Qualifying – A hot and humid session made it very hard work indeed, but lap record holders Ricky Stevens/Ryan Charlwood (Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki) grabbed pole position from Tim Reeves/Greg Cluze (Team E-Aide Motorsport/Remse Racing Yamaha).
Row two was closely disputed with Ben Holland/Lee Watson nosing their Hannafin Kawasaki ahead of John Holden/Stuart Ramsey (Barnes Racing Silicone Engineering Suzuki). Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes (Santander Salt Kawasaki) renewed their battle with the Birchall Brothers on their 600 Honda to line up on row three.
Ben Holland and Lee Watson. (SE here - great to see the boys back on form)
Race One – The heat was turned up even more as Stevens/Charlwood hit the front from the lights chased by Reeves/Cluze and Holland/Watson with Walker/Hawes slotting into fourth. It was not long before Reeves was ahead, but this time round he did not get away. A three-way fire-storm then developed with Holland fanning the flames at every opportunity.
Reeves seemed to lack drive out of the turns, and the Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki duo chose their moment to slip by.
There was some contact as Tim fought back, but once ahead, Stevens kept his cool.
Chris Walker and Ash Hawes (SE again, Chris has taken to this like a duck to water, well done Sir!)
He in turn, was under huge pressure from the Hannafin Kawasaki of Holland/Watson, who once past Reeves set about going for the top step. The gap at the flag was a fraction of a second, but with local boys in first and second, the huge crowd was fully entertained.
Walker/Hawes consolidated fourth with continuing brake problems ahead of Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas (Hannafin Kawasaki). The Birchall Brothers march on to 600 honours with yet another flawless victory.
Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood - (SE - it's good having a driver who knows what passengers go through)
Result – 1/Stevens/Charlwood, 2/Holland/Watson, 3/Reeves/Cluze, 4/Walker/Hawes, 5/Archer/Thomas, 6/Birchall/Birchall (600 Cup Winners), 7/Horspole/Connell, 8/Bryan/Richardson, 9/Guy/Pilmoor-Brady, 10/Gray/Christie.
Race Two – Gritting his teeth with a singular determination, Reeves muscled his Team E-Aide Motorsport Remse Yamaha off the line into a commanding lead at the end of lap one. It was status quo behind with Stevens/Charlwood giving chase, and Holland/Watson scrubbing in a new tyre adrift in third. When the tyre eventually came to them, it showed as they wound in the leading pair.
Several attempts at the chicane finally paid off as Stevens forced his way past the leaders to assume control. Walker/Hawes were again consistent in fourth ahead of a brilliantly performing Gary Horspole/James Connell who in turn were fighting off the Birchalls in fifth. This they did until the final lap when the 2009 World Champions claimed the place. Once again, evergreen Ian Guy with Jed Pilmoor-Brady did himself proud with a strong seventh place finish.
Result – 1/Stevens/Charlwood, 2/Reeves/Cluze, 3/Holland/Watson, 4/Walker/Hawes, 5/Birchall/Birchall (600 Cup winners), 6/Horspole/Connell, 7/ Guy/Pilmoor-Brady, 8/ Archer/Thomas, 9/Gray/Christie/ 10/MacClaurin/Hope.
Tim and Gregory.
Race Three – The final encounter was certainly the most controversial of the weekend, with series leaders Stevens/Charlwood taken out of contention after grabbing the lead from the lights. A determined move by Reeves/Cluze in the complex resulted in prolonged contact forcing the Quattro Plant Cool Kawasaki on to the grass. Debris collecting in the radiator was to result in a retirement from overheating after they had recovered to seventh.
Meanwhile, a delighted Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes took advantage and enjoyed a race-long scrap with eventual runners-up Holland/Watson. Their battle was also about championship position, and Holland moved two points ahead back into third.
The Birchall boys were on the throttle stop with the 600 and claimed fourth ahead of an incredible performance by Archer/Thomas and veterans Ian Guy and Brian Gray. Their young passengers Jed Pilmoor-Brady and Adam Christie respectively are growing on confidence and ability and both have rosy futures in the sport.
Race organisers reviewed the Reeves/Stevens lap one incident and adjudged it fair. Faces in the paddock afterwards indicated otherwise. Hopefully the crews involved can bury the hatchet before the next round.
Result – 1/Reeves/Cluze, 2/Holland/Watson, 3/Walker/Hawes, 4/Birchall/Birchall (600 Cup Winners), 5/Archer/Thomas, 6/Guy/Pilmoor-Brady, 7/ Gray/Christie, 8/ Horspole/Connell, 9/ MacClaurin/Hope, 10/Biggs/Ransley,
Ben and Tom Birchall. This is a 600cc machine, someone tell Fred Clarke it's not an F2 though
Standings – Reeves 186, Stevens 178, Holland 155, Walker 153, Archer 97, MacClaurin 84, Bryan 83, Biggs 80, Horspole 76 Guy 59, Gray 55.
The next round comes from Mallory Park this coming weekend with everything to play for.