SUB zero temperatures and biting winds, with the occasional snow and hail, hit NG Road Racing riders as they rolled into Snetterton for their first round.
And the low track temps played havoc as riders skittled off track left, right and centre. Even NG’s top man Josh Day was not able to get within three seconds of what he is capable of.
But somehow, records were still broken as F400 ace Tim Bradley and Sound of Thunder rider Dave Sellers both set new marks en route to their respective class hat-tricks.
Bradley was in his usual dominant form in the Formula 400s despite being pipped for pole in qualifying by Bradley Richman. But Richman could not turn that into a win as once Tim was in his stride, he stretched out a comfortable lead on the A and Z Taylor FZR. Teen Richman pulled out of the third outing on lap one after he heard a few rattles from his ZXR, paving the way for Dan Hanby to take his best result of the year by grabbing the runner-up spot.
Richman was also out in the 500cc Open class where he took on his last round before moving up to a 600 for Cadwell, and the 15-year-old signed off on his Hel Performance 400 Kawasaki with an immaculate three wins from three starts over Elwyn Fryer and Roger Marsh.
Proving he has lost none of his will to win, the returning Sellers swept with three dominant wins and set a new Sound of Thunder lap record aboard his True Heroes Panigale, each time heading home teamster Dave Mackay on a similar 959 Panigale who fought with Ben Broadway all weekend. Mackay, the defending champ, is relishing having Sellers in the garage as he says it will spur him on to go quicker.
Sean Able took three F125 took three wins over the weekend on his immaculately turned out Hire Standards Aprilia RS125 to take himself to the top of the points table over rival James Chapman, who this weekend had to settle for the lesser pickings.
The 600cc Open brought a win apiece for Philip Wakefield on the Sandbach Scrap Metals R6, Ross Walker on his R6 and Owen Hunt on the rapid Paul Bland CBR 600, but none without their issues. After his race one win, Wakefield was a no show for the next race. Hunt was in a strong third in the second race before his CBR hit trouble and he nursed it across the line eventually ending up 13th, meaning it’s now Walker who leads the series.
Former champ Max Symonds looked like his campaign was getting back on track after two podiums, but his ZX6R came to a halt whilst pressing for a third podium.
It was a Josh Day demonstration again in the Open on his immaculate Dayo Racing R1, each time heading home True Heroes 959 Panigale runner Dave Sellers. Behind these two though there was very little to choose between Chris Pope, Rob Hodson, Dave Mackay and Leigh Corfield who all showed strong pace.
Leading the championship heading to Snetterton, AFB Motorcycles rider Chris Pope knew it would be tough to hang onto the top spot with reigning champion Day in his current form. Pope grabbed a second, third and fourth as Day predictably took all three wins. Rob Hodson, Chris Green and Leigh Corfield all secured podium finishes.
Reigning Mini Twins champion Paul Wardell comes equipped with a new ER650 Super Twin this year in his traditional Bee Lighting team colours, and despite a thinner grid than usual, he stamped his authority on proceeding taking all three wins and setting a new Super Twins lap record. Another class new boy Michael Rees and Edward Giles had no choice but to watch Wardell disappear into the distance.
Fast newcomer Olii Warren bagged the first to Mini Twins wins and he looked odds-on to make in a hat-trick, but in the third race Warren made a couple of mistakes and Dan Harris upped his pace as the two went head to head and elbow to elbow. Harris led into Murrays on the last lap, but Warren was in no mood to possibly miss out on a treble. But they went down together and Charlie Crawt snatched his first win in the series over Grant Seymour and Alan Stevens.
Three Streetstock 700 wins went the way of defending champ Dave Irons on his Tom Warner Racing R6, each time over 2017 champ Simon Bastable, who is getting back to full fitness after his Anglesey smash last year. Streetstock 1300 newbie Chris Oliver, who was later awarded the Wiz Sliders Performance of the Meeting accolade, bagged all three hard-fought wins on his Garage Trowbridge R1 over Jason Hill, John Wright and Daniel Boucher.
So far it has been a tale of two Daniels in the 700 Pre Injection as Jones and Nelmes continue to battle for the wins, but this weekend it was Jones on his Emlyn Garages R6 who had the upper hand with two wins to Nelmes’ one. But the Daniels didn’t end there – Boucher, a newcomer, took first blood on his LDW R1 in the 1300 Pre Injection ranks with Wayne Pither in close company and former 700 class multiple champ Wright in third. Wright struggled in the early laps, but after borrowing a new set of tyre warmers on Sunday his races were transformed as he did the double on his Controls and Safety R1.
Duncan Baillie and Scott Wilson were the pick of the field with a win each in the A class Desmo Due battle, but in the third outing a light shower at Nelsons caught out Wilson, allowing rival Baillie to grab a bonus set of points in the 620cc class. In the 600cc B category, Austin Lachlan continued his winning ways with dominant wins over James Topliss and Martin Tomkins to extend his championship lead.
Recent trackday convert Oliver took the Open Newcomer win over Daniel Boucher, while Warren snatched another Mini Twin Newcomer win on his Boutiqueolii SV650 ahead of Grant Seymour and Hayden Rushton. The sparse 500 field was easy pickings for Joe Talbot on his WMC 450 Aprilia.
*Images: EDP Photo News