Na­tional re­ports: Sil­ver­stone; Brands Hatch

Autosport (UK) - - CONTENTS - STE­FAN MACKLEY

THE SAY­ING GOES THAT IF AT FIRST you don’t suc­ceed, try and try again. For Michael Moy­ers, those words have never held truer mean­ing. On three oc­ca­sions the 32-year-old had led the Walter Hayes Tro­phy fi­nale, and each time bad luck or a blip in con­cen­tra­tion had cost him the prize he craved the most.

That was be­fore a last-lap pass on Cas­tle Combe For­mula Ford ri­val Josh Fisher in a dra­matic and heated 2017 fi­nal se­cured an emo­tional and pop­u­lar win.

“It feels like the weight of the world is off my shoul­ders. It’s not go­ing to get any bet­ter than this and I’m go­ing to let this sink in,” said Moy­ers.

“I think it has helped, to be hon­est [not think­ing about win­ning]; it’s been kind of in the back of my head. I wanted to win the race but it was more of a sub­con­scious thought. My pri­mary ob­jec­tive was to en­joy my­self and race hard.”

The 2017 edi­tion of the Hayes looked like it might fol­low in sim­i­lar fash­ion to pre­vi­ous failed at­tempts for Moy­ers. He ex­celled on the Satur­day with pole for his heat on a wet but dry­ing Sil­ver­stone Na­tional cir­cuit be­fore dom­i­nat­ing the race to win by more than four sec­onds – the big­gest mar­gin of vic­tory across all six heats.

The Kevin Mills Rac­ing Spec­trum

011C driver didn’t have ev­ery­thing his own way in the semi-fi­nal, how­ever, en­dur­ing a race-long duel with re­cent For­mula Ford Fes­ti­val win­ner Joey Foster.

Vic­tory for Moy­ers slipped through his fin­gers on the last lap as he mis­judged his brak­ing and ran slightly wide through Brook­lands, hand­ing the win to Foster. The loss of vic­tory would have fur­ther

im­pli­ca­tions as that turned pole po­si­tion for the fi­nal into third place, with Foster on pole and Fisher in sec­ond.

It was Fisher’s Van Diemen RF99 that got the jump off the line and led the field through the open­ing tour as pole­man Foster’s Ray GR08 dropped to fourth be­hind Oliver White (Me­d­ina Sport JL17) and Moy­ers, and White stormed to the lead on the sec­ond lap with a pass around the out­side into Brook­lands.

For the next 11 laps of the 15-lap fi­nal, White, who has twice fin­ished run­ner-up in the Hayes, held the chas­ing pack led by Fisher and Moy­ers at bay, aided by yel­low flags at Brook­lands for three laps.

The warn­ing flags were the le­gacy of a spin for Stu­art Gough aboard an­other Kevin Mills Spec­trum, which trig­gered a crash be­tween Cameron Jack­son and broth­ers David and Thomas Mcarthur, the lat­ter sent into a spec­tac­u­lar bar­rel roll that caused sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to his Van Diemen LA10 but no in­jury to the driver.

As the yel­lows were brought in on lap 10, Foster’s charge in fourth ended, a dis­in­te­grat­ing dis­trib­u­tor forc­ing him into the pits and re­tire­ment.

For two laps in suc­ces­sion Fisher tried un­suc­cess­fully to sweep around the out­side of White at Brook­lands, their roles re­versed from their semi-fi­nal, where Fisher had kept White at bay.

But with so much at stake, the in­evitable hap­pened on the penul­ti­mate lap. Fisher went to the out­side at the end of the Welling­ton Straight, the rear-left of his Van Diemen mak­ing con­tact with the front-right of

White’s Me­d­ina Sport.

Moy­ers took his chance to move into sec­ond be­hind Fisher, while chaos en­sued in the pack. White’s dam­aged car slowed into Luffield and was hit from be­hind by James Raven, with Josh Smith col­lect­ing the Me­d­ina, and both Smith and White re­tir­ing.

But all eyes were on the front of the field head­ing onto the last lap. With a great run onto the back straight, Moy­ers

took the lead just be­fore the waved yel­lows at Brook­lands, al­low­ing him to se­cure a long-over­due Hayes vic­tory.

“When I saw the three cars had bro­ken away I thought, ‘I’m go­ing to watch this for a few laps’, be­cause I could see con­tact hap­pen­ing,” said Moy­ers.

“I nearly got drawn into it my­self and then I saw my pit board said one lap to go and I thought, ‘Right, this is the lap’. I got a re­ally good run out of Beck­etts and I was al­ready ahead be­fore the yel­lows.”

In con­trast to Moy­ers’s joy, there was bit­ter dis­ap­point­ment for Fisher, who has now fin­ished on the Hayes podium four times, but never on the cov­eted first step. An ap­peal against Moy­ers’s over­take failed and the 2017 Cas­tle

Combe FF1600 cham­pion was left to rue what could have been.

“Michael got the tow on me on the last lap and for me there was yel­low flags out, he was pulling along­side but I wouldn’t say he was ahead [be­fore them],” said the Wayne Poole Rac­ing driver. “I didn’t even know it was the last lap. But I spoke to Michael af­ter the race, shook his hand, agreed it was a crack­ing race and said, ‘What will be will be.’”

Raven’s Ray man­aged to hold onto third place – ahead of Kevin O’hara and

Chris Mid­dle­hurst (both in Van Diemens) – and he was re­warded with a Mazda

Road to Indy Shootout ticket as a re­sult of be­ing the first el­i­gi­ble driver across the line.

Sixth went to the Ray of Team USA scholar Jonathan Ko­tyk, ahead of Luke Cooper, whose Swift was bat­tling a mis­fire all week­end. Matt Round-gar­rido, win­ner of heat one, took eighth aboard his

Me­d­ina Sport JL17, while Kevin Mills Rac­ing team-mates Roger Orgee and Michael East­well com­pleted the top 10.

While most of the pre-event favourites

com­fort­ably made it into the fi­nal, oth­ers weren’t so lucky. Last year’s win­ner Niall Mur­ray was in­volved in a crash with Se­bas­tian Mel­rose in semi-fi­nal one, while 2017 Na­tional FF1600 cham­pion Luke Wil­liams fin­ished eighth in heat five, but pulled out of the event cit­ing en­gine prob­lems for his Fir­man.

But for Moy­ers, such prob­lems never plagued him for once on an al­most per­fect week­end. “I had a feeling that this was go­ing to be our time,” said the de­lighted win­ner. “I got my head down and did my job.”

Fisher led Hayes fi­nal on open­ing lap be­fore White (#94) passed him

Moy­ers (#25) passed Fisher on last lap

Fisher takes the lead of fi­nal from Foster (#155)

Tom Mcarthur is sent spin­ning through the air af­ter con­tact in Hayes fi­nal

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