With the world's best on track, and a mid-afternoon slot in the schedule, the Snetterton round was always going to be a blockbuster. The huge crowd was not disappointed.
Tim and Tristan Reeves made no mistake in qualifying, putting their Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki on pole position.
They were over two seconds ahead of the pack, with the defending champions in second place.
A disastrous day for Kershaw/Clarke saw them suffer mechanical issues preventing them from completing a complete lap in practice, with the prospect of possible exclusion. The decision was in the hands of the organisers, who banned them from the Saturday race with a chance to qualify in Sunday warm-up for the second race..
Race One – It was an impressive sight from the line as thirty-two outfits screamed into the first right-hander, with the Reeves brothers quickly establishing their, by now customary position at the front.
Ben Holland and Stuart Ramsay
Reigning champions Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood (JG Speedfit Cool Kawasaki) knew that they had to get their title defence back on track and went with Reeves.
However, Ricky was nursing an ankle injury sustained at work, so was somewhat handicapped.
It was not a happy opening lap for Matt MacLaurin/Ady Hope (Blue Machinery Yamaha) as they tangled with John Holden/Mark Wilkes, putting both crews out of the running,
Meanwhile the pack up front had their heads down, with Ben Holland/Stuart Ramsay, the Birchall boys and Andy Peach/Ken Edwards on their ageing Suzuki leading the charge.
Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes (Santander Salt Kawasaki) had experienced brake issues all weekend, and that caused their retirement on lap six. The second retirement this season will seriously damage Walker's title attack.
An incredible ride by returning Barry James/Jack Tritton saw them holding their own in the leading bunch, and that was to take them all the way to the flag to finish fifth.
The ride by Ben and Tom Birchall was nothing short of fantastic to bring it home third on the Mitchells of Mansfield 600cc Yamaha, with a lap time just three seconds slower than Reeves, whilst newcomers Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson maintained their impressive record with a runner-up spot in the 600cc Cup class.
Reeves' margin at the flag was eighteen seconds from Stevens, with Birchall a further sixteen seconds back.
600 Winners, Ben and Tom Birchall
Result – 1/ Reeves/Reeves, 2/ Stevens/Charlwood, 3/ Birchall/Birchall, 4/ Holland/Ramsay, 5/ Peach/Edwards, 6/James/Tritton, 7/ Bell/Hyde, 8/ Guy/Pilmoor/Brady
600 Cup – 1/ Birchall/Birchall, 2/ Ellis/Richardson, 3/ Alan Founds/Tom Peters, 4/ Peter Founds/Jevan Walmesley, 5/ Brian Gray/Jason Pitt.
Barry James and Jack Tritton
Race Two – Prime-time on the race programme, a huge track-side and TV audience and everything to play for. That was the scenario as race two went to the line in warm, sunny weather. Track conditions were perfect, and nice and sticky for the big fat Avon tyres.
Tim and Tristan Reeves have been totally dominant so far this year, and expectation was high this time around.
He was starting from tenth on the grid in line with the new reverse grid rule. Gary Horspole and James/Connell headed off from pole.
Incredibly, Reeves was in front on lap two, with Steve Kershaw/Stuart Clarke (Express Tyres/Blinkbonny Kawasaki) fighting up from the back of the grid.
Barry James and Jack Tritton were in a strong second place just over one second adrift.
Holland/Ramsay mover second on lap four with the Hannafin Kawasaki, with Stevens/Charlwood up to fourth.
Again, the speed of Ben Birchall's Yamaha was amazing. He was up to sixth and pushing the big boys.
At half-distance, Stevens/Charlwood were in second spot, whilst Kershaw was fighting Peach for sixth.
Barry James was truly impressive holding off the Birchalls, and was still ahead of them on lap eight. However. With the gap now down to under three seconds, could he keep them behind to the flag?
Disaster struck for Kershaw as he was out on lap eight. It was a long haul for no points for him.
Reeves had it nailed entering the last lap but the fight was on for third, with Barry James holding off Ben and Tom Birchall for an incredible podium place.
Poor Chris Walker's weekend went from bad to worse, as dodgy electrics took him out on lap one. A resounding zero was his reward for the weekend's work.
Ricky and Ryan - Stevens and Charlwood
Result – 1/ Reeves/Reeves, 2/ Stevens/Charlwood, 3/ James/Tritton, 4/ Birchall/Birchall, 5/ Bell/Hyde, 6/ Holland/Ramsay, 7/ Peach/Edwards, 8/Guy/Pilmoor-Brady
600 Cup – 1/ Birchall/Birchall, 2/ Ellis/Richardson, 3/ Holden/Wilkes, 4/ Founds/Peters,
Tim and Tris Reeves, 8 from 8, showing how fast an F1 can really go.
Standings – Reeves 200, Stevens 127, Kershaw 108, Holland 83, Bell 77, Walker 68, Bryan 58, Peach 46, Horspole 45, Archer 40.
Cup points – Founds/Peters 41, Ellis 39, Christie 37, Birchall 30, Shand 20, Lambert 16, Gray 14.
Round Five comes from Mallory Park 8/9th July - see the report on here soon!