Gloriously sunny weather prevailed for Saturday qualifying with Tim and Tristan Reeves once again claiming pole.
It was far from a runaway result this time though, as Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark came to within two-tenths of denying them the place. Anxious to make up for a disappointing Snetterton, Kershaw had the Express Tyres/Blinkbonny Kawasaki on the stop as he completed more laps than anyone else in his efforts to claim the pole.
Sensationally, the Birchall brothers, Ben and Tom used the 600 Yamaha to great effect just a further one-tenth back in third.
Andy Peach/Ken Edwards also pulled off a great result winning the “Battle of the Suzukis” with a stunning fourth ahead of the Stalker Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes (Santander Salt Kawasaki).
Ben Holland and Stuart Ramsay
Race One – Reeves got the flyer with Kershaw and Birchall tucked in behind. Ben Holland/Stuart Ramsay were chasing fourth placed Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes before a mistake dropped the Stalker back down the order.
It was then a case of fight back for Walker as the battle raged at the front.
Reigning champions Ricky Stevens/Ryan Charlwood (JG Speedfit Cool Kawasaki) were in the thick of it , Stevens nursing an industrial injury to his ankle.
Kershaw was in great form not letting Reeves get away, when misfortune struck, and he disappeared on lap fourteen.
The Birchalls clocked an incredible time on their 600cc Mitchells of Mansfield Yamaha just a fraction off Reeves fastest lap of 50.269.
Walker meanwhile, in his charge through the field, again got it wrong with dodgy brakes and dropped to fifteenth on the road, tenth in class.
Stevens/Charlwood made good their progress, finishing behind Holland/Ramsay for the final podium spot.
A good crowd saw top-class sidecar racing in the sun – with more to come.
Double 600cc winners Ben and Tom Birchall
Result – 1/ Reeves/Reeves, Holland/Ramsay, 3/ Stevens/Charlwood, 4/ Bryan/Hyde, 5/ Peach/Edwards, 6/ Horspole/Connell, 7/ MacLaurin/Hope, 8/ Archer/Thomas
600 Cup – 1/ Birchall/Birchall, 2/ Ellis/Richardson, 3/ Founds/Walmesley, 4/ Gray/Pitt, 5/ Founds/Peters, 6/ Christie/Christie.
Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood
Race Two – A reverse grid put the Reeves brothers alongside the Birchall brothers alongside each other on row five.
No respecter of convention, Tim was ahead on lap two and never looked back. His margin at the flag was twenty seconds. That did not tell the story of the race, because Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark came from the back of the grid, carved their way through and eventually scythed past Ben and Tom Birchall to grab second place.
Pole position men, Todd Ellis and Chaz Richardson made the most of the benefit and came home eighth overall and second in the 600cc Cup. This gave them the series lead by a slender three points from Birchall.
Another consistent ride by the Hannafin Kawasaki pair of Ben Holland/Stuart Ramsay, rewarded them with fourth ahead of a rejuvenated Gary Bryan with new passenger Phil Hyde.
Steve Kershaw and Stuart Clark
Reeves's dominance is emphatic, and it's hard to see where the challenge will come from. Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes appear to have faded on the Santander Salt Kawasaki.
Next up is the Brands Hatch GP circuit, so who knows?
Result – 1/ Reeves/Reeves, 2/ Kershaw/Clarke, 3/ Holland/Ramsay, 4/ Bryan/Hyde, 5/ Horspole/Connell, 6/ Archer/Thomas, 7/ MacLaurin/Hope, 8/ Biggs/Ransley
600cc Cup – 1/ Birchall/Birchall, 2/ Ellis/Richardson, 3/ Founds/Walmesley, 4/ Christie/Christie,
Standings – Reeves 250, Stevens,150, Kershaw 128, Holland 119, Bryan 84, Bell 77, Walker 74, Horspole 66, Archer 58, Peach 57
600 Cup – Ellis 53, Birchall, 50 Founds/Peters 46, Christie, 43, Founds/Walmesley 24
Tim and Tris Reeves