With the first round at Brands Hatch sandwiched between two successful tests at Darley Moor and Kirkistown respectively, Conor is starting to get a feel for the Team Blackhorse Yamaha 2009 Superstock R1, and the team arrived at Oulton Park confident of a good result. The first qualifying session went well, with Conor slotting into 11th place just behind Marshall Neill and ahead of Cameron Donald. Second qualifying, as with the first, was held in dry conditions and again Conor rode consistently to finish 12th, giving him a combined qualifying place of 13th and a fourth row place on the grid. The competitiveness of the class being in evidence as only two seconds covered the first 15 places.
However, as seems to be the case at Oulton Park, the weather stepped in on race day to play a big part in proceedings, with wet, overcast conditions greeting the riders as they came to the line for the warm-up lap. Conor got off to a steady start and crossed the line in 12th place at the end of the opening lap as the conditions caught out Jimmy Storrar at Hizzys, thankfully without injury.
On lap two Conor dropped one place to 13th but just over a second separated him from tenth place man Neill, and a lap later and he was up to 11th with a lap of 1:55.100, behind him though Cameron Donald was the man on the move. On lap five Conor had moved up to a brilliant eighth place with Donald still threatening in tenth and indeed, a lap later the Aussie had relegated Conor to ninth as Hizzys claimed another scalp with Alex Gault parting company from his machine. For the next five laps Conor got involved in a two-man scrap with Marshall Neill for that ninth spot with positions changing hands on a couple of occasions. Behind them however a three man group was closing in, as Matt Layt, Dan Stewart and Ian Mackman decided they wanted a piece of the action and it was Layt on Lap 12 who got ahead of Cummins for 10th. Conor though was far from finished and on the next lap recorded his fastest lap of the race so far to move back in front of the Norfolk rider. As they crossed the line to start the final lap it was still Cummins just in front of Layt with Stewart and Mackman not out of things. However at Hizzys, Layt came to grief, again thankfully without injury, to leave Conor in a safe tenth, 2.6 seconds ahead of Stewart at the line.
A great ride by Conor in the type of conditions where experience and race craft are paramount, something both he and the team around him have in abundance. The 2009 season is still very much in its infancy and, in a championship where many racing laps lie ahead, safe points are of the utmost importance.
Next up for Team Blackhorse Yamaha is the first of the 'big three' internationals with the Kennedy International North-West 200, where team boss Ian Lougher will be joined by Sweden's Mats Nilsson.