Round Two Oulton Park
Conditions for qualifying were cold and damp, but the Reeves Brothers banged in five quick laps on the Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki and then sat back. Chris Walker/Ashley Hawes and the Kershaw/Clark pairing ran at the front until the closing stages, when the reigning champions Stevens/Charlwood put the JG Speedfit Kawasaki into second.
Amazingly, in fourth place were the Birchall Brothers with a very rapid 600cc Yamaha LCR just one second off the pole position time.
Late in the day, in gloriously sunny conditions the pack charged into Old Hall Corner with the pole men just edging it ahead of Stevens/Charlwood and a tooth and nail scrap between Walker/Hawes and Kershaw/Clark.
The Birchall Brothers were less fortunate and did not make the most of their third row start on their Mitchells of Mansfield Yamaha. They were down in around eight place at the end of lap one with it all to do.
Tim and Tristan Reeves
Gary Horspole and James Connell were forced to pit without completing lap with a coolant leak and steam everywhere.
Similarly, Neville Jones retired his Yamaha on the opening lap with mechanical issues.
Next to retire on lap three, after running in fifth place were Andy Peach/Ken Edwards with a front brake problem. Their Suzuki was off the pace, but they were certainly giving it a good go before the gremlins struck.
Ben Holland and Stuart Ramsay were very much in the hunt at the sharp end before a spin dropped them onto the grass and out of the race, and team-mates Archer/ Thomas were once again plagued with the electrical fault which had ruined their weekend.
Ricky Stevens and Ryan Charlwood
The front four opened a gap, with the leaders six seconds ahead at one point.
This was to be reduced to less than four seconds at the flag, but a late charge by the reigning champions was to be denied them as the red flag came out after ten laps, when Sam Nicholas exited Brian Gray's outfit, bowling over and over down the track.
Steve Kershaw/ Stuart Clark
A stunning mid-pack scrap raged between the Founds Brothers Pete and Alan with their respective passengers Jevan Walmsley and Tom Peters who were sandwiching the Santander Salt Kawasaki of Gary Bryan/Ben McBride.
These three outfits became the focus of the TV cameras as they vied for track position.
Birchall by this time was in fifth, later to be promoted to fourth when sensationally, Chris Walker ran out of fuel with nine laps completed.
Ben and Tom Birchall on the 600
Mention needs to be made of a great early effort by Phil Bell/Tony Belsey which was curtailed in the closing stages when an old wrist problem returned for Belsey. They were obliged to ease the pace and eventually retire.
Other retirees included John Holden/Mark Wilkes with a rear suspension bolt shaking loose, and of course the luckless Brian Gray who's passenger had parted company twice in the weekend.
1 – Reeves/Reeves (Carl Cox Motorsport Kawasaki)
2- Stevens/Charlwood (JG Speedfit Cool Kawasaki)
3- Kershaw/Clark (Express Tyres/Blinkbonny Kawasaki)
4- Birchall/Birchall (Mitchells of Mansfield Yamaha)
5- Founds/Walmsley (Trustland Construction/Rowtech Engineering Suzuki)
6- Alan Founds/Tom Peters (Brian Gray Powerbiking Yamaha)
7- Gary Bryan/Ben McBride (Santander Salt Kawasaki)
8- Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney (Dave Holden Racing Suzuki)
9- Rod Robinson/Shelly Smithies (Robinson Racing Suzuki)
10 - Sam/Adam Christie (Christie Engineering Services Honda)
Reeves – 75 MacLaurin - 17
Stevens – 60 Robinson - 17
Kershaw – 48 Cable - 15
Bryan – 27 Nicholls - 13
Walker – 26 Archer - 12
Holland – 22 Jones - 10
Bell – 18 Horspole – 9
Founds/Peters – 25
Christie – 17
Lambert – 12
Birchall – 10
Founds/Walmsley – 7
Blackstock – 4
Following a summer break, actions resumes for round three at Knockhill 16-18th June
Watch it on Frontrunner TV May 20th on Freeview 91/Freesat 250 and Sky 468
Media Matters Barry Nutley