Brands Hatch in March is always a tricky proposition, tarmac that has had little use and that is notoriously lacking in grip when the temperatures are low. So with the thermometers struggling to get above 5 degrees correct tyre choices were vital. But when all was said and done some of the best laps of the weekend were put up by riders using part worn rubber !!!!…..it really is a black art. Sam Thompson set the fastest time over the weekend with a 48.07 second lap (almost 90mph) but crashed out soon after…..so I guess he found the limit on his 675 !!!.
There were lots of new 2016 machinery on the grid with Chris Pope and Roo Cotton on new R1’s and Ben Godfrey with a fresh out of the crate ZX10.
Double winners included Tim Bradley in the F400, Tom Blackwell in the Super Twins and Alan Russell in the Mini Twins, so it proves that in tricky conditions there is no substitute for experience.
Jon Wright was awarded the performance of the day award for two great wins in the 700 pre injection class lapping just half a second off class lap record pace on his CBR 600.
Teenage tearaways Cameron Horsman (14) and Edmund Best (15) had some great time on track on the Moto 3 bikes…that was until Horsman threw his away at Mclaren.
Triple for Dayo.
Cirencester paint sprayer Josh Day is going to have a busy year riding the Crank Racing ZX10 with Thundersport and his own Crank R6 with NG. The R6, being purchased with the help of a group of loyal Josh Day supporters. He also plans to take in the North West on the R6.
This meeting though saw Josh bag all three Open finals after setting pole in the bitter Saturday morning session. Max Symonds proved that the conditions suit a 600 better that a Superbike chasing Josh all the way in each outing. Of the out and out superbikers Roo Cotton was revelling in the extra power of his new R1, as he, Darren Rumley and Chris Pope all tasted podiums.
2016 BSB Superstock rising star Ben Godfrey sat out Saturdays final but Sunday saw him storm through from the back of the grid, getting up to third before he fell at Druids. That crash meant he started the third of the three Open races from the back of the grid once more. However the 20 year old once more got up to the podium spot, and this time making it to the flag, some 7 seconds adrift though of Josh and Max up front. Michael Blank on his 1199 Panigale, Dave Mackay and Nicky Wilson on 899 Panigales, also deserve a mention in dispatches for their part in making the three Open finals great to watch. 250 GP ACU National.
The 250 GP ACU National championship grid had the reigning champ Phil Atkinson and two former champs in the shape of Dan Jackson and Ant Hodson on the grid. It was the triumvirate of 250 champs that battled out Saturday’s race with Atkinson taking it as Hodson and Jackson struggled to find the grip to stay with South African Atkinson who is back on the Declans Racing TZ for 2016. Sunday saw the Declans team miss the mornings warm-up session as the team discovered a water leak as they wheeled the bike out of the garage. Undeterred and unflustered Atkinson kept his cool and took the final in the afternoon by over 15 seconds from Ant Hodson on his FCL TZ and a delighted Rich Grinling who took the final podium position, admitting he couldn’t remember the last time he stood on the box….Well I can tell you, it was Brands Hatch 2011.
Dan Jackson retired from Sundays race, but Darrell Higgins season got off to the worst possible starts with two no scores.
The opposition needs to regroup if they want to stop Atkinson from taking a second National title as wins of 12 and 15 seconds show that he and the Declans Team are again a major force.
Timed Qualifying and three races for the popular Ducati Sporting Club Desmo Due series in 2016, and it was Martin Cox that has come out of the winter in the best form as he took all three finals in what looked like comfortable style, each time heading home Andy Bloomfield. The squabble over the third step of the podium saw honours shared between Paul Payne, Brian Alexander and Scott Wilson. Wilson was the B class champ last year for the 600cc bikes, abut has moved into the A class this term on a 620SS.
Peter Pritchard was easily the pick of the 600cc B runners here with three good wins on his Bay Studio Signs Ducati Monster finshing each outing inside the top 10, and humbling a few A class runners along the way.
A strong grid of sidecars saw many National crews whose focus will be British championship success using the meeting as valuable track time and testing. Matt Maclaurin and Adrian Hope took Saturdays final over Gary Bryan and Jamie Winn, with Kevin Cable in third. Cable and passenger Harry Payne stayed on for Sunday’s racing and after a steady start on the Medway Office LCR he eventually hit the front. He was harried all the way by 2015 FSRA Cup winner Sean Reeves with new passenger Andy Winkle, missing out by just a quarter of a second at the flag. Despite what the results say, Simon Gilbert and stand in passenger Jed Pilmoor Brady enjoyed a good early outing on the new R6 Yam. They failed to finish Saturday’s race after a clip on broke whilst fighting for a podium.
Class by class.
Sam Thompson was consistently the quickest rider over the weekend on his new Vapertrails of Yeovil 675 as he won both Sound of Thunders races, with Sam Middlemas, Jonathan Railton and Shane Smith doing the chasing. Sam looked odds on to take the pair in the 600 open too as he won Saturdays final from Josh Day and Max Symonds with Dylan Roberts chasing. However after building up a 3-second lead in Sundays final he parted company with the 675 just after setting the fasted lap. Day took the win.
Josh Singh racked up a double in the F125, as did defending champ Tim Bradley in the F400 with to emphatic wins over Eric Gorridge and Mark Island. Tony Bridgefoot aboard his Bluebell Lakes Aprilia RRV got the better of Greg Maden in the GP45s. 15 year old Edmund Best and 14 year old Cameron Horsman were the pick on the 500 Open riders on Saturday on the little 250 fourstroke singles holding off Dave Hampton. Hampton came back fighting on Sunday to take the class win on the 450 Tigcraft Enigma Single Cell Racing bike. Alan Russell was racing at Brands for the third weekend running, and his recent track time paid dividends as Mr A and R Racing took the pair of wins over Paul Wardell and Jamie Morris. Super Twins had 1987 Overall NG Champ Tom Blackwell (……sorry Tom !!) start his year with maximum points on the Newman Stallard SV.
Roo Cotton repaid the DTR Team with a win and runner up spot in the Powerbikes on his brand spanking new R1. Ben Godfrey took the other win, with Chris Pope, Darren Rumley, Sam Middlemas, Dave Irons and Mark Dangerfield in the mix for the other placings.
Richard Hughes, Jim Walker, Michael Blank and Paul Jeffery were barely ever separated by more than a second or so in the big Streetstocks class with the wins going to Walker and Hughes. The smaller 700 class saw honours shared between Adam Grosch and Eddie Whitehurst.
Ron Fry took both 1300 Pre Injection finals in some style on his immaculate ZX7R Kawasaki heading home Paul Harlington who was having one of his best weekends and Clayton Grover and Adam Jeffery in the mix. It was wins all weekend though for Jon Wright on his steel framed CBR600 in the 700 class taking dominant wins of 18 and 15 seconds over Liam Turberfield and James Griffiths respectively. The Formula Prostock shares the Pre Injection grid this year with Andrew Howe the best of the bunch on his FZ750 Yamaha.
Michael Rees (ZXR 400), Jakes Detloff (SV650) and Simon Bastable (R6) were to top newcomers.
Words : Russ Gardner - NG Road Racing Media Officer
Images : EDP Photo News - www.edpphotonews.co.uk Web Info : www.ngroadracing.org