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Round 8, PF International – October 5th, 2014
Tom Wood claims the 2014 title at the final round at PFi by a whisker
Tom Wood had arrived at PFi effectively holding a lead of two points over Teddy Wilson. The pair couldn’t afford to ignore Zac Robertson who was more than capable of producing an outstanding result here. Also in the reckoning, mathematically at least, were Kiern Jewiss, Dexter Patterson and Lewis Thompson. With 50 entrants to accommodate, five Heats were required. Lorcan Hanafin secured a narrow win in the first of these, but almost lost out when Kiern Jewiss and Zac Robertson both charged through from rear grids to fall just inches short at the finish line. Hanafin’s performance in Heat 2 was rather more impressive as he gained 22 places before losing out to Ben Wooldridge by a mere fraction. Van Knapton finished a yard or so further back in 3rd spot. Next time out Wood, Thompson and James Taylor were involved in a photo finish with Wood finally getting the verdict ahead of Thompson. Heat 4 produced yet another tight finish, as Edgar held out Robertson and Thompson.
Jewiss won the last Heat by a comfortable margin from Hanafin, with Finlay Bunce claiming 3rd spot. Brandon Martland won an exciting ‘B’ Final, with Bray Kenneally, Klaas Kooiker and Harry Foster joining him as qualifiers. Hanafin claimed his first ever pole position in a Little Green Man ‘A’ Final, starting this race alongside Jewiss. Setting off behind these two were Wood, Finlay Bunce, Teddy Wilson, Jonny Edgar, Thompson and Joe Turney. Zac Robertson knew that he had it all to do as he sat on the grid 15 slot. Hanafin made a clean start from the lights but soon found Wood pressing hard behind him. Jewiss lost out to Wilson and Edgar, as Wood hit the front. After a couple of laps had been completed Edgar took over the hot seat, dragging Wilson along with him. Robertson had been picking up placed at a rapid rate and he soon displaced Hanafin in 3rd position. Edgar, Wilson and Robertson began working together, so that a gap of around ten yards appeared before Thompson took over 4th place. At this stage, Wood was back in 6th spot, some 20 yards or more behind the leaders. If things remained that way, then the title would be Wilson’s. By half distance, Thompson had caught up with the leading bunch.
He swiftly moved up into 2nd position, compromising the lines of both Wilson and Robertson so that they suddenly found themselves 25 yards or more behind the leaders. That suddenly elevated Turney to 3rd place. With six laps still outstanding Thompson took the lead, as Wood moved ahead of Wilson and Robertson. The championship was now very finely balanced. Crouching low, Wood was trying desperately to reduce a gap of 15 yards or more that the leading trio had established. Wilson, meanwhile, seemed happy to sit behind him and await his opportunity later on. Robertson, back in 6th, knew that he had to get amongst the leaders. With less than two laps remaining, Edgar outsmarted Thompson into the left-hand hairpin and took the lead. A few corners later, though, he lost out to Turney. The three leaders headed down the main straight to begin their final tour, with Wood still more than 10 yards adrift in fourth. Edgar moved back into the lead under the bridge, but suddenly he had eight others all pushing hard behind him.
Wood decided that he had nothing to lose and made a seemingly outrageous manoeuvre that took him to the front. Robertson followed through but Wilson suddenly saw his championship chances disappear when Turney knocked him off the circuit. Onto the main straight, Robertson tried desperately to get his kart alongside Wood, with Edgar just a few feet behind. Wood’s raised hands told us that he’d managed to hold on, but just 0.04 seconds actually separated them. It later emerged that Robertson had set the fastest lap, thus gaining an additional trophy and two bonus points. If he’d actually gone 0.05 seconds quicker on that final lap, the championship scores would have been tied. By such narrow margins are these things often decided. As it was, Tom emerged as the seventh different winner from eight rounds and he could celebrate a well earned title victory, too. “On balance I’d have to say that Tom deserved his title win and there’s certainly no shame in us finishing second to a driver who started the year as a clear favourite,” said Fusion Motorsport boss Dan Hazlewood.