Clutton Takes The Win For DespatchBay.com But It’s JPR UVio’s Title
The rivalry between outgoing Champion’s 2Rent Dominos and former Champions JPR UVio continued right to the chequered flag in the final round of the Fun Cup Championship, at Oulton Park.
But third place for Fabio Randaccio proved to be enough to crown UVio the 2019 Champions, a third title for Farquini Deott. “It feels great to do it with Fabio this time. I knew we could do it, so good to get the right dynamics,” said Farquini.
JPR Axiametrics drew pole to head the 23 car grid, with Chris Dovell taking the opening stint.
It was IF Motorsport’s Andrew Dunn that led into Old Hall from the start though, from Dovell and Trumans Colin Kingsnorth, but there were cars on the grass and contact further down the order, as Nigel Greensall’s Track Life Car and PT Motorsport’s Ian Payne both got hit. “I made some places then got hit at the first corner,” said Greensall. “I was hit and it took off my rear corner. I had slowed to avoid contact though, came back and got a stop go penalty,” Payne added.
The top three started to make a break on the second lap, after Scott Jeffs had put the GT Radial car on the grass on consecutive laps at Knickerbrook, but still managed to oust Greensall Motorsport’s Ryan Lewis from fourth.
Ben Pitch was up to sixth for PLR, with Team 7 Fun Bikes’ Chris Bridle, Team Kennedy’s Rob Croydon, 2Rent Dominos Chris Hart and Viking’s Nick Nunn, the rest of the early top 10.
Hart continued to carve through the field though and took four places on lap three, before closing in on Jeffs to take fourth a couple of laps later. “I had to back off a bit though, as I had already had a couple of track limit warnings, after a messy start and got a bit too keen,” said Jeffs.
The top five had closed up, however, with Farquini progressing too into a solo sixth. But behind them it was still a free for all with a huge train of cars contesting seventh, led by Concorde’s Will Chappell, Croydon, Bridle and Greensall.
Into Cascades for the sixth time Hart was third, with Dovell briefly leading on the exit. But the new leader ran wide at Knickerbrook and Hart lead up Clay Hill, from Dunn, Farquini and Jeffs, with Dovell down to fifth and Kingsnorth in sixth. “Just staying in touch and avoiding contact, that’s our game,” added Kingsnorth.
Farquini then just managed to snatch second from Dunn, as the safety car made its first appearance, with RAW’s Alex Macleod and the Team 7 Hawthorns car in the barriers at Deer Leap, after contact with Alan Brown’s Team 7 car.
After four laps the green flag was out and Farquini was right on Hart’s tail for the lead. Dunn, Jeffs and Dovell had again gone clear, with Chappell doing his best to join them. “It was so slippery when the rain came, I was flat out Lakeside and hit a wall of rain at Island and had a big drift onto the grass,” Dovell explained.
“It was hard work staying in touch, just so ferocious,” Chappell added.
Jeffs had managed to take third from Dunn, just before the safety car re-appeared for another two laps. “My lap timer fell off and got stuck under my feet, before that I kept thinking I could breakaway,” said Dunn.
Although the lead trio held station until the first pitstop window, Greensall made a late charge before making his stop to hand to debutante David Gooding.
All the stops were completed just before the first hour, as UVio stopped the clocks with an 11 second lead for Randaccio over Axiametrics Kristian Rose and 2Rent Dominos Henry Dawes, Team Viking’s Mark Holme, GT Radial’s Ellis Hadley and Team Kennedy’s Charlie Kennedy.
“That was fun coming though, but I had got boxed in and decided just to keep the pressure on after the safety car,” Farquini explained. “I got a tap at Cascades on the opening lap, it damaged the steering a bit especially in the slow bits,” Hart added.
Although 2Rent Dominos, UVio and Axiametrics continued to battle for the podium places through the second hour, they were joined by DespatchBay.com, with Riley Phillips having built on Andy Bicknell’s foundations from the opening stint.
But the safety car was out as the second hour was completed and everyone headed for the pitlane. 2Rent Dominos had a lead of 0.755 secs over JPR UVio, with DespatchBay.com, Axiametrics, PLR and Concorde the top six, followed by Kennedy’s, Viking, Trumans and GT Radial, with 13 cars still on the lead lap. “Our windscreen wipers had packed up though, so we had to follow Viking for a while,” said Kennedy.
The track had become considerably damper, but it wasn’t only the race win to be decided, it was the title too.
As they started the final hour Phillips led for DespatchBay.com from 2Rent Dominos Hart, UVio’s Farquini, Axiametrics Dovell, PLR’s Geoff Fawcett and Concorde’s Chappell, but Hart was back in front from Old Hall on the 78th lap.
“PLR had spun in front of me though, I was doing Ok, but still had a lot to do,” said Phillips. “We’re hanging on and trying to look after the car, but flat out still,” said Dawes. It’s nail biting, very little grip but good though,” Randaccio added.
Phillips held on to Hart defiantly, as Farquini lay in wait with a solid third. Behind them there were duels for fourth and sixth, between Dovell and Viking’s Nunn and FNS’s Steve Walton with Fawcett, as Kennedy’s lost ground with a broken exhaust and Concorde were out with a burst radiator, forcing a spin at Shell.
Darkness was approaching as the final pitstop window arrived, with just over 30 minutes on the clock.
Phillips, Nunn and Fawcett were the first of the top six to pit. Hart went in a lap later, with Farquini the final stopper.
So Clutton emerged as the new leader for DespatchBay.com and was immediately under attack from 2Rent Dominos Dawes, before both went off at Knickerbrook. “I got mugged in the traffic and Henry got a run on me. I was on the wet line and he was on the dry. I braked as late as I could but we touched and went off over the grass,” said Clutton.
“He had outbraked himself so I tried to nip through. Then I had a couple of exchanges with Fabio but the steering got worse and I was trying not to take myself off,” Dawes replied.
Clutton not only retained the lead but continued to build on it, taking DespatchBay.com to a second win of the season, having won at Oulton Park earlier in the season too.
Dawes recovery had left him behind UVio’s Randaccio for the next six laps, from when they ran nose to tail to the flag, only 0.125 secs apart at the finish. “I tried hard not to overtake him, but when he kept falling off it was hard not too,” said Randaccio.
Viking’s Holme and FNS’s Greg Evans both got the better of Axiametrics Chris Weatherill in the final stint, as they completed the top six.
“A real battle of attrition, keeping cool and felt great,” said Holme. “I was really trying hard at the end, but lost out to a really good move. Still can’t believe Marcus took me around the outside at Island in the wet,” said Weatherill. “That was mega, wish I had the guts to have waved to him too,” Clutton replied.
The top 10 was rounded off by PLR, GT Radial, Team Kennedy and Team 7 Fun Bikes.