Round 8: the final race weekend of the season in the south-west
The final round of the 2014 Dunkeswell KRC Championship got underway under overcast but dry conditions and you could smell the tension as a number of championships were yet to be decided.
The Cadets took to the track first and this was probably the tightest championship to be decided. The main protagonists were Archie Brown and SW champion, Connor Merrifield . It was Brown who drew first blood after battling from 5th to take the lead on lap 5, only to lose it to William Elswood on the final lap. Brown had to settle for second with Jenson Watts claiming third. Merrifield battled hard from 14th but could only manage 6th.
In heat 2, it was a repeat for the Elswood and Brown who again finished first and second. The race was red flagged after title contender Merrifield, who had a great start, ended up visiting the barriers, firmly putting the advantage in Brown’s favour.
Brown launched himself off the heat 3 grid, taking 8 places on the opening lap. Ahead of him, Merrifield was on damage limitation duty and got up to second but was knocked back to 4th as Brown got past on lap 7, leaving him no time to recover. Charlie Knight took a well earned win with Brown just about sealing the championship with second place. Elswood was still there in third.
The final was a hard-charging affair as Elswood, Knight and Brown swapped the lead throughout the ten-minute final. Merrifield struggled in the midfield pack and while all this was going on, Jenson Watts was quietly storming through the field. At the flag, it was Brown who took full points and the championship by a mere 8 points from Merrifield. Watts put in the drive of the final to take second place after making up 12 places. Elswood took third.
In the MiniMax class, a familiar face was missing as the 2014 champion, Tommy Foster, went old school with his friend, Ross Deal and raced on a Junior TKM. This left the way clear for any of the remaining nine drivers to maximise on the opportunity although the smart money was Miss Holden and Miss Hepworth.
In heat 1, it was Paige Holden who took the flag after a lightning start saw her shoot from 5th to 2nd by lap 2, took the lead on lap 4 and holding it to the flag. James Knight quietly went about his business moving up to second whilst pole man Bradley Stevens lost some pace and found himself relegated to third.
In heat 2, it was Jemma Hepworth who showed her skills behind the wheel to lead from pole. But she lost the lead on lap 4 and battled to get it back and hold it to take the win. James Knight was there again crossing the line as the second MiniMax with Holden still there in third.
Holden was in the barriers at Pit Bend on the first lap of heat 3, but managed to get herself going again albeit right at the back of the of the pack. Out front, Foster and Deal were having their own battle having been shuffled through the grid. Jem Hepworth put in a superb drive to cross the line as the first MiniMax, only to be excluded for a restrictor anomaly. This promoted Joseph Holmes to the win with Bradley Stevens taking second with a great recovery drive from Holden securing her third. It was Holden’s day though as she stormed the final without being troubled by the TKM’s of Foster and Deal who disappeared at the lights. Hepworth put the drama of heat 3 behind her to take second despite starting in 10th. Knight finished off a good day with third.
In the Junior Max class, Izaac Channing wasn’t messing about and quickly went about taking the first 2 heats. Ceran Sokhi took a well deserved win in heat 3 but Channing was cutting through the field taking 9 places to secure 2nd place, and with that the championship. The final was fairly clear cut as Channing took the lead and held it to the flag to take the victory and confirm his place as a multiple class champion. Rob Ellis put in a great drive to come from 7th to take second relegating Ethan Ling to third.
Senior Max heat 1 and Stewart Baker took the victory with Ashley Lewis and championship contender, Josh Gray in third. Heat 2 and a visiting Josh Collings clinically carved his way through the pack to take the win from 14th on the grid. Tyler Weedon put in a great drive take second whilst his team-mate, Taylor Adams made it a Factory Racing 2-3 coming home in third. it was all change again in heat 3 as this time Leon Hilleard, chasing Gray for the championship, took the win with a strong drive from Dan Gould securing the RMS driver second place. Zac Jones, reigning Welsh champion, was third. The final was a hard fought affair but one which was comfortably won by Josh Collings. Behind him, Leon Hilliard had a last throw of the dice and took second but right behind him and just about to wrap up the championship was Josh Gray.
The Rotax 177 championship has been trundling along quite nicely and culminated in a brilliant last round. Championship leader Alan Moore was out to play it safe and maximise on the points available. Heat 1 went to Darren Lane with Moore taking second and Colin Davis crossing the line in third. In heat 2, the top 3 mixed it up a bit and this time it was Moore who took maximum points with Davis in second and Lane third. It was all change again in heat 3 as this time, Davis took the win with Moore in second and Lane again in third. Moore was untroubled in the final, leading from lights to flag to claim the 2014 championship. Lane and Davis rounded off the day with their fourth consecutive top 3 finish as Lane took second and Davis third.
Last up and after a season long battle to get a grid, Roy Beal’s efforts were rewarded as 6 drivers graced the grid for the final round. Unfortunately, Beal didn’t complete a lap in heat one after a lightning start saw him connect with the two front drivers which ended up with a bent axle and a bruised rib which forced him out of the rest of the meeting. Kenton Ashforth took the win with Rob Randall holding taking second. Ashforth again took the win in heat two with Goodliffe claiming heat three victory. Despite some attrition in the heats, the gearbox boys rallied round to ensure that they all, with the exception of Beal, made the grid for the final and put on a show. Ashford, despite a poor start, managed to regain the lead and held it to take the win. Randall fought hard to take second place but dropped out with mechanical issues promoting Goodliffe to second and Hasler to third.