"I couldn't have hoped for more from this meeting." It was a fine weekend's work for Matt Isherwood as he collected pole, two fastest laps, two wins and the Castrol Driver of the Day Award during the opening round of the 125 Open championship.

125 National

The full 2.172 miles of the Croft circuit would be a challenge for the drivers as most of them had not seen it before. With 22 Opens on the grid, being able to set a clear lap during the morning qualifying session on a track made greasy by rainfall would be another. Assisted by Chris Needham, Isherwood found that compared to short circuit trim, the bodywork of an Open produced "more gradual oversteer" in the wet.

His pole time was 0.34 faster than defending champion Ben Willshire. Next was Liam Morley at 1.40.556 and then Danny Edwards at 1.41.519. Making it to sixth, qualifying was "better than expected" for long circuit debutant Gareth Sheridan.

Whickham's Duncan Marshall had raced kitcars and had gained good experience during 13 lap races in the wet. Returning to the 125s after nearly ten years and just knowing he would be racing in January, he was "over the moon" to qualify fifth. Running a rebuilt engine, Danny Butler could only do two laps before it seized.

The 125s started ahead of the 250s on a dry track and dust was kicked up as they sprinted into Clervaux. Willshire made a good start but dicing with Liam Morley, he outbraked himself and would spend the rest of race being pursued by long circuit newcomer Tom Moore. He also collected the bump at the pit straight which made for a painful ride and "looking forward to the chequered flag by the end".

Moore made a move at the hairpin, but found with the headwind , he couldn't live with Willshire benefiting with a 6 mph advantage on the straights. On his way to third, Morley found his kart handling the same as it did last year, his Vortex engine had a "slightly different" inlet.

Butler made up for lost track time by moving up the field to sixth but then found the "only puddle on the circuit" and spun. He then lost his right rear wing on the pit straight after colliding with a 250 and would finish twelfth. Damian Sleep was "on the limit" with weight saving measures on his kart, including a new fuel tank and changed washers. He collided with a 250 and was left with a damaged sidepod after also collecting Jason Kitchin.

Away from the frantic action lower down the top ten, Edwards pursued Isherwood up at the front and was 2.8 seconds away by the end after having to fight his way past the backmarkers.

His kart was unchanged from last year apart from replacing his plastic floor with an aluminium one to improve stiffness and direction of airflow. Having raced on old tyres, he had a fresh set ready for the second. Isherwood changed to fresh tyres at the rear in order to cope with the bumpy back section at the circuit.

He had to cope with the challenge of Edwards just being millimetres away from him side by side on the pit straight during the second race. Edwards briefly grabbed the lead and after Isherwood got past, was hoping to continue the chase until at Sunnys, he hit a bump and lost the engine revs.

He briefly carried on before visiting the pits to retire. Isherwood was then left on his way to score a victory by a gap of 17.078 seconds. Despite the gap to the leader by the end, it would be a better race for Willshire, as he had got his head together after race one and had changed his gearing to improve by a second a lap. It was a "solid weekend" since last year's championship contenders had hit trouble in both races.

Val Fernandez was another long circuit debutant and he also enjoyed a better second race. During the first, he had petrol spray his visor and his wheels were vibrating. Lowering the nose by 3-4mm, it balanced the wheels and delivered better handling on his way to eighth.

Marshall was looking for a top ten finish and despite his kart being "hoppy", finished tenth in race one and eleventh in the second. After finishing ninth in race one, Sheridan was disappointed not to finish in race two after "running out of talent and locking the rears" to spin off the track on the second lap.

Having drove his kart up and down in the paddock to ensure the engine was safe, Butler again made progress and was up to third before the steering "starting shaking violently". "I didn't think I was going to finish," Butler said. "The left front wheel was pointing in an askew direction." He managed to nurse it to third place and just avoided falling into the clutches of Sleep and Louise Colin. Sleep had a "manic" last lap battling with Colin and beat her to fourth.

It was a challenging weekend for Colin. Having fitted a new metal framework to deal with the problems of last year, the kart was not going in a straight line when the brakes were applied and the race was treated as a test session. It would be a test for Gary Avrill to just arrive at the circuit. He had to sail to France and go through the Eurotunnel after the ferry to the mainland from Jersey was cancelled. He finished both races.

250 National

Croft would be Aaron Crowe's first circuit experience outside Darley Moor and despite having a 360 degree spin at the hairpin, he was the quickest of the 250s in qualifying. Despite his revclock not working during the first race and experiencing problems with the brakes, he finished first and secured the fastest lap. The revclock was working for the second race but not the radiator cap which was leaking and that led to retirement after eight laps in the lead. Kevin Ridley was irritated not to win in the second race after his engine was misfiring and after three laps, it cut out completely.

His Jade was running a centre post rear wing in order to reduce understeer. Sam Moss, in preparation for the Silverstone round, was testing a larger exhaust and compared to Oulton Park's Honda 05 barrel was running an 02 for Croft. A fuel pump was blamed for his retirement after four laps in race one. As well as the pump, the new SGH was a challenge for handling. "There's a lot to play around with altering the front end," Moss said. He was in better spirits after finishing first of the 250s in the second race: "We can take it forward from here."

The Most Improved Driver of the Day Award went to Neil Goldthorpe who was driving his first ever superkart race in last year's SGH. Problems with the electrics occurred in qualifying and he retired in the first race after four laps. During the second race, he was 11 seconds a lap quicker on his way to seventeeth.