Opie Oils Sponsored Rider Ben Harrison write up of Castle Combe Round 6 & 7 Race Report

This is a write up from Ben Harrison of round 6 & 7 of the 2015 Formula 400 championship.

After a long break since Oulton Park I headed to Castle Combe to continue the attack on the 2015 Formula 400 championship.
Castle Combe is a track I have very little experience with having only raced there once in 2013 and if I’m honest I didn’t enjoy it at all, so I wasn’t sure what the weekend was going to have in store.
I was also riding the Averys Motorcycles Honda cbr1000rr in the powerbikes race on the Saturday, it was my first time riding the bike and riding a 1000cc super bike so it was going to be a wild ride!

Morning practice was dry and warm, I took to the track quite quickly and started getting my braking points and apex’s dialled, the bike was feeling great and the gearing was perfect.
I started the qualifier 2nd on the grid and got a great starts heading into the first corner in the lead, I got my head down on the first lap and tried to get into a rhythm. The bike was going so well I completely got into the zone, I assumed that I wasn’t getting away from second the whole race as I knew he had a fast bike so I dint look behind until I had crossed the finish line in 1st place….with almost a 10 second lead! My best lap time was only 0.8 seconds off the lap record, I couldn’t believe it, it pumped me up so much and I was ready to bring the same form into the final and try and set a new lap record.
Unfortunately luck wasn’t on my side in the final race, I got another good start entering the first corner in 2nd place but on the exit, PING! my throttle cable snapped and I was forced to retire, I was gutted as I knew I had the pace to win.
All I could do was regroup for the Sunday.

I had a great ride out on the Cbr1000rr in the powerbikes, with it being my first time on the bike and riding something with that much power I was obviously tentative, but had a good ride in the morning qualifier. I used this race to get more comfortable with the bike and then try to push a little more and get a good result in the final. I finished the qualifier 26/33 which I was hugely happy with.
In I felt far more comfortable on the bike which allowed me to push more throughout the race, getting quicker and quicker each lap. I manage to catch and pass the pack in front of me and crossed the finish line 24/33. I’m hugely proud of this achievement having only ridden the bike for the first time that morning and had never ridden anything with that kind of power before.

the morning qualifier was seriously wet after a downpour before the end of morning practice, the track had recently been resurfaced and reports from other riders were that it was extremely slippery.
Due to not finishing the Saturday final I had to start the qualifier from 30th, dead last on the grid, I had to ride extremely hard in the first lap to get through the pack and managed to get 5th by the end of the first lap. i set about passing the group ahead and then got my head down pulled a decent gap and finished the race 3rd with the 2nd fastest lap of the race.
The weather cleared up for the final and with a 2nd row start I was confident I could battle for the win from my previous form on the Saturday. I got another great start and headed into the first corner in 2nd place behind Tim Bradley, half way through the lap exiting hammer down corner I got great drive and passed Tim for the lead. I knew I had to really push as soon as I got the lead as Tim had a very quick bike and Castle Combe is notoriously a power favoured track.
I kept the lead for the rest of the race crossing the finish line for my first win of the season, 6 seconds ahead of Tim.

I’m absolutely buzzing from the race weekend and my first formula 400 win since march last year. Definitely hungry for more wins now!

Opie Oils wants to say a massive congratulations and wish Ben the best of luck for the rest of the season.

– Oilman

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