Knockhill delivers top-class action as Kershaw returns in style, and the Reeves boys dominate Round Three
Twenty-six outfits on the 1.3 mile Knockhill circuit was a spectacle to behold with just three seconds covering the top ten in qualifying. Tim and Tristan Reeves on the Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki claimed pole at near lap-record speed ahead of Phil Bell/Tony Belsey (Marin Mortorsport Suzuki) and Steve Kershaw/Stuart Clark (Express Tyres/Blinkbonny Quarry Kawasaki).
Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes
Race One – Oil deposited from an earlier race played a major part by bringing about a stoppage after four laps. The Reeves brothers had pitted on the same lap with a misfire after leading from the word go, but their timing was perfect, and they were able to re-join the fray when the race was re-run.
A ten lap restart, with the grid forming in the part one finishing order, gave Bell/Belsey an early lead from a flying Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes (Santander Salt Kawasaki) Chasing them down were Kershaw/Clark and Ben Holland/Stuart Ramsay (Hannafin Kawasaki).
Behind them it was all to play for, with Tim Reeves fighting up from fourteenth on lap one.
Once in the mix, he set about catching the leaders, which he did with two laps remaining.
Steve Kershaw gave passenger Stuart Clark his maiden runner-up spot ahead of Chris Walker to consolidate their standings.
Reigning champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood pitted the JG Speedfit/Cool Kawasaki with a broken wheel-arch on lap three, but were prevented from re-joining, much to their disgust. They had been shown the orange and black flag, which basically meant “game over”.Their title defence is fast becoming an uphill fight.
First 600 winners, Gordon Shand and Phil Hyde
Result – 1/ Reeves/Reeves, 2/ Kershaw/Clark, 3/ Walker/Hawes, 4/ Bell/Belsey, 5/ Peach/Edwards (Lifesafety/Santander Racing Kawasaki), 6/ Holland/Ramsay, 7/ Gary Bryan/Ben McBride (Santander Salt Kawasaki), 8/ Rupert Archer/Steve Thomas (Hannafin Suzuki).
600 Cup – 1/ Shand/Hyde, 2/ Christie/Christie, 3/Ellis/Richardson
Double 600 winners, Todd Ellis and Charlie Richardson
Race Two - New rules for 2017 dictate a reverse grid format for subsequent races. That would add even more drama to what was a close-fought scrap. Race one winners brothers Reeves, found themselves down in thirteenth for the off, with Gary Horspole and James Connell in pole position. The only exception to this rule was that the 600 crews stayed in their normal place for fear of traffic build-up into the first bend.
And what a first bend it was! A lightning start by the Hannafin Kawasaki of Holland/Ramsay saw them immediately grab a lead which they then set about extending.
Frantic action between Walker/Hawes, Kershaw/Clark and the ever present Phil Bell provided huge entertainment throughout.
Andy Peach was also in the early hunt, but retired two laps later with gremlins.
Meanwhile, Stevens/Charlwood were fighting through from the back of the grid making steady progress in pursuit of Reeves. He was quickly up to fifth, but defensive lunges first by Walker, and then by Holland, saw them both spin and recover, eventually finishing fifth and sixth respectively. This left the coast clear for the local pair Kershaw and Clark to consolidate second place ahead of a brilliant ride by the defending Champions.
Phil Bell held on to fourth on what is almost his local circuit.
Tim and Tristan Reeves' winning margin was five seconds at the flag with one more race to go.
In the 600cc Cup class, an astonishing result by rookie Todd Ellis/Charlie Richardson in their first ever Championship event together, saw them move from third in race one, to the top step of the podium ahead of title leaders Alan Founds/Tom Peters.
Tim and Tris Reeves
Result – 1/ Reeves/Reeves, 2/ Kershaw/Clark, 3/ Stevens/Charlwood, 4/ Bell/Belsey, 5/ Holland/Ramsay, 6/ Walker/Hawes, 7/ Horspole/Connell, 8/ Bryan/McBride
600 Cup – 1/ Ellis/Richardson, 2/ Founds/Peters, 3/ Shand/Hyde
Ricky Stevens, Ryan Charlwood and a secondhand looking wheel arch.
Race Three – Fifteen hectic laps in the sunshine in front of a huge Knockhill crowd and a prime-time Eurosport audience provided thrills galore as the reverse grid concept once again unfolded. Pole men Archer/Thomas were gobbled up at the start, with Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes banging fairings with Gary Horspole before going ahead.
Phil Bell was going well, but was shortly passed by Holland/Ramsay, as they fought tooth and nail with Gary Bryan/Ben McBride. It was difficult to keep abreast of events, but soon it became clear that Stevens and Charlwood were charging through, along with Kershaw/Clarke and the Reeves Brothers, who by now had forged ahead.
Kershaw swiftly moved from fifth to second place, and that was how it finished, with Chris Walker taking the final podium spot.
Overall verdict from teams and fans alike – great event at Knockhill, and cracking racing to boot.
Is there an answer to Tim and Tristan Reeves' superiority? Well let's see what Snetterton brings.
The 600 Cup has new series leaders, with the Christie brothers Sam and Adam claiming runner-up spot to the storming duo of Ellis/Richardson.
Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clarke
Result – 1/ Reeves/Reeves, 2/ Kershaw/Clarke, 3/ Walker/Hawes, 4/ Holland/Ramsay, 5/ Stevens/Charlwood, 6/Bell/Belsey, 7/Peach/Edwards, 8/ Bryan/McBride
600 Cup – 1/ Ellis/Richardson, 2/ Christie/Christie, 3/ Shand/Hyde, 4/ Bryan Gray/Jason Pitt (Brian Gray Powerbiking Yamaha)
Standings – Reeves 150, Kershaw 108, Stevens 87, Walker 68, Holland 56, Bell 54
Bryan 52, Archer 34, Horspole 30
Cup points - Christie 35, Founds 32, Ellis 25, Shand 20, Lambert 14, Gray 11
Round Four comes from the Snetterton 300 Circuit, 30 June – 2 July