A massive Oulton Park crowd were treated to a Bank Holiday racing extravaganza as the British Superbike circus roared into Little Budworth, writes Kevin Hughes.
A trio of local riders were in action as Chester-born Jenny Tinmouth and Frodsham's Howie Mainwaring-Smart competed in round three of British Superbikes while Backford's Joe Francis took to the track in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship.
On her home track Tinmouth finished 25th and 26th on board her Honda Racing Fireblade and improved her race times, something which left the 35-year-old from Ellesmere Port in positive mood.
She said: "I've had a really good weekend here at my home round. We've been working on a few things and I've been trying to concentrate on my riding style and other bits I should be doing and through that I've been getting more and more consistent.
"I'm feeling really good now on the CBR and improving my race pace, plus I set my fastest lap of the weekend on the final lap, which is really good for me. We now have something to work on at the test and going into the next round."
Mainwaring-Smart continued his impressive start to the season as he scythed his way to ninth in race one and sixth in race two to pick up further points and ensure he sits ninth in the standings going into the next round at Snetterton in June.
And one of the races of the day saw teenager Francis finish on the podium with a hard-fought third in the Superstock series after finishing in average speed of 95.983mph.
Francis, who is studying A-level PE and engineering at Neston High School, races a 600cc Yamaha for Team Traction Control which is owned by Prodigy vocalist Keith Flint, went into the weekend sitting third in the championship after a third place finish at the opening Donnington Park round and seventh at Brands Hatch.
But, hoping for a race win, he arrived at his ‘home’ Oulton Park circuit in confident mood despite still feeling the effects of a Brands Hatch practice crash which left him sore.
He said: “I qualified fourth on the grid and was confident of a race win. I got away well and was challenging for the lead when Tarran Mackenzie out-braked me and came across me at the Hislops chicane.
“I had to take to the slip road to avoid an accident and that cost me a load of places and time. I fought back to third but couldn’t quite get up into the lead. I just needed a few more laps before the chequered flag.”
He added: “I came away from Oulton Park still second in the championship but only a point off second. The task now is to start getting some race wins and close the gap on Mason Law from Benfleet who has won all three races so far.”
Taking the chequered flag just under six seconds behind the race winner after the 14 lap race Francis had to defend his third place in the closing stages with fourth place Malachi Mitchell-Thomas less than half a second adrift.
Francis will be hoping the next round of the championship, which will be held at the World Superbike meeting at Donington Park over the weekend of May 22-24, will bring him his first win of the season as he looks to take another step up the ladder toward motor cycle racing stardom.