PHIL Atkinson ruled the opening GP Originals round of the season as riders descended on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit alongside Thundersport GB.
The growing Post Classic Grand Prix Series produced a superb turnout with 36 entries, just two bikes shy of a capacity grid. And fears of snow and poor March weather were put to rest with a glorious sunny Friday test and Saturday race day.
Timed qualifying saw Phil Atkinson’s Rose MOT Centre TZ350 top the timing sheet with a 52.7sec lap. The superbly period 350 machine of Glen English, however, clocked a very close second at 52.973sec and Gary Vines in third and heading up a strong field of 250s at 53.284sec.
The race one start filled the air with two-stroke smoke as a dozen rows of bikes took off for their 12-lap charge.
Glen English, known for his first lap speed, got his Steve Carthy Racing TZ350 off to a fine start taking the lead for two laps. Gary Vines took an early second spot on his 250 but Atkinson soon took over at the head of the field, with Mike Smith’s Smiffs Garage TZ350 dicing with English for the runner-up spot until a lap nine retirement.
The 250s of Rich Grinling, Steve Pond and Roy Flower all slotted inside the top 10 as Atkinson took chequered flag from English and Vines.
This set a familiar pattern for the front runners with the South African topping the table again in race two, followed by English and Vines.
The TZ250 of Grinling claiming 2nd 250 and Jamie O’Brien 3rd aboard an EMC Rotax – the only non-Yamaha machine amongst the field.
Sunday was much colder but the racing was just as hot.
In both 14 lap races, Phil Atkinson took the win from English, 250-mounted Vines and Chris Moore on the JL Exhausts 350.
Grinling and O’Brien rounding out the top three of the 250 field. English delivered another holeshot and early race lead in the afternoon as the sun began to come out.
*Images: Colin Port