Posted on In General
The Trumans duo of Colin Kingsnorth and Jonathan Hoad took their maiden victory in a thrilling duel to the flag at Croft, after numerous exchanges with 2Rent Dominos’ Neil Burroughs in the closing laps.
JPR UVio drew pole for the five hour race, with Fabio Randaccio taking the opening stint. But four cars had to start from the pitlane after technical infringements, with an additional 10 seconds.
From the start, it was Randaccio leading the way, from Paul Lewis for Greensall Motorsport, Apollo’s Guy Wenham, TFL’s Andrew Bentley and JPR GT Radial’s Martin Gibson, before Bentley snatched third into Tower.
Bentley’s attack continued and into Tower for the second time, he snatched the lead from Randaccio.
Lewis had dropped out of the running early on, but after four laps the top five had started to break away, with Bentley, heading Randaccio, Gibson, IF Motorsport’s Andrew Dunn and Wenham, with Hoad trying to hold on too.
Gibson slipped to sixth a lap later, while behind him Ben Pitch had broken clear of the next group, to give JPR PLR a solid seventh.
It was just as close behind as DespatchBay.com’s Harry Mailer led a five car train for eighth, having worked his way through at Tower on lap seven.
Apart from Bentley at the front, changes were happening throughout the order, with Randaccio, Dunn and Hoad battling for second, as Wenham looked on.
The safety car had its first outing on lap 11, but from the green flag the lead trio got away as Wenham lost ground, and was ousted by Gibson and Mailer on consecutive laps.
Dunn had also lost out massively and dropped to eighth, with 2Rent Dominos Chris Hart challenging after his pitlane start.
The first driver changes came up just before the opening hour was completed. DespatchBay.com had the lead from 2Rent Dominos, while Apollo, JPR UVio, JPR GT Radial and Trumans were the top six.
“We had the pace, but were having to manage things, especially exiting onto the straights,” said Mailer, “I had clipped a backmarker lapping them, but otherwise great,” said second placed Hart. “I had to compose myself and stay out of trouble, as I could see what was happening in front,” Wenham added.
In fourth, Randaccio had an explanation for their challenge. “The theory was good, the racing was good, calm and precise,” he said.
Gibson had also kept JPR GT Radial in the hunt, despite having lost ground briefly. “I had been t-boned by the IF car at the Hairpin. Hoad had kept Trumans in the running too, before handing to Kingsnorth, “apart from damaging the splitter, the car was really going well,” he said.
Jack Meins had taken over from Bentley in the TFL car, but slipped to seventh, “I had built a lead until that safety car,” Bentley added.
Dunn’s challenge had also hit the skids, “Ran out of talent at Sunny and went off slowly until I was on the grass and into the wall,” he explained after limping back to the pits.
Andy Bicknell had taken over the DespatchBay.com car and was soon back in the pits with exhaust problems. So 90 minutes in, Burroughs led for 2Rent Dominos, by 12 seconds from JPR UVio’s Farquini Deott, GT Radial’s Ellis Hadley, Charlie Kennedy, Kingsnorth and Apollo’s Ryan Burke.
Kennedy had made up time after co driver Rob Croydon picked up an early penalty. “I think I was a bit over eager at the start,” he admitted.
UVio led to the end of the second hour, from Kennedy’s, Trumans, 2Rent Dominos and PLR. “So far so good,” Deott added. “I would be quite happy if we are there at the end,” said Kingsnorth. “Perfect,” Kennedy reckoned too.
Half distance at 80 laps and it was Trumans ahead, as Hoad had a 4.639 secs lead over UVIo’s Randaccio, with Hart in third for 2Rent Dominos.
Pitch had brought up to fourth, while Agua Caliente’s Rob Perry and FNS’s Steve Walton were the top six, after Kennedy’s had dropped to 10th, behind Axiametrics Kristian Rose, Apollo’s Zoe Wenham and GCI’s Craig Butterworth.
GT Radial had gone out of the reckoning with a driveshaft breakage, but with a number of safety car interventions, no one was getting clear at the front.
“I wanted the biggest gap I could get for Colin, but could see Chris and Fabio duelling for second in my mirrors,” said Trumans Hoad. But after 2 ¾ hrs the gap was only 0.674 secs, with Agua Caliente second, from UVio and 2Rent Dominos.
But it was the last hour that finally began to show the splits. PLR had led, but Neil Plimmer went off as he saw Kennedy and Deott closing in, so Hart was in front for 2Rent Dominos, but only 0.999 secs up on UVio’s Randaccio, with Kennedy third 2.7 secs down, from Kingsnorth, Zoe Wenham and Butterworth, with Pitch, Agua Caliente’s Derek Basham and Axiamatrics Chris Dovell all on the lead lap & Team 7 Fun Bikes a lap down in 10th.
Randaccio had a spin at the Complex and dropped to ninth. “A rear wheel bearing was loose and the brakes went spongy, so it felt very loose,” he explained after handing to Deott for the final time.
It was Burroughs with the lead of 0.295 secs over Hoad. “At least I am not in the car now, so if it goes wrong it won’t be my fault,” said Kingsnorth.
Plimmer was back in for PLR, nine seconds off the lead but had Kennedy and Guy Wenham closing in, while GCI had the edge over Agua Caliente and Axiametrics for sixth. UVio were still ninth, but Deott was flying.
Into the final 30 minutes and Hoad was ahead into the Complex. Kennedy had contact with Plimmer in his quest for third and fell behind Wenham, who then began his short-lived attack for third, which ended with him on the grass.
The safety car was out for the final time, which left 19 minutes on the clock, before the chequered flag. Burroughs had just managed to retake Hoad before the safety car.
On lap 150, Hoad was back in front, while Deott was still charging and had taken fifth from Axiametrcis Rose. Kennedy was attacking Plimmer again for third, which allowed Deott to close in and make it a three way fight to the flag.
Three laps later Deott was fourth as Kennedy’s battle scarred car started to lose ground, but at the front Burroughs slipped back in front at the Hairpin. But Hoad came back yet again, making the decisive move at Sunny which he retained for the final two laps, taking victory by 0.934 secs from 2Rent Dominos Burroughs/Hart.
“Absolutely brilliant race, so close,” said Burroughs. “A proper ding dong,” Hart added. “I just wanted him to bring it home, watching was worse than being in the way,” said the victorious Kingsnorth.
After both Wenham and Kennedy had come off worse in their quests for third, Deott finally managed to oust Plimmer around the outside at Clervaux two laps from home. “Nothing to lose, podium or nothing,” he reckoned.
Rose finally brought Axiametrics home fifth from GC1, with Kennedy having dropped to seventh. Agua Caliente were eighth, while Team 7 Fun Bikes and team mates 249 completed the top 10.