ON THE same day that his wife was due to give birth to their first child, Scotsman Stuart Easton made it a memorable day by winning his first-ever British Superbike race at Croft circuit last weekend.

The victory was even more special because it was also the first for the Hydrex Honda team, which is owned by Guisborough businessman Shaun Muir.

More than 20,000 fans packed into the famous North Yorkshire track to witness round ten of the championship, and they weren’t disappointed.

Runaway series leader Leon Camier qualified his Airwaves Yamaha on pole position, but in the opening race he ran wide on lap three at Tower Bend and had to rejoin the track last, but managed to climb to sixth at the chequered flag.

Meanwhile, at the front, Easton and Cumbrian James Ellison were battling it out for the win, which Easton took by a mere 0.3 of a second with Australian Josh Brookes claiming third for Tyneside sponsors HM Plant on his Honda.

Race two saw Camier resume normal service with an easy victory over Easton, with Brookes claiming third, and now just needs a handful of points next weekend at Silverstone to wrap up the title.

The meeting also provided some of the best racing of the season with close finishes in the 125cc outing, which saw a career- first win for Cheshire rider Connor Behan, and in a frantic British Supersport race, in which wily veteran Steve Plater came through to take the win on his 600cc HM Plant Honda.

The Superstock 600 race went the way of Luke Mossey, but there was drama all the way in the Superstock 1000 encounter, with a five-rider scrap for the lead right up to the final corner.

There, ex-champion Steve Brogan clattered into the side of 2009 champion Alastair Seeley, running them both wide, which allowed crowd favourite and 15- times TT winner John McGuinness through to claim his first short circuit win in eight years.

But the drama wasn’t over as second-placed Scott Smart, nephew of the late, great Barry Sheene, blew his Ducati’s engine on the run to the line, but hung on ahead of Seeley, who suffered his first defeat of the season.

Yarm’s Allan Jon Venter claimed a battling ninth on his Yamaha in the Supersport class, and Hartburn brothers Jamie and Richard Ferguson finished 21st and 23rd on their Hondas respectively, but fellow Stockton rider Michael Hill crashed out.

● Last weekend, the Otterburn military ranges in Northumberland were the venue for the EW Motor Services Lindisfarne Rally and a number of local crews headed north to tackle the extremely fast and notorious stages.

Barnard Castle’s Mark Thompson again had nephew Matt Thompson sitting alongside him in the ALM Productssponsored Peugeot 206, and were the top local crew in the SG Petch ANECCC Stage Rally Championship, claiming fourth overall to go with their seventh in class and 30th overall in the main event.

Other locals in action included the Bedale pairing of Tommi Graham and Mike Bailey in their Mitsubishi Evo.

A steady start saw the pair keep in touch with the leaders, but a broken drive shaft on stage six eventually forced them into retirement.

County Durham rally driver Chris Anderson was yet again denied a good result when a gearbox failure robbed him of a promising finish.

The 18-year-old maintenance engineer from Butterknowle had hoped his run of bad luck would be finally over, but he and co-driver Chris Thirling, from Durham, were forced to retire on the fifth stage of the day with transmission failure on their Wilkinson Maintenance- sponsored Ford Puma S1600.

● Despite never racing at Anglesey before, Darlington racing brothers Richie and Jonathan Harrison headed off last weekend with Jonathan leading the Thundersport 500cc Series by a margin of 45 points.

Elder brother Richie was competing in the CIA GP1 series on his standard 2005 Suzuki GSXR1000cc and, after a good last round at Brands Hatch, both brothers were full of confidence.

After taking pole position in qualifying, Jonathan won the opening race before crashing out of race two, but it was back to business with victories in the remaining two races and now he just needs a few points to wrap up the title at Rockingham in October.

Struggling with an injured wrist following a crash at Brands Hatch, Richie qualified in 18th place and recorded a couple of 11th place finishes.

● The 59th International Steve Henshaw Gold Cup Motorcycle Road Races at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough, this weekend have attracted one of the biggest and best entries ever.

Crowd favourite Guy Martin, of the Guisborough-based Hydrex Honda team, is assured of plenty of local support, while multiple TT winners John McGuinness, Ian Lougher, Ryan Farquhar, William Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson, Michael Dunlop, Adrian Archibald, Chris Palmer and Gary Johnson are other notable names on the entry list.

Practice starts at 9am on both days, with racing from 1pm tomorrow and 11.30am on Sunday.

Sunday’s programme includes the prestigious International Gold Cup race.

Meanwhile, a number of the top riders, including Michael and William Dunlop, Adrian Archibald, Michael Pearson and Ryan Farquhar, will be attending the NYRRSC chat show at the Golden Lion Hotel in Northallerton this evening, starting at 7.30pm.