We headed off on our 168-mile journey from Northwich on the Friday morning and managed to set-up near what is becoming our "usual spot" by the scruitineering bay, ready for the two-day event that is run by NG Road Racing.
We used the practice sessions to bed in new tyres and new brake pads and put in a best lap of 1’23.6. Our best ever lap around Castle Combe is a 1’20.1 - which was set on the Kawasaki Supertwin during our 2014 visit and then matched during our 2017 visit. So our target for the weekend was to finally break underneath the 1’20 barrier!
The Open 600 qualifying session was an amazing experience. The Kawasaki Supersport machine feels “just right” for Castle Combe - and going through the first corner flat out on the throttle stop in top gear and then watching the gear-change light flashing for a few seconds whilst heading towards turn two really gives a great sensation that you’re shifting! We set a 1’17.770 lap that qualified us in 21st place out of the 42-person grid (top half!), although worthy of note was that there were a number of British championship riders taking part in this event (because the British championship does not visit here) - including two former British champions!
The Open 600 race got going well but was red flagged on lap 2, which gave us the opportunity to drop one tooth from the rear sprocket (as we were bouncing off the rev limiter in top gear for many seconds!). After the restart, although the change helped slightly, we were still hitting the rev limiter for several seconds and maxing out at 143.0mph - so considered further gearing changes for Sunday’s races. Even though we were involved in a battle (so couldn’t put in a properly clean lap), we managed to reduce our 600 lap time down to 1’17.284 and finished 17th in the 600 race out of 35 finishers.
The last 650 Supertwin race gave us mixed emotions. It was a solid race with a group of riders having a great battle, but in the group were a mix of different race classes which, this time, didn’t work in my favour. We put in another 1’18.8 lap but we were sure that given a bit of a clearer run that we could have gone slightly quicker... Nevermind! The race itself was fun regardless and only waved yellow flags in the final section of the final lap dampened the fun (as no overtaking is allowed). We finished in 6th place but 5th place was a possibility. And for a change - as we are usually the ones capturing video footage - we feature heavily in John Dudman's video (below) for the first six minutes or so.