With practice and qualifying held under clear blue skies and warm temperatures, the technically demanding Croft circuit would be a huge test for all the competitors but Conor was more than up to the task and eighth in opening qualifying saw the Manxman line up on the provisional second row, just over seven tenths of a second off pole position. Final qualifying proved to be even tougher and with 37 riders out on track, getting a clear lap was proving difficult and Conor was unable to improve on his first session time. A number of riders did though and Conor was pushed back to eleventh and the third row.
A strong start in the race, held in considerably cooler conditions, saw Conor move up to ninth but when Sam Warren crashed heavily in front of him it caused a split in the pack and allowed the front group of seven riders to break away.
That left Conor embroiled, just as he had been at Cadwell, in a six-man dice for the lower leaderboard positions and he was pushed back to tenth on the sixth lap by a charging Victor Cox. Positions were frequently changing hands and with just four laps to go, Conor found himself back down in 12th but his determined riding saw him fight back strongly and in the closing stages he overhauled both Luke Quigley and Marshall Neill to claim a hard fought tenth at the end of the 15-lap race. The 6 points saw him move on to a total of 62 points and maintain his ninth place overall in the Championship table.
Talking about the race Conor said: "It was another tough day at the office and I can't push any harder but I'm certainly appreciating how to ride a bike hard from start to finish and I'm constantly learning about both myself and the bike.
Practice was tough and with so many bikes on the track it was practically impossible to get a clean lap and each time I was on a fast lap someone got in my way - I really think the blue flags should be used more - so it was extremely frustrating. I felt I could do better than 11th and made a good start in the race to give myself a chance but when Sam went down in front of me, it split the pack and we lost the tow. There was too much of a gap to make up but I rode to the best of my ability throughout the race and the top ten was the best we could really hope for. We're all giving 150% and from every angle of the team, everyone's giving their all and you can't ask for more than that. I'm consistently finishing in the top ten but I'd like to be further up the field for sure so that's what we'll be aiming for in the final two rounds."
The team stays in Yorkshire for this weekend's Steve Henshaw International Gold Cup meeting at Oliver's Mount, Scarborough where team boss and circuit specialist Ian Lougher will be in action.
Picture by Glynne Lewis