In session 1 we started to get into the swing of things. In certain sections the track was a lot tighter than we remembered but we concentrated on looking for appropriate lines and just trying to be in the correct gear. Things got "hairier than an 80s adult movie" (a line stolen from the weekend commentator) in session 2 when the ZX6R front caliper pins & a couple of pads fell out (presumably along the Park straight) and when we hit the brakes for Park corner at 133mph there was minimal pressure to haul the bike up. But we did manage to stop and we got away lucky there! On reflection, it turned out that human error was the cause, which actually made putting the issue to rest (in our head) much easier.
Onto the afternoon sessions and out onto the Supertwin. Our previous best lap time on the Kawasaki ER650 Supertwin was 1:44.2, so we had something to aim for. After 11 laps we had put in a new Twins Personal Best lap time of 1:42.3 and felt ready to enter qualifying, so parked up both bikes and prepared them for scrutineering. All in all, it had been a good day of testing, so we nipped to the paddock bar for a refreshing drink!
Saturday Race Day
The weather throughout the weekend was fantastically sunny and hot (and a little uncomfortable in race leathers). On the Saturday the girls arrived to join in the fun and we had a special visitor in the form of Rich McAlpin.
The practice sessions were incredibly busy and didn't provide us with any useful information except that passing people in the races would be a challenge. In the qualifying sessions we managed to scrape some clear (but not perfect) laps in each session. In the Supertwin session we had just got into some clear space when the chequered flag was shown, which was frustrating. We qualified in 16th position in the Open 600 (19th on the combined grid) with a new outright Personal Best lap time of 1:39.595 and qualified in 3rd position in Supertwins (6th on the combined grid) with a new Twins Personal Best lap time of 1:41.531.
Onto the races and first up was the Open 600 race. After a good start we settled into the race and found that very quickly the race split up into distinct chunks/battles throughout the field. In our particular battle there was a group of four riders, but we just couldn't find a way to make a move passed battle-leader Mark Walker - despite lapping a second slower than our qualifying time - and we crossed the finishing line in 12th position.
Sunday Race Day
On the Sunday morning we decided to take the Aprilia out for the practice session. We headed out near the front of the group and managed to get a collection of clear laps in, which was a great change! A 1:42.7 lap showed that we were suitably warmed up for the day ahead.
Open 600 Race 2 was our first race of the day. When the race started it once again formed into a series of mini-battles. We pushed as hard as we could and finished the race in 13th position. In the race we also set a new outright Personal Best lap time of 1:39.246 (which would be our quickest lap of the weekend).
In case you were reading this report and thinking that our Open 600 results were lower than usual, it was because there were a number of BSB competitors at this meeting - getting in some practice before the British championship round takes place next month. In this particular race, the race winner Ash Barnes took a staggering 0.9 of a second from the club lap record when he set a 1:31.134 lap time - these guys really are on another level!
We were coming towards the end of the (very hot) weekend now and in Open 600 Race 3 we got a fantastic start. At the first corner Scott Key got punted off track and ran onto the grass at high speed before later rejoining. As had become customary this weekend, we joined the 4-rider pack - but this time were at the rear of it. Regardless of what we tried, we couldn't work our way through. To make matters worse, on the penultimate lap, Scott Keys came passed and pushed us back another spot. When the chequered flag dropped, we were classified as the last point-scorer in 15th position.
The carnage at the hairpin created a gap both in front and behind us, but before long we caught up with some PI600/Classic Superbike riders which we couldn't get passed. With a look behind showing that we had a gap, we took the opportunity to pull some wheelies at the mountain on the last couple of laps! During the race we set a 1:41.585 lap time, which was just outside our PB lap time. We crossed the line to take 2nd position and some much-needed championship points!
NG Supertwin Championship Standings (Top 5)
1st - David Carson 233
2nd - Edward Giles 163
3rd - Steve Moody 161
4th - Paul Williams 75
5th - Craig Neve 50
5th - Louis Dawson 50
NG Open 600 Championship Standings (Nearest)
10th - Pete Wyatt 64
11th - Bevan Plumley 53
12th - David Carson 52
13th - Aaron Silvester 45
13th - Kier Armstrong 45
13th - Mark Walker 45
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
Our next race meeting will take us to Round 6 of the NG Road Racing championships at the iconic Castle Combe circuit. Before then, our AiM Solo 2 DL should have arrived - so we will provide some further details regarding the hardware installation and (hopefully) the CAN wiring integration on the Aprilia RS660 Trofeo, so that we can capture some more lovely data... :-)