MCDONALD TAKES HIS SECOND FINAL ON THE BOUNCE
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.
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