HARLEY Prebble beat defending champ James McHardy to all four wins as the as the Suzuki GB Motul Bandit Challenge descended on Snetterton.
But it was an eventful second round for the entire Formula Prostocks Racing paddock as freezing track conditions, oil spills and unusual engine blow-ups played havoc with a handful of riders.
Despite suffering what transpired to be cracked ribs sustained in a crash during Fridays testing, McHardy continued his ongoing battle with Prebble throughout the weekend as the pair locked out the top two podium spots.
Prebble and McHardy dominated in race one, with Prebble coming out on top by 0.099sec while Carl Smalley narrowly beat John Ward to take third. From last place on the grid, Nick Waite put in a strong ride to come through all the way to ninth, just ahead of newcomer Mark Wardle who rounded out the top 10.
Conditions improved slightly for race two and while McHardy led for much of the scrap, a slide in the latter stages allowed Prebble through for his second win. Ward took a hard fought third after a close battle with David Greenwood, who was right on his tail and fending off a hard charging Lewis Rees with Smalley, Allan Jones and David Hatswell covered by little more than a second.
Close racing flooded the field and hovering just outside the points regularly, Doc Rogers narrowly beat Elliott Peach to take his first point of the season.
Worsening conditions for the first race on Sunday led to a red flag on lap one as numerous riders fell prey to the tricky conditions. But Prebble took victory in the shortened restart, again ahead of McHardy with Smalley third and newbie Wardle in fifth. Further back, Callum Emms chalked up his first top 10 finish.
Prebble completed his clean sweep after a win in the final race over his injured nemesis McHardy. Smalley bagged another third, while Hatswell improved his points tally with fourth ahead of Ward in fifth. Peach and Rogers resumed their earlier tussle for final honours before Peach came out on top to pinch his first championship point by 0.4sec.
John Tatham was again in charge of the FP1 class on his Harris Magnum Suzuki, while FP2 and FP3 runner Nigel Manning-Morton took Saturday’s race on his Bike Torque RC30 before Lewis Rees bagged Sunday’s spoils on the Performance Self Drive CBR Honda.
FPR bosses have given a special mention to Biff and the Pirate for working through the night as they helped replace riders’ blown engine. They, along with the Bandit paddock, Brian Warburton a speedy recovery following his serious crash during Fridays testing.
The series now heads to Donington Park for rounds five and six on 11 and 12 May.
*Images: Hairy Beast Pix