We woke to a wet paddock but the circuit dried well. In the Formula 600 qualifying there were damp patches on the Pope straight (and off-line in some corners) but our dry tyres were the correct choice. We qualified in 3rd place. Two sessions later it was time for the Twins qualifying session - by this time the track was completely dry and didn't see any rain for the rest of the day. We managed to set pole position.
As usual the first race of the day was the Allcomers race. Out-of-the-hat we picked 9th position on the grid, with fellow Aprilia RS660 riders Andy Whale and Ian Robinson starting from 5th and 2nd positions respectively. We had a good start and managed to move up to 5th position by the first chicane, and then nipped passed Connor Woodman on his CB500 to move up to 4th position at Park corner.
At the end of the Pope straight on the opening lap, the leading pack hit the brakes a little earlier than we expected, so we threw on the anchors and made some unexpected overtakes. Everything seemed under control until we shifted down to 2nd gear and the rear tyre broke loose, so we then stood up the bike, ran wide, put our hand up to apologise... Then, with hand still in the air, the bike wheelied and it was all a bit of a mess! We recomposed ourselves and looked for a clean opportunity to make further passes. On lap 4, Ian Robinson ran wide exiting the Wilsons chicane and Andy Whale went for a move - we then went for a move on Andy and managed to do a 2-for-1 manoeuvre to take the lead. From here we put in a series of clean laps and to win the race! As a bonus, we also managed to set a new race record for the Allcomers class which had stood since 2018.
Round 5 (Sunday)
We decided to make a couple of changes to the Aprilia RS660 Trofeo on Sunday morning - we flipped the Metzeler TD slick rear tyre to even out the tyre wear & changed from a 46T to 43T rear sprocket (note: those are the only rear sprockets we have - 44T and 45T are on order!). The 43T rear sprocket makes the RS660 overgeared for Darley Moor, but the data was showing us that the 46T sprocket didn't give us the gains that we expected - so as our Personal Best lap was set using the 43T sprocket, we thought there wasn't much to lose in swapping it over and seeing how it felt.
Prior to the qualifying sessions (and at points through the day) some unforecast light rain fell - fortunately, it was never heavy enough to necessitate a switch to wet tyres.
In qualifying we set some good laps and qualified 3rd on the Formula 600 grid and took pole position in the Twins class - with a Twins lap time quicker than any lap we set on the Saturday.
For the Allcomers race we selected 17th on grid and had to deal with the heavy traffic that that sort of grid position provides. When the lights went out for the start, the CB500s of Daniel Hill and Luke Watson came together and started bashing elbows! Riders flooded passed us and by the time we entered the chicane we didn't know what position we had ended up in! On the opening lap we passed about half a dozen riders and were 5.35 seconds behind the leader at the end of lap 1. By the end of lap two we had moved up to 4th position.
Some "mental rain" fell which we did our best to ignore and after closing down the gap, we managed to move from 4th position to being the race leader during lap 5... We managed to sneak passed Ian Robinson into the Wilsons chicane to take 3rd position and then had a good run through the back esses where we approached Andy Whale and Eddy Wormald. Eddy was making a move up the inside, so we decided to try the long way around and managed to overtake the leading pair around the outside at the hairpin. From there we managed to take the win as well as set the fastest lap.
A well-timed backmarker overtake on the penultimate lap gave us a bit of breathing space for the final lap. Ben Dale took the win, we took 2nd place 3.76 seconds behind, with Jake crossing the line just 0.17 of a second behind us - after he set a 57.99 'fastest lap of the race' on his final lap.
One unusual point of interest was that on lap 8, at the exit of Park corner, a couple of birds were sat on the racing line - as we approached they flew off in various directions (see 7:40 in the video). The race for 2nd place was apparently a cracking battle between Ian Robinson and Eddy Wormald which ran until the last corner of the last lap. We're not sure exactly what happened, but unfortunately Ian came off his Aprilia and decided to withdraw from the remainder of the meeting to focus on preparations for the NG Cadwell Park meeting this coming weekend.
For the final Formula 600 race of the weekend we got a truly awful start. By the end of the opening lap we had managed to move back up to 3rd position and by mid-race we had caught up to Jake Hopper, but unfortunately just didn't have the extra speed to enable a passing opportunity. Once backmarkers came into play we lost a bit of time and settled for our result. At the end of the 12 laps, Ben Dale took the win by 3.22 seconds from Jake, and we took 3rd place a further 2.91 seconds back.
The pace was strong and we actually completed the first 10 laps almost 6 seconds quicker than our new 10-lap Allcomers race record! At the end of the 12 laps we took the win by 33.74 seconds to finish off what had been a fantastic weekend of racing!
Twins Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - David Carson 60
2nd - Patrick Lord 26
3rd - Ian Robinson 24
4th - Ben Wilkinson 23
5th - Chris Barton 22
5th - Eddy Wormald 22
Formula 600 Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - Ben Dale 61
2nd - David Carson 40
3rd - Richard Cooper 30
4th - Albert Walker 22
5th - Jake Hopper 20