The ultra-fast Thruxton circuit is always a great leveller, and particularly hard on passengers with its never-ending right handed bends. Three races on the programme would put seventy-five points on the table, but as events turned out, things did not go to plan.
Qualifying, and true to form, the heavens opened shortly before. The dilemma facing the teams was obviously tyres, but as the session wore on, so slicks came into play.
Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood left it late, went out on slicks, but were then denied the chance to improve as a red flag came out.
Tim and Tristan Reeves claimed pole, ahead of Walker/Hawes, Peach/Edwards and localsHolland/Ramsay.
Race One -
Literally seconds before the off, more rain fell and a wet race was declared. The sun came out, but it stayed wet throughout, with Tim and Tristan Reeves stamping
their authority on the opening lap.
The Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki was buzzing, and at the end of lap one, they had a three second lead over Andy Peach/Ken Edwards (Santander Salt Suzuki).
Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes (Santander Salt Kawasaki) held third ahead of Kershaw/Clark (Express Tyres/Blinkbonny Kawasaki). Walker was having a much better weekend and was to improve his standing in the table with a good ride.
Reeves was putting in near lap-record times as he progressively stretched the lead to ten seconds approaching the race end. Kershaw/Clark fought through to take twenty points and runner-up spot, with Walker/Hawes claiming third from Andy Peach.
Ben Holland/Stuart Ramsay (Hannafin Kawasaki) stayed ahead of defending champions Ricky Stevens/Ryan Charlwood to maintain their points momentum.
Bennyboy and Stuart. I'm so glad you two are ok! - SE
600cc Cup winners were once again Todd Ellis/Chaz Richardson, on the GBM/Santander Salt Honda CBR 600.
Result – 1/ Reeves/Reeves, 2/ Kershaw/Clarke, 3/ Walker/Hawes, 4/ Peach/Edwards, 5/ Holland/Ramsay, 6/ Stevens/Charlwood, 7/ Archer/Thomas, 8/ MacLaurin/Hope
Race Two -
Glorious sunshine greeted the teams this time around late in the day on Saturday. A first for this series, was the fact that the reverse grid rule placed Gary Bryan/Tom Bryant on the front row alongside Bryan's stepson Todd Ellis/Chaz Richardson. Ellis is well on the way to securing his first premier championship, with a brilliant rookie season.
Todd and Chaz
From the lights, an incredible lunge by the Reeves brothers took them from row five into the lead on lap one. They were again in superb form, but this time they had company in the shape of Ben Holland/Stuart Ramsay, and charging Gary Bryan/Tom Bryant, who had started from pole.
Also making their way through, was the Walker/Hawes outfit, and Kershaw/Clark. The latter crew retired on lap two with a blown engine, so were out of contention.
Reigning champions Stevens/Charlwood recovered from fifth on lap one to overhaul Holland/Ramsay for the runner-up spot with one lap remaining.
This result protected their second place in the tile chase, with Ben Holland once again moving ahead of Kershaw in the standings.
Ricky and Ryan
Todd Ellis/Chaz Richardson, Cup leaders held their own on speed with the big boys, and finished in a respectable 600 victory spot, having been very much in the overall hunt throughout.
A determined Chris Walker and Ashley Hawes brought it home in fourth, passing Gary Bryan on the final lap.
Result – Reeves/Reeves, 2/ Stevens/Charlwood, 3/ Holland/Ramsay, 4/ Walker/Hawes, 5/Bryan/Bryant, 6/ Archer/Thomas, 7/ Horspole/Connell, 8/ Ellis Richardson (Cup Winners)
Stalker and Ash
Race Three – Would it be three in a row for Tim and Tristan Reeves this time out?
Well, with the reverse grid again featuring, it was a hectic dash to the first turn, but disaster struck as the crews bunched up. An enormously terrifying crash involving Ben Holland/Stuart Ramsay (Hannafin Kawasaki) and Rob Biggs/Ben Ransley (Express Tyres/Excalibur Suzuki) caused an instant stoppage.
Both crews, mercifully escaped without serious injury, but it could have been so much worse. Both outfits were virtually destroyed as they cartwheeled through the air.
Then, unbelievably, as outfits regrouped for the restart, a massive crash on the warm-up lap sidelined Dean Nicholls/Kenny Cole (Certain Exhibitions Suzuki). They rolled the outfit and both were admitted to hospital with back and rib damage.
Again, this tough bunch are already on the mend, but all in all it was a day best forgotten. The race was abandoned, with just the two previous scores counting.
RKB-F1 Motorsport, on behalf of the entire paddock, sends best wishes and a speedy recovery to those teams affected by the incidents.
77 - No need for any more caption to it
Championship Standings – Reeves/Reeves 350, Stevens/Charlwood 213, Holland/Ramsay 175, Kershaw/Clarke 164, Bryan/Bryant 121, Walker/Hawes 103, Horspole/Thomas 93, Archer/Thomas 84, Peach/Edwards 83.
600 Cup Standings – Ellis/Richardson 87, Christie/Christie 62, Birchall/Birchall 50, Founds/Peters 46, Gray/Pitt 29, Holden/Wilkes 25