Hockey claims title nine on home turf

CHAMPION: Chris Hockey
CHAMPION: Chris Hockey

SUDBURY Motorcycle Club’s Chris Hockey claimed the ninth title of his riding career with victory in the 2012 EMG/Eastern Centre Solo Championship on home soil on Sunday.

Hockey secured the championship at Chappel – one of four tracks the Sudbury club use – with one round remaining, the Essex-based rider’s third-place finish in round five putting him on 92 points in the standings.

He pipped fellow Sudbury rider Jamie Roper, who can only score a maximum of 89, to the title.

In deteriorating conditions at the north Essex track, Jason Morland of Halstead led after the first lap, followed by Sudbury’s Jamie and Stevie Roper, with Hockey sitting in fourth position.

After setting the pace in the first hour, Morland dropped down the order while pitting for fuel, allowing Jamie Roper to take first having passed brother Stevie earlier in the race.

At the end of the next lap, Jamie Roper stopped for fuel to let Stevie Roper take the lead.

But the leader’s strategy to try and go the distance without a further stop backfired when he was forced to refuel with half an hour remaining, with brother Jamie stealing through to lead the race once again, although Stevie was able to rejoin in second.

There was further drama in the final 10 minutes when Morland had to pit for a second time for fuel, giving Hockey the opportunity to move into third place.

As the race entered the final lap, Jamie Roper held on for first position, while Stevie Roper fended off a brave challenge from Hockey to secure second. Tom Howe finished fourth, with early pace-setter Morland taking fifth.

However, with the five best scores counting over the six-round competition, Hockey claimed the title and his ninth career championship with Jamie Roper, on 84 points, unable to catch his fellow Sudbury member with one round remaining.

Elsewhere, the 2012 Experts Class was also decided with one round to go, despite a fantastic win for Sudbury’s Phil Roper.

Phil Burton of Halstead, who came into the race with a 26-point lead in the series and required a podium finish for the title, took second to claim the championship.

In a close contest, Burton and Phil Roper battled for the lead throughout, the latter crossing the finish line with a three-minute lead for a deserved win.

Sudbury’s Richard Walters and Mark Waller finished third and fourth respectively, with John Bishop of Lowestoft fifth. Andy Quorn and Graham Mays, also of Sudbury, took sixth and seventh.

One competition that will go down to the wire is the Clubman Class, with Sudbury’s Ian Tutton needing a fifth-place finish or better in the final round to claim victory.

Tutton held off Andrew Greenwell of Woodbridge to take victory on Sunday, giving himself a 10 point lead in the series.

Adrian Coppen clinched third, with round four victor Paul Belton fourth.