. I had my arm massaged before the race so I’ll have to do the same again before race two. I did show that I’ve got the pace so I’ll try and get away next time.”

If you want close racing then look no further race two was as close as they come. Luke Jones took the second win of the day by just 0.006 seconds from Pesky who had led for the bulk of the race. The diminutive Jones out dragged the six foot Hinckley rider over the line to take the win. There are now just seven points separating them in the title chase with Jones ahead on 88 points. Beech had to settle for a close third place.

Following race one the grid positions changed placing Beech on pole thanks to his lap record pace. He had hoped this would improve his start but that wasn’t to be the case as Peaky and Jones immediately hit the front.

Whilst Beech and Jones battled it looked like Pesky was going to make a break but Jones held onto him closing down the 0.25 seconds gap he had built. The front three were on a pace of their own and by mid race distance they were 7 seconds clear of fourth place.

Jones was lining Pesky up for a late move so he didn’t have time to get back at him and on the last lap he went for it at Old Hall taking the lead. Pesky stayed closed and with a back marker looming he went round the outside of Jones at Lodge. Jones however had other ideas and simply pinned the throttle on the exit of the final turn and out dragged Pesky to the line. By the time the chequered flag came out the front three were 14 seconds clear of Tom Hayward who was in fourth place.

Jones said: “We made so many changes to the bike after race one it took me a couple of laps to settle in. Ward passed me and I just sat behind him until I got going. I had decided to wait right until the end to try and pass him. I got him on the last lap and he tried to come back past so I stood my bike up and opened the throttle. I got so much drive, we were banging elbows and neither of us were letting go. It was amazing.”

Ward said: “I really enjoyed that, I’m a little annoyed that I led the whole race and got done on the last lap. I’m happy and I enjoyed it that is the main thing. I want to get my confidence back that is why I’m doing this series. I need a few changes to my bike and we’ll see what happens.”

Beech said: “It was ok, I’m a bit disappointed with the second race especially after race one. I just need to get my starts better as I’m making it hard work for myself. These guys are so late on the brakes but I know if I can get clear and pull a gap I can run the pace. I’m disappointed in myself really as the bike is awesome. I’ve had podiums, now I want a win.”

 The third round of the Triumph Triple Challenge will be at Croft in North Yorkshire on the 13th – 15th May.

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