Out in the first qualifying session, the track was dry everywhere except for the braking area at the end of the main straight. The classic bikes had been combined into our Formula Darley qualifying session, so getting in a clean lap was difficult. A clean-ish lap during the session meant that we would qualify in 6th place for the Formula Darley class (with exactly the same laptime as our competitor James Ford - but as he set the laptime before we did, he took the 5th place qualification spot).
There was a 45-minute break before we headed out for the Mini Sound of Thunder qualifying session - in this time, the track had completely dried on the racing line. A number of racing classes were combined into this session, meaning that 51(!) bikes were out on track at the same time trying to put in a qualifying time. A respectable laptime of 1'03.43 qualified us in 5th place for the Mini Sound of Thunder races.
Mini Sound of Thunder Race 1 was better as we managed to stay with the 5th place bike of Ant Porter for the duration of the race and managed to get to within 0.2 of a second of our personal best laptime in the process. The four leaders had a almightly battle for the win and eventually 1st-4th places crossed the finish line within 0.67 of a second. We crossed the line 7.6 seconds adrift of the lead battle in 6th place.
Formula Darley Round 2 was a lot more promising as we got a good start and stuck with the lead pack, moved up to 5th place between lap 3 and lap 6, but with backmarkers being caught at difficult places, we lost the tow to the 3rd and 4th place runners, before then moving back to 6th place. Another badly-placed backmarker ended any opportunity for a last-lap challenge on 5th placed Ant Porter, as we finished in 6th place for the third time of the day.
The final race of the day was Mini Sound of Thunder Race 2. This race was all about the battle for 5th place with Ant Porter (watch it here). This closely-fought race was eventually won by us by 0.68 second at the chequered flag, after we managed to cleanly get ahead into 5th place on lap 7 and then hold our advantage to the flag.
After our previous successes, three 6th places and a 5th place are not results that we have become used to achieving - but with the increased competitivity of the classes in 2014, all we can do is to focus on increasing our own level of performance in order to try to remain competitive. We have never been as fast as we are in 2014 but it seems like a bit more performance is still needed in order to be as competitive as we want to be. Rest assured, we have some plans in place to try and close the gap to the leaders :-)
Our next race meeting is NG Road Racing Round 3 at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire on 8th/9th/10th May, before the IOM TT causes a 6-week summer gap in our racing schedule.