Riders return to Oliver's Mount

Oliver's Mount was once again the glorious setting as racing returned – but this time there were two different Shropshire stars taking on England's only road race course.

Bishop's Castle's Barry Furber and Alun Brooks, from Welshpool, made their way to Scarborough to compete in the Gold Cup.

Furber was still making his comeback after breaking his hand earlier this year while Brooks was returning to the 2.43-mile track for just the second time.

Brooks came armed with his Classic ZXR in the Superbike class and a Kawasaki Z650, from HeaTTech Racing IOM, for the supertwin races.

And he said with the last visit still fresh in the back of his mind, he knew the layout better this time around and went on to set his fastest-ever time lap times – in between some hairy moments.

"I set out for the first supertwin practice session, steady away, as I’d never ridden that bike before," he said.

"Next was the big lump – the ZXR. It was only the third time I'd ridden that bike but I pushing a bit harder because I wanted to finish well.

"With not having a quick shifter in the ZXR, my left arm was starting to ache a bit but then it felt great to get on the supertwin, which is literally half the weigh.

"By the end of the morning I had knocked nine seconds off my first practice times so I went out in qualifying and put the supertwin on grid 12th out of 35 riders, so I was looking forward to race day."

However, things did not go quite so well during superbike qualifying because, after adjusting the front brake, he felt the front end tuck in slightly.

"I put my hand up to warn the riders behind me I was slowing down, however, midway through the next straight the front end completely locked up throwing me into the middle of the track," said Brooks.

"Panic set in I was going to get hit by the oncoming riders but I lucky didn’t get hit.

"We finally got the bike off the track but this made me miss the next qualifying for the supertwin class.

"With not knowing what had caused the brakes to lock up I decided to put the bike back in the van for the rest of the meeting."

Rain then followed overnight, making the track damp, but Brooks had already put on new cut slick tyres on the night before, so he went out and set a slower time, finishing mid-pack.

However, more bad luck followed as, in the holding area where officials were carrying out noise testing – where the limit is 105db – Brooks' machine was bellowing 115db.

"They didn't let me out on track with it being that loud so I had to wait seven hours for the next outing."

Once he was finally able to get out and race, Brooks managed to bring his Kawasaki Z650 home in eighth place.

"I was happy with that and by the Sunday it was a dry track again but very windy, so in the dangerous places they had yellow flags to warn the riders," he said.

"I got the start well and I had a few battles with a few riders, managing to outbrake them both on separate laps down Mountside."

Brooks finished seventh posting a personal best lap time of 1:56.9 around the 2.43-mile circuit.

Heading into the final race of the day, Brooks again got a good start again but was shoved out on the first corner.

It then took the Welshpool Wizard three laps to get past a rider but by that time there was a gap between him and the fastest racers out in front.

"I didn’t manage to close the gap so I ended up in eighth position," he said.

"For my second meeting at Oliver's Mount, it was good and my times had come down a good bit too.

"Thanks to Nige Humprheys from HeaTTech racing for the use of the supertwin, as well as Zak, Nick, Rob and Mike Cookson for the help through the weekend.

"Roll on Oulton Park for the Thundersport GB round."

Meanwhile, for Furber, the Gold Cup marked his first and last race meeting for 2020, due to Covid-19 and also his injury.

"It was my first time back on a bike since I smashed three bones in my hand eight weeks ago," he said.

"It was always going to be a tough time, racing three bikes I've never been on before – and with a far-from-perfect right hand.

"Obviously very rusty, I made the most of the track time and enjoyed the racing."

Furber managed to battle through the pain to finish in the top 10 in all races, which included a fifth in Supersport B-race on a Clem Davies Racing ZX6R, and an eighth in Classic Superbike race on a bike he had only collected a few days before the meeting.

"Massive thank you to my sponsors DC Auto Repairs Newtown, Morris Lubricants and Clem Davies for sticking with us this year and next," he added.

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