Vinuales at the Double2011 Champion Emmanuel Vinuales (Anderson/DEA) made it a double celebration at Snetterton GB by taking victory in both races and to add to his delight the second race win was achieved on National Fest Day in France.
Vinuales had been outgunned in qualifying practice by Britain’s 3 times former champion Gavin Bennett (Anderson/DEA) who was 0.2s quicker to secure pole position for both races.
Bennett made his usual fast start in Race 1 but Vinuales stayed with him and it was the Frenchman who went in front at the first turn. Bennett remained close at hand and the pattern of the race was set. Over and over it seemed that Bennett would overtake Vinuales as he set the fastest laps of the race but Vinuales denied him every time.
Behind them Henrik Lilja (PVP/PVP) from Denmark was having an equally absorbing battle with the young Englishman Liam Morley (Anderson/DEA). But that came to an abrupt halt when Morley retired with ignition problems on lap 5. That left Lilja in a very safe 3rd place until the 10th lap of 11 when the floor tray detached and dropped making it impossible to continue.
Vinuales continued to hold off the challenge of Bennett but defending Champion Lee Harpham (Anderson/FPE) was making steady progress from 6th place. He eventually finished 3rd going past Dutchman Marcel Massmann (Anderson/FPE) (4th) and German Daniel Hentschel (Anderson/DEA) (5th). British driver David Harvey (Anderson/FPE) maintained his good form of the season with a 6th place finish.
In Race 2 it was Bennett who gained the advantage at the start but with Vinuales a constant threat. Lilja again worked himself into a safe 3rd place and there was a long gap to the chasing pack with Czech Adam Kout (MS Kart/DEA) making up for his first lap exit in race 1. Harpham, Hentschel and Massmann repeated their first battle but Massmann was not helped by his throttle sticking.
The race looked to be heading for an uneventful finish until, on the last lap, Vinuales closed on Bennett and took the lead. Bennett retained 2nd place but stopped very soon after the finishing line having run out of fuel.
You can imagine Vinuales reaction “I am very happy with these first two rounds. Already last year just seems a bad memory. Our small familial team of myself, my father François and former MotoGP racer Jean Claude Selini worked hard all winter. Also I am very happy to win on National Fest Day in France.”
Gavin Bennett was philosophical. “I ran out of fuel and had to feather the motor home. I have to see this not as a victory lost but as 20 championship points saved.”
Henrik Lilja saw things differently. “I am not one hundred percent happy. I had a solid 3rd place in Race 1 but a 6mm bolt, costing nothing, let me down. Two 3rd places would have been excellent.”
The defending Champion Lee Harpham had a difficult weekend. “We were struggling for speed. I am not sure why. We have got to do more work to find the problem but it is difficult to do this during the event.”
Rounds 3 and 4 will be held at Assen, NL on 2 – 4 August