MCDON­ALD TAKES HIS SEC­OND FI­NAL ON THE BOUNCE

Motor Sport News - - World Ral­ly­cross - By Gra­ham Brown Pho­tos: mkpics.net, Colin Casser­ley and Ed­die Walder

Or­gan­iser: In­car­ace Where: Hed­nes­ford Hills Race­way When: May 2 Starters: 26

Rob Mcdon­ald con­tin­ued his run of good form by fol­low­ing up his Northamp­ton win last time out. The Scot took a sec­ond fi­nal vic­tory in a row at Hed­nes­ford, this time hav­ing to fend off a dogged pur­suit by Danny Fiske through­out the race.

The open­ing heat was run in a down­pour with clouds of spray. Proof of how tricky the con­di­tions were was pro­vided by two spin­ners on the open­ing lap.

Martin Heath fought off ini­tial chal­lenges from Ivan Grayson and Alis­tair Lowe to as­sume the lead, with Lowe be­ing over­whelmed by the pack soon af­ter­wards.

Heath was able to main­tain his lead over Grayson, with third now be­ing dis­puted by Lay­ton Mil­som and Steve Dud­man, with the lat­ter be­gin­ning to look as though he was really en­joy­ing the wet.

By half dis­tance, he’d rel­e­gated Mil­som and was af­ter Grayson, tak­ing the lat­ter down the in­side into the East bend.

The leader looked to be still im­pos­si­bly far away but Dud­man’s in­ex­orable whit­tling away at the gap even­tu­ally brought him within strik­ing dis­tance three laps from home.

Dud­man wasted fur­ther time when he had to sort out a near-col­li­sion with a back­marker along the back straight two laps from the end. But he was right with Heath as they got the last lap board, tak­ing to the out­side down the back stretch be­fore sweep­ing round the wide out­side at the West bend to snatch the win by a scant 0.064 sec­onds at the line.

The rain had stopped, leav­ing the track still wet and dif­fi­cult tyre choices to be made for heat two. Once again, it was Heath, Grayson and Lowe set­ting the early pace and Dud­man af­ter them. Heath was work­ing harder at ex­tend­ing his lead this time, but Dud­man cut past the other place­men quicker still and was reel­ing the leader in fast on the dry­ing track. But Dud­man was still play­ing catch-up near­ing the fin­ish, the leader al­ways manag­ing to keep a lapped car be­tween them. But they were to­gether with four laps re­main­ing, with Heath hang­ing on as Mark Ed­wards, Mcdon­ald and Shane Bland caught up fast as the track con­di­tions fi­nally came to them.

It all came to a head in the penul­ti­mate turn when Dud­man got un­der Heath and the two made con­tact. Dud­man got the lead in the en­su­ing scram­ble, as Bland carved through to sec­ond ahead of Ed­wards, Mcdon­ald and Heath. Dud­man was ini­tially pe­nalised for con­tact but was re­in­stated af­ter the stew­ards re­viewed video ev­i­dence.

Dud­man had pole for the fi­nal but a stuck throt­tle in the warm-up laps slammed him into the wall and out of the race.

Ed­wards grabbed the early lead with Mcdon­ald sec­ond, although he quickly lost out to Bland in­side a lap. Mcdon­ald re­took sec­ond af­ter only an­other cir­cuit, the Scot re­peat­ing the ex­er­cise on Ed­wards to hit the front next time around.

Ed­wards then lost out to Bland and Fiske, both men go­ing past be­fore Fiske rel­e­gated Bland too. All that scrap­ping had al­lowed Mcdon­ald to make good his es­cape though and, with Fiske still be­ing pestered by Bland, he wasn’t left with a free hand to try and chase down the leader. They were all saved the bother, how­ever, when Lee Pep­per ground to a halt right by the pit gate bring­ing out the yel­lows.

There was still a back-mark­ing car left be­tween Mcdon­ald and Fiske, en­abling the leader to make a clean get­away once the race re­sumed. Fiske was soon past the traf­fic too but the dam­age was done and Mcdon­ald was away, to re­main un­chal­lenged to the fin­ish.

Re­sults

Heat one: 1 Steve Dud­man (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 2 Martin Heath (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 3 Rob Mcdon­ald (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 4 Lay­ton Mil­som (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 5 Jack Blood (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 6 Danny Fiske (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 7 Chris Le­hec (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 8 Dick Hillard (Vaux­hall Ti­gra). Heat two: 1 Dud­man; 2 Shane Bland (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 3 Mark Ed­wards (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 4 Mcdon­ald; 5 Heath; 6 Colin Smith (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 7 Hillard; 8 Blood. Fi­nal: 1 Mcdon­ald; 2 Fiske; 3 Ed­wards; 4 Carl Waller-bar­rett (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 5 Smith; 6 Kym Weaver (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 7 Chris Haird (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 8 Bland; 9 Ja­son Kew (Vaux­hall Ti­gra); 10 Brett Wal­ter (Peu­geot 206cc).

Mcdon­ald (117) won once more

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