OULTON Park, the 2.6-mile circuit in Cheshire which has been used for racing since 1953, quickly established itself as a real test for riders and machines, with tight corners, climbs and descents making this a technically difficult track.

This was the venue for the penultimate round of the National Superstock 600 Championship at the weekend and another huge challenge for 16-year-old racer TJ Toms, from Puriton.

This was only his third race in the 600 class as he had to wait until his 16th birthday before he was eligible to compete, but he has already impressed with good qualifying performances and a best finish of 21st place.

Heavy rain was falling in the first of two practice sessions on Friday, and after just two laps Toms was caught out in the tricky conditions and slid off at the 90mph Old Hall Corner with both rider and machine tumbling into the air fencing.

Toms was unhurt in the incident, but his Kawasaki ZX-6R race bike suffered a broken swing arm and damaged petrol tank.

The bike was repaired in time for the second practice session, and in sunny and dry conditions Toms finished 28th.

Having lost valuable track time the team had little preparation for suspension set up before qualifying on Saturday, but despite this Toms improved his lap time by almost two seconds to finish 26th and start from row nine on the grid.

In changeable conditions on race day, heavy rain started to fall just minutes before the start of the race but, with wet tyres fitted, Toms made a great start and battled hard for 12 laps before crossing the line in 18th position.

He said: “I thought I could challenge for a points-scoring finish but by half race distance my visor misted up and visibility was bad so after the crash on Friday I just wanted to bring the bike home safely.”

Toms will be back in action at Thruxton on October 7 in the North Gloucester Championship, but due to budget restraints the team will not be able to race at the final Round of the National Superstock Championship at Brands Hatch on October 15.

You can follow Toms’ and the team’s progress at tjtoms.com, on Twitter (@TJSquidge) or on Facebook (TJ Toms Racing).