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Snetterton 7th & 8th May 2016
Layton extends lead as Hassall takes overall honours
Jack Layton retained his championship lead at Snetterton last weekend with two more wins but it wasn’t straighforward. In race 1 he started from the back of the grid due to a fuse problem in the timed qualifying session. Gavin Bennett claimed pole position despite nursing a wrist injury, sustained while cycling the previous week. He was joined on the front row by Toby Davis, only 0.22s behind. James O’Reilly led the opening lap from Bennett and Davis with Dan Clark chasing them. The Redspeed driver was having problems with the chassis set up and when it wouldn’t turn right at Riches he sailed off the track to be followed by his team mate Paul Platt (who was running in the Division 1 class this weekend). Clark returned to the tarmac losing two places, but then the Gas Gas seized on the following lap. Layton was making rapid progress from the back of the grid and was up to sixth place by lap 3, setting a new lap record in the process. The fight for the lead was between Viper drivers O’Reilly and Davis with Ross Allen on the Jade DEA in their slipstream. Layton joined the group on lap 5 and at the end of the following lap it was a six kart train at the front covered by 1.19s. O’Reilly’s tyres started to go off towards the end allowing Layton and Allen to get past. Layton pulled clear to win by 2.7s from Allen. “That’ll do,” said the Parker Motorsport driver in parc ferme. Davis and Bennett crossed the line side by side with the verdict going to the Viper driver by 0.011s with James Hassall tucked in behind.
In race 2 Layton made a good start but fuel was leaking onto his visor from a breather overflow pipe and making life difficult. O’Reilly took the lead around the outside at Brundle on lap 2 with Davis in third place ahead of Clark and Bennett. Allen dropped out of 7th place when the chain came off. Layton struck back on lap 3 when the fuel level dropped and his vision wasn’t impaired. He extended his lead over the rest of the race to win by 8s. Clark’s repaired Gas Gas was holding together. He moved into second place on lap 3 but to compensate the earlier problem, the motor was running too rich and this stopped him from making a serious challenge to Layton. O’Reilly, Davis and Bennett fought over third place before O’Reilly dropped back with a loose steering column, which he had to brace with his knees in the closing stages and lost a lot of time. Bennett got revenge over Davis on the penultimate lap to take third place. Hassall didn’t benefit from his front row grid position when new brake pads caught him out at the Montreal hairpin on the first lap. He recovered to take fifth place while Francois Kishtoo was the lead F250 Cup runner for Honda engines in sixth spot.
Davis led the opening lap of race 3 with Layton down in 5th place behind Clark, Hassall and O’Reilly. Bennett was nowhere to be seen. The reigning champion had been pushed into the pit lane after the chain had come off exiting the dummy grid. Once the chain was replaced he joined the race 3 laps down. Layton also visited the pits at the end of lap 2 with a throttle cable problem. A fix by the Parker Motorsport team sent him out again but he pulled off half a lap later. O’Reilly moved into second place on lap 2 behind Davis to make it a Viper 1-2 but the motor started to richen up and he dropped back, eventually retiring. After understeering off at Riches on the previous lap Clark took over in second place and dragged Hassall with him as they chased after Davis. The Team Hard scholarship winner wasn’t going to repeat his Rockingham VW win from the week before as a high speed misfire set in and he pulled out when the plug tip broke off. Clark took over and secured victory with the previously damaged piston hanging on. Hassall had his best drive for some time to take second place and overall honours on the day with Jade team mate Allen coming through from a lowly grid position to take third, setting the fastest time on the final lap. Tom Hatfield and Barry Weston were next to finish keeping the Parker boys happy while Kishtoo was again the top Honda driver in sixth spot
Race One (8 laps) 1 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA) 15m13.304s (93.62mph); 2 Ross Allen (Jade DEA) +2.714s; 3 James O’Reilly (PVP Viper SK250S); 4 Toby Davis (Anderson Viper SK250S); 5 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA); 6 James Hassall (Jade DEA). Record Lap Layton 1m 51.456s (95.89mph).
Race Two (9 laps) 1 Jack Layton (Anderson DEA) 16m58.636s (94.43mph); 2 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas) + 7.99s; 3 Gavin Bennett (Anderson DEA); 4 Toby Davis (Anderson Viper SK250S); 5 James Hassall (Jade DEA); 6 Francois Kishtoo (Raider Honda). Fastest Lap Layton 1m 51.665s (95.71mph).
Race Three (9 laps) 1 Dan Clark (Anderson Gas Gas) 17m15.791s (96.86mph); 2 James Hassall (Jade DEA) + 2.411s; 3 Ross Allen (Jade DEA); 4 Tom Hatfield (Anderson DEA); 5 Barry Weston (Anderson DEA); 6 Francois Kishtoo (Raider Honda). Fastest Lap Allen 1m 52.835s (94.72mph).
Words by Gary James
Images courtesy of Steve Addison Photography