Evan Belford takes stunning BTC clean sweep at Snetterton
Evan Belford (City Lifting / RS Racing) started his Snetterton weekend off with a bang, able to take over on top and then make a break for it in Race 1 for a dominant R&G British Talent Cup win on Saturday. Amanuel Brinton (Kovara Projects / RS Racing) took second after leading early on, with a group fight for the podium seeing Julian Correa (Microlise Cresswell Racing) come out on top for a first podium of the season.
Correa took the holeshot with Brinton slotting into second and Belford initially losing out, down to third. But Brinton hit quick to take over the in the lead, and then set about trying to push to make a gap. As Correa and Harrison Dessoy (Eastern Garage Racing/Microlise Cresswell) fought it out with Belford that initially looked possible, but the trio were soon back on Brinton and Correa seemed impatient to get past.
Lap 4 saw the decisive moment in the fight for victory, however: Brinton headed wide and Belford, now into second, was able to sweep through and take over, with Correa then also able to follow him through. Brinton fought back to get back into second, but the gap to Belford was already a sizeable few tenths – and from there, the number 52 got the hammer down.Belford kept it pitch perfect to the flag to take an impressive win, and with it extending his Championship lead once again.
Brinton was able to pull away from the chasing group for a still impressive second place, with a spectacular four-way fight for the podium following him home: Correa vs Dessoy vs Sullivan Mounsey (Wilson Racing / Maddison Media) vs Harley McCabe (McCabe Racing).
On the penultimate lap drama hit for Dessoy as he lost the rear trying to make a move on Correa, and that was his chance at the podium gone, although rider ok – just forced to watch the battle from the sidelines.
Despite some choice moves, including a round-the-outside stunner from McCabe, it all came down to the drag to the line – and Correa just took it. Over the line it was a single thousandth as the American just pipped McCabe, taking his first BTC podium of the season.
McCabe was forced to settle for fourth ahead of Mounsey in fifth, with Rhys Stephenson (Rocket Racing) in sixth. Then came another trio, headed by Ryan Frost (Talentum Motorsport by Azure Notions) as he got the better of Filip Surowiak (FS75 Racing / FAB Racing) and Lucas Brown (Amphibian Scaffolding / SP125 Racing). Scott McPhee (SMP Racing) just nabbed the final spot in the top ten.
In tricky conditions in Race 2, Evan Belford (City Lifting / RS Racing) sealed the deal once again, and once again in some style. The number 52 mastered a tricky start to pull clear and take a huge advantage into the next round, with an early crash for Amanuel Brinton (Kovara Projects / RS Racing) seeing his 100% 2023 podium record come to an end. Lucas Brown (Amphibian Scaffolding / SP125 Racing) stormed through to second and kept some late pressure on Belford, with Julian Correa (Microlise Cresswell Racing) once again completing the podium to impress.
The early drama saw Brinton slide out almost immediately, with Belford off into the lead and Correa slotting into second ahead of Rhys Stephenson (Rocket Racing). Drama hit for another frontrunner soon after, with Harrison Dessoy (Eastern Garage Racing/Microlise Cresswell Racing) sliding out and letting his frustrations out in the gravel trap as a chance to create some consistency at Snetterton faded to a double DNF.
Brown was outside the top five but all the way up into second by Lap 2, making short work of the podium battle. That left Correa shadowed by Ryan Frost (Talentum Motorsport by Azure Notions) and Stephsenson in what was becoming a close fight for third. By half distance, Belford was 2.5 seconds clear of Brown, Brown had a second and a half in hand, and Correa, Frost and Stephenson had Harley McCabe (McCabe Racing) and Alexander Rowan (Mortimer Racing Victoria House Academy) for company.
It looked like Belford was gone in the lead, but by the last handful of laps the gap was coming down as Brown reeled him in. It was back down to 1.4 by Lap 8 of 10, but then the number 29 couldn’t make anymore headway. With that, Belford completed a stylish double to leave Snetterton with a whopping 62 point lead.
Brown took second despite his own late race pressure from Correa, taking his first podium of the season as the number 40 completed the rostrum for a second time at Snetterton. Frost faded in the latter stages but nevertheless takes an impressive fourth, with McCabe also fading – into the clutches of a big group fight for sixth.
That culminated in a group drag to the line, with McCabe just coming out on top for that fifth. Rowan took sixth ahead of Stephenson and a serious late charge from Scott McPhee (SMP Racing), with Alfie Davidson (Banks Racing) not far off in ninth. Sullivan Mounsey (Wilson Racing / Maddison Media), after dropping back in the early tricky conditions, completed the top ten.
Source: R&G British Talent Cup