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MOTORSPORT AFTER two seasons finishing second in the THUNDERSPORTGB Golden Era class, RSRACING and Ryan Strafford moved up a class to the GP1 Classic series.

Riding a pre-injected 1,000cc Yamaha R1, the target this season was to win the title.

A tall order for the Mirfield rider as it was a new bike to the team and most of the season would be taken up developing the bike.

The team had a three- day test session in Cartagena, Spain, and it became obvious on day one that Ryan was at one with the machine and was well under previous lap times at the circuit.

The season started brightly with Strafford and Sam Cox showing they were the class of the field and it became a two-way battle between these two riders with Strafford establishing a 70 point lead mid-season. This all changed at round 5, Strafford had two crashes on the same day handing back 50 points to Sam Cox and denting his confidence.

Cox then went on a run of several wins before Strafford won the last race in round 7, leaving the Mirfield rider 33 points adrift for the final round.

Round 8 at Snetterton, a renowned power circuit, RSRACING made a couple of upgrades to the R1.

With four races earning double points and in perfect weather Ryan had a mountain to climb.

Practice day went very well for the team and they had high hopes for qualifying and the four races as an excellent pace was established early on.

Qualifying on Saturday morning was a dream start for the team as Strafford set the fastest time to land outright pole position and a full half second faster than Cox, who qualified third. Race one saw Strafford lead the race with Cox several bike lengths behind trying to close the Yorkshire man down.

On lap five Cox disappeared after a big high side causing the race to be red flagged.

Strafford had a comfortable win on the restart of the five-lap dash, earning 50 points over Cox. In race two Cox failed to make the start and with Strafford winning the race that put him 67 points clear with 100 points up for grabs on Sunday.

For race three a clear task of keeping out of trouble and finishing no lower than second to take the title, Strafford cruised to second place behind Cox - and the title went to the Mirfield man.

In race four the shackles were off and Strafford set about attacking the circuit record for the class, he broke it three laps in succession to finish with a 1.12.9 - a full 1.5 seconds quicker than the previous lap record.

After the race Ryan said: "It's been a dream weekend for me, the team, all our sponsors and all those who came to support me this weekend.

"We've worked so hard for this title and the lap record in the final race is just the cherry on the cake."

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Oct 31, 2018
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