The start of the day saw thick fog. But that soon lifted to leave us with qualifying that was, in fact, a dry session. Again they stuck the Formula 400s and 600 Superstocks out on track together, which gave Leon his usual headache. He opted to go out in the 400s on the 400, and then going out in Formula 600s on his R6 (which was making its maiden voyage in the new colours). So how did we all do? Well, Leon was predictably on the front row in the 400s and rode a blinder on the R6 to stick it on pole for the Superstocks. Amazing! Mike headed up the second row, Gordon headed up row three and James headed up row four. I also made row four along with James. So not a bad session all round really! Oh, and Freddy wasn't out to play this time but hopefully will be there for the race of the year.
After a lot of rainfall, and a change of tyres, race one got under way. The very wet conditions were always going to be tough, but we all seemed to get away well. Leon did the usual trick of disappearing off out front, with Mike in second place (it was wet after all). The rest of us were well placed mid-pack, with James pulling in after a couple of laps with a suspected problem. We hadn't been in to the race that long when there was a faller (Simon Hedges) at Edwinas. It seemed pretty serious so a red flag was called and we all lined up for a restart. The restart was a similar scene to the first. Leon leading right from the off to take victory (and the Paul Vincent Trophy). Mike again moved up to second for a while, before being edged out to an excellent third place. Gordon rode well to eighth place and some more points, and I managed to sneak my first championship point with a tenth place finish. Didn't we do well!
Race two was also a wet one. The rain hadn't stopped all day, but at least we didn't have the last minute panic of changing tyres again. We lined up on the grid in our race one finishing positions. Which put Leon and Mike on the front row, Gordon on the second row, and yours truly on the row three. James' DNF meant he had to start at the back of the grid. Again we all got off to good starts. Leon out front again, with Mike settling in closely behind in third, which he held for the entire race. I had the start of my life and somehow found myself up to seventh for half of the race, but fell away slightly towards the end (which I'm blaming on the quickshifter!) I still managed another championship point for a tenth place finish though. Gordon again took a well deserved eigth place and yet more points in the bag. Leon could have taken the championship if he'd won race two. But a contentious overtaking maneuver during yellow flags relegated him to second place. These things happen, and he gets to enter the race of the year with his huge championship lead in tact. One more solid ride needed to bring the championship home, which would be nothing less than he deserves. Good luck for the final round!
Here's a fun little taster of the 400 action:
Mike is now guaranteed a third place in the championship after Simon Hedges' misfortune (who we all hope has recovered from his race one spill). This is great for Mike who has ridden consistently all season, no matter what the weather decides to do. He now goes in to the race of the year with an outside chance of going one better and claiming the second spot...we'll just have to wait and see.
So how did Leon get on in the 600s then? Well an excellent second place in race one followed by a sixth in race two was great. Both races had their challenges but Leon rode well and has now moved up to second place in the 600 Superstock championship. Awesome! He now has the chance to take this title too if all goes to plan. This will be tough, considering Leon's missed two rounds this year, but to find himself in such close contention for the title (now only 3 points behind the leader) is just brilliant! Well done mate!
(Mike was the cover boy on the programme)
(Leon and Mike with their usual barrow-load of silverware)
(The R6 looked amazing)
(Leon breathes heavily down Matt Woolridge's neck)
(James got another second place in the novice race)
(It was great to see Myles, from Manbat, with his wife Louise and son Monty joining in all the fun)
(Monty looked very comfortable on one of the 400s)
(Thank you for all the support we get from everyone)