A trio of riders led the pack in NG Road Racing’s Into the Blue Customer Experience 600 class as the series kicked off at Brands Hatch last weekend.
National Superstock 600 interloper Max Symonds, National Superstock 600 podium threat Sam Thompson, and 2015 Isle of Man TT Privateers Champion Dan Cooper all turned up champing at the bit for victory in the middleweight division.
It was Thompson who struck first with a lights-to-flag win in Saturday’s qualifying race, and as the Bournemouth-based Kawasaki rider headed into the distance, Symonds came from a near-back row start through almost 25 riders into the runner-up spot with Cooper just behind.
But silver wasn’t enough for the Salisbury speedster, and starting from a much more favourable second spot on the grid, he was able to hold the lead from the word go, squeezing out an eight second gap and leaving Cooper to fend off Thompson by a handful of bike lengths.
It was either a holy day at the following dawn or just the vast experience and British 125GP championship under his belt that allowed the rider affectionately known as ‘Ferret’ to push his Honda to the front.
Stroud’s Cooper had Symonds for company through the entirety of the weekend’s second qualifying race, but the latter couldn’t quite make the pass, and settled for second 0.7 seconds in arrears with Thompson a further 4.5 seconds back.
With the trio level on a win apiece, it was all to play for heading into the final race of NG’s first round of 2017.
Unfortunately for Stock 600 boys Symonds and Thompson, there was no stopping Cooper as he was hell-bent on doubling up his win tally, and did just that with another passless performance.
While the road racing regular may not make every round of his home club’s season, he sits level on 45 points with Symonds, as Thompson trails by 13 heading into next month’s Oulton Park round.
*Image: EDP Photo News