WARRINGTON'S Ben Dale is leading the Formula 600 series staged by Darley Moor Motorcyle Road Race Club.

He had strong competition from Hucknall’s multiple Stars at Darley winner Richard Cooper in Round Three at the Ashbourne circuit, Derbyshire.

After lap one, Cooper was languishing in 13th place, over 16 seconds behind leader Dale, who was enjoying a three-second lead over James Ford (High Peak).

Dale was able to extend his lead over Ford by around half a second each lap, but Cooper was ensuring spectators were not falling asleep and made rapid progress through the field with the help of setting the fastest lap of the day on lap seven and actually passing Dale for the lead on the penultimate lap.

But he made a mistake on the final lap and Dale pipped him to the flag by just 0.17 seconds, the closest finish of packed day of action on the track.

In the afternoon race, Cooper took his only victory of the day with a four seconds advantage over second-placed Dale.

Rounds four and five will take place on Saturday, July 2 and Sunday, July 3.

Formula 600 Championship table: 1st Ben Dale, 22pts; 2nd Richard Cooper, 19pts; 3rd Albert Walker, 18pts