Speedster Lewis loses grip after flying start

Lewis Cornish in action at Three Sisters. Photo: MARTY HILL.

Lewis Cornish in action at Three Sisters. Photo: MARTY HILL. - Credit: Archant

A bitterly cold Easter weekend at Three Sisters Circuit saw Lewis Cornish kick off his 2013 British Supermoto Championship challenge.

On a reversed direction track the local ‘circuit specialists’ didn’t have their usual home race advantage and Cornish made the most of the unusual lay-out to qualify ahead of the reigning British champion Chris Hodgson by 0.20’ to set pole position on the 450 Elite grid.

In race one, Nameplate Services/DCR racer Lewis powered off the line to head the pack into ‘Lunar’ turn and a hectic 15-minute battle ensued in which the lead position changed almost every lap. As the race neared it’s concluding laps Lewis’ engine cut out which allowed three riders to pass before he could restart and rejoin the battle to cross the line in an eventual fourth place.

On returning to the paddock a disappointed Lewis handed the bike over to the team who traced the engine problem to an electrical fault in the transmission, which once bypassed allowed Lewis to line up on the grid once more.

As the next race started the packed grid thundered into turn one and Cornish had a dream start as he forced his way to the lead from fourth position off the line. With a clear track ahead, Lewis’ made the most of his position to put in some fast laps in an attempt to break away from the opposition.

However British champion Chris Hodgson refused to be left in Cornish’s wake and following several passes and re-passes the lead exchanged with the advantage falling to Lewis going into a nail-biting last lap.

Hodgson piled on the pressure but a determined Cornish renewed his efforts to fend off the five times British champion and Lewis took the flag in first place.

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The final race was almost a repeat of race one as Hodgson and Cornish pulled away from the chasing pack. With Lewis in second place it was clear where he was faster than the rider in front and sure enough it was on this left-hand ‘pit corner’ that he ran deep and tried to make a pass on the leader. It was then that disaster struck as his slick front tyre lost grip on the freezing tarmac and Cornish crashed off the circuit.

By the time he rejoined the race it was all he could do to get up to eighth position at the finish which meant that instead of taking the opening 450 Elite race meeting as overall winner he slumped down to fifth overall.

Lewis explained in the paddock: “I really don’t know what happened there, I was riding just the same as the previous laps and the front tyre just let-go on me. I’m disappointed not to leave here leading the 450 Elite Championship but I’m really pleased with my speed taking pole and a race win. “I know I have the pace and we have a great set up in the paddock now with NPS/DCR and Chris (Cox) dialling in my suspension so its just a case of smoothing off the rough edges and the next round at Rednal is one of my favourite tracks so I’ll be aiming for the podium there.”

In the Open Elite races Lewis once again had some fast and furious battles finishing with fifth and a pair of fourth places following yet another incident-packed race day to round off a promising weekend for Team Nameplate Services/DCR.

Lewis’ next race meeting is the Southern Supermoto season opener at Lydd International Raceway in Kent followed by two consecutive weekends at Rednal Raceway where he’ll be competing in the second round of the British Supermoto Championships and the first round of the British Masters Championships alongside his new Nameplate Services/DCR team mates Davey Todd and Australian racer Ross Gurd.