IT was a weekend of new lap records as NG Road Racing rolled into Castle Combe for the annual Grand National.
At least four class records flew out the window and along with the King of Combe battle, there was plenty of fierce club action.
In the Junior Supersport ranks, 14-year-old Finn Smart-Weeden dominated proceedings on the KDC Coatings EX400 Kawasaki heading home Jacob Stephenson on each outing. The F400 was a win fest for Ben Harrison as he took his BH Racing/Stuart Soanes ZXR to three wins over series leader Tim Bradley. Bradley though, in typical Bradley style – despite not taking a win – left with an increased points lead for the season long championship.
Shaun Wynne was having a great weekend with two podiums in the first two races but took a heavy tumble at Bybrook in the third coming off second best after a fight with the Recticel. He suffered a suspected broken collarbone, but still had enough energy to post Facebook pictures on Sunday night from his hospital bed with that trademark grin whilst under the influence of [medical grade] morphine
Not content with his dominance in the F400, Harrison notched up all three 500cc wins on the old ZXR. Despite James Seath not having the best of weekends, he battled away for points over both days and came away with an extended series lead.
Dan Harris continued his winning ways in the Mini Twins on his HP Racing SV Suzuki, and again as at Donington last time out it was over his brother Richard. The siblings now sit one-two in the championship table.
Defending Super Twins champion Paul Wardell headed up the field in their first two races of the weekend on the Bee Lighting ER6 Kawasaki but missed out on making it three wins over Charles Hardisty as his Kawasaki slowed on lap 2 of Sundays final race dropping him right out of contention. His ER6 then chimed back in, and he set about the chase, getting back to second place, but there was no way Hardisty on the Gas Assessment and Training ER6 was going to be caught as he took the win.
Local lad Chris Oliver took his Garage Trowbridge R1 to two wins and one second in front of his local supporters but was denied a third by Jon Wright, who pipped him on the Controls and Safety Kawasaki by just a bike length at the line in the 1300 Streetstocks.
The 700 class brought a resurgent Daniel Nelmes on his Paul Saunders R6, determined not to be beat again by Kurtis Butler, who has taken five wins in a row. After a hard fight, Nelmes bagged three wins with Butler getting closer with each race as the latter took the honour of fastest lap of the weekend for the 700 class.
True Heroes rider Benjamin Falla grabbed victory on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning aboard his 959 Panigale, both times over Owen Hunt. But Hunt knew that a good finish in the third outing would put him on top of the Sound of Thunder points table and was never headed on his 675 Triumph taking a win over Falla and Sam West, the latter aboard the stunning metallic silver liveried Louigi Moto 999 Ducati.
The Powerbikes went as expected with the wild-carding Josh Day on his old title-winning R1 taking all three, but Max Symonds rode with his head following Day home each time to extend his series lead. Symonds’ nearest challenger for championship glory is Chris Pope on the AFB R1. But Pope, a Combe lover, didn’t feel the circuit love as he suffered a huge high-side coming out of Tower, destroying his Yamaha. He raced the teams’ spare bike in the final race to grab a few points and came home a respectable sixth as Bob Collins grabbed his second podium of the meeting.
The 700 Pre injections was one class that did not have a single dominant rider and saw the wins shared between Harley Prebble on his Redneck Racing Bandit, Scott McGuire with his SBM CBR 600 and Tom Harrison now riding under the WSC Performance banner on his 600 Honda. However the same certainly could not be said in the 1300cc category as Sam Neate took his stunning RC30 to a string of wins over Phil Webber, Paul Williams and series leader Richard Stather. Stather left Combe with an increased championship lead as his nearest rivals David Fearnley and James McHardy finished down the order in all three races.
British GP2 front-runner and former Motostar champ Charlie Nesbitt rocked up on the E3 Motorsport KTM RC250, heading home all the 250 two-strokes that regularly fight it out for the national title. But former 125 National champ Gavin Mills now has his TZ250 sorted, taking Saturday’s win after series leader Phil Atkinson retired with mechanical issues. Mills headed home Nick Sansome and Steven Neate on Saturday, but Neate was in hot form on Sunday taking both races with Sansome, Atkinson and Chris Moore all making visits to the podium.
The 125 series was a battle between team-mates Ant Hodson and Tom Hayward on TSM/MDJ Hondas. Hayward has had the upper hand so far this year, but Hodson has more Combe racing miles under the belt and got the better of his rival in two of the three outings. Sian Brooks posted three more podiums to keep her points tally rolling.
Formula Prostocks include the Motul Suzuki Bandit challenge, as well as the FP1/2/3/4 classes for Classic Superbikes, as well as the Battle of the Twins machinery. Prebble continued his 2021 winning streak to make it nine from nine, but this weekend was not an easy one for the defending champion as Ian Agnew, Gary Cutts, Lee marks and Dave Crampton put the pressure on. Agnew was in red hot form and could so easily have taken his maiden win on Sunday, despite being a novice. Mick Godfrey was the best of the FP1s on his Harris F1, with Sam West topping the FP2s on a 999 Ducati and Tom Vear headed up the FP3s, each of them setting a new class lap record during Sunday’s events.
Scott Wilson and Steven Mason had three close fought affairs in the Ducati Desmo Due A class with Mason taking two, along with a new class lap record of 1:19.965, to Wilson’s one. It was a similar story in the B class with current series leader Brian Tipple taking one win, but his nearest rival Floyd Moody took two to close on Tipple in the title chase.
In the guest-class GP Originals, series rivals Atkinson and Ant Hart shared the wins in the 350 class. Meanwhile, Nigel Palmer was on target to take a hat trick of wins in the 250 but fell at Bybrook whilst leading in the final race letting Mark Linton take his first win of 2021.
With three categories for newcomer racers, George Edwards took his R6 Yamaha to victory in the Open class, whilst Darren O’Leary topped the Mini Twins on his SV as Andrew Glasgow took honours in the 500 class on his TZ 250 Yamaha.
At every NG round, one rider is selected for the Wiz Sliders Performance award, but for Combe former racer and sponsor Clive Flood, along with his wife Pam, also put up some special performance awards, as did this True Heroes rider and NG regular Dave Mackay.
This meant the club could reward three riders who stood out on track: Finn Smart-Weeden, Daniel Nelmes and Ian Agnew.