There was a wet start to the weekend for Goole racer, Charlie Atkins at Oulton Park. Atkins, competing in the tenth round of the Hel performance Motostar British standard class championship, struggled to get a good set up with his Honda NSF250R and finished in tenth. By the afternoon the rain had stopped but the track was still wet. Having gone out to test the circuit, Atkins noticed a dry line forming and called in to change to slick tyres. He was still not comfortable with the bike set-up so the team made several adjustments. He ended free practice two in seventh position with a lap time of 1:51.974.
First thing Saturday morning Atkins was out for an extended qualifying session. Being the first out on track the Motostar riders had to be patient before looking to improve their lap times. During the forty minute qualifying session Atkins slowly increased his speed as his familiarity with the track conditions increased. On his final flying lap he clocked 1:57.646 on the wet track to qualify sixth for the first standard class race.
Atkins made a good start to the race but in the second corner was forced to sit the bike up and lost a place and a lot of time. Later in the race he caught the group in front who were battling for fourth position. Atkins overtook one of the group and was homing in on another before a backmarker delayed him. He went on to cross the line in sixth position, just over half a second behind the rider in fifth. His lap times meant he would start one place higher on the grid for race 2.
Just before the second 10 lap race began it started to drizzle. All the riders opted for wet tyres. Atkins immediately began to struggle with his rhythm in the poor conditions especially at the Cascades part of the circuit. Unable to maintain the pace in the wet he brought the bike home in ninth place.
Charlie Atkins said, “In the first race I managed to get into a group of about four riders. We seemed to be very evenly matched so it was difficult to find a way past. I’m not sure what happened in the second race. I think I lost a bit of confidence in the conditions and couldn’t keep a consistent lap time. I managed to keep fifth in the championship. I’m hoping for some better results at Assen. Thanks to all my supporters and sponsors.”
Photo: Kerry Rawson