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NGRRC Oulton: Weekend race preview

NGRRC Oulton: Weekend race preview


This spectacular 2.692 mile Oulton Park circuit is widely thought to be one of the most enjoyable yet demanding in the country. With high-speed sections allied to technically demanding corners, it is a circuit that tests the riders and machines to the limit. Every corner throws up it’s own challenge for bike and rider, some say it’s dangerous…..others say exhilarating !

Whatever they say we are he and we are here to race. The circuit favours brave hard riders, but if you don’t show the track respect it will bite back…. so beware.

In the Superbike classes defending Powerbike and Open champ Phil Bevan will be looking to continue his 100% podium record going. Phil has taken on all comers this year and hung with them all proving him a worth holder of the NG overall open title for the last two years. This meeting Bevan will face more tough challenges from NG regulars such as Roo Cotton who is now getting very close to taking a win on the DTR R1 in 2011.

Mark Compton’s all action style may not quite suit Oulton but his speed will, and he is on a real high after Mallory Park. Michael Blank has come closer than anyone has this year to getting the better of Bevan, although Oulton does not hold the best of memories for Blank. It was here three years ago that Blank ruled himself out of the battle for overall open honours with a massive practice crash from his GSXR 1000. He has the pace and the experience. Role into the equation, Chris Pope… Kevin Sweeney and having a rare outing Pete Jennings and the big bike races are due to be crackers.

As we move from the big ‘uns to the little ‘uns we check out the 125’s. Firstly the Formula 125’s with Max Symonds in a five-round-unbeaten-run which he will be looking to continue here. The 125cc GP class has taken a bit of a hit this year with low grid sizes, but we can look towards both Gavin Perkins and Andrew Fisher aiming for the 25 points for the win and close down the gap to Kyle Ryde and Jamie Ashby.

Dan Jackson on his TZ250 Yamaha will again head the 450 open entry, although Sian Brooks has got herself into a championship runner up spot now and is on the verge of her first 450 win.

As ever the Formula 400 class is a tight affair making the prediction of a winner a tough one. Shannon Hale has been in great form so far this year and heads the table, but mechanical problems have been plaguing her ZXR 400 recently allowing the fast improving class newcomer Max Alexandre to close right in. Max took his first race win last time out and in definitely up for more. Add in young Alistair Rowland-Rouse… Andy Whitehead and the experienced Roy Dewhurst and as I said picking a winner is not easy. Sticking wit the 400’s but now the road legal Streetstocks bikes and Ben Mardsen on his CBR400 is the pick of the field. Marsden is also the pick of the Mini Twins field too with four wins so far this year, but Matt Page on a similar SV has hit a run of great form and will be pushing for his fourth win of 2011.

There are two other streetstock classes on the packed programme, one for up to 700cc machines and one for the big 1300cc bikes. With the 700’s last years top newcomer Darrel Jones leads the way on his GSXR 600 but early season front runner Matt Billington should be back to full fitness after his huge Pembrey high-side and aiming to start racking up the wins to close down Jones’s points advantage. They are really the only two in the frame for the win as no one else has got anywhere near the top step on the podium so far this year. The 1300 class is much more wide open with Tom Louth... Phil Evans… Dave Beynon or Dan Millard all with race winning reputations to uphold. The Pre Injection fight will as ever see Adam Jeffery on his R1 and Phil Hacker oh the FJ1100 feature at the sharp end, but expect the Yamaha of Rob Garland to feature this weekend.

Historically the 600 class in just about the toughest to win and with six different winners from the seven rounds so far this year is no exception. R6 rider Jason Oakes has a slender lead over Jody Lees (the only double race winner), but Sam Middlemas is now back after injury as is Gary Lucitt. With Darrel Jones, Ricky Elder, Tom Russell and the experienced Pete Jennings also on the grid

In creasing in popularity at each and every round the GP45’s will see Chris Harrison on his Twin Aprilia SXV and Matthew Andrew on his Single GP Suzuki looking to rack up more wins.

Sam Middlemas (675 Triumph), Paul Willis (KTM RC8) and Duncan Gibson (1098) are the pick of the Sound of Thunder class….three very different bikes…. And three very different riders….but very evenly matched on track.

We have also got the ever entertaining Sidecars with Phil Larder and Ken Edwards heading the list on the 1000cc Windle Suzuki. The former series runners-up are looking to go one better this year and currently sit just 12 points off the series lead, a strong run this weekend could see their championship apparitions get a nudge in the right direction. Ralph Remnant and Ashley Moore lead the contenders in the Formula 2 class.

There are also the popular Post Classic on the grid this weekend, which is when you can see, hear and smell the 1980’s Grand Prix.

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