FISKE AND WALLER-BARRETT WIN BIG
Organiser: Spedeworth When: May 30 Where: Foxhall Raceway, Ipswich Starters: 27
Danny Fiske may have bounced back from a disqualification to win the final and Colin Gomm might have won both heats, but the interest at Foxhall centred on the battles for the minor places between Shane Bland and Carl Waller-barrett, as the pair slugged out this year’s Hot Rod points championship.
It all came down to a drag race on the last lap of the last race of the season to decide it, with Waller-barrett getting the nod.
Gomm had plonked his Mercedes on the front of the grid and ripped away at the off in heat one, building a big gap.
Lee Pepper overhauled Ivan Grayson for second while in the pack, Waller-barrett overtook Bland to claw his way towards a vital few points. But they were all interrupted by a yellow flag seven laps from home when Colin Smith hit the wall, an incident that led to Fiske getting disqualified.
The hiatus didn’t bother Gomm, who cleared off to win at the restart. But in terms of the crucial points places, Waller-barrett took 13th with Bland two places behind in 15th. Taking dropped scores taken into account, it put the pair dead level.
Heat two followed a similar pattern with Gomm marching away. It came down to Grayson and Pepper to dispute second, their dice ending when they clashed. Grayson spun and was then handed a penalty for causing the fracas.
Gomm was left to take the win, this time with a quarterlap margin over Pepper. Both Bland and Waller-barrett finished out of the pointspaying places.
Pepper underlined in the final what Gomm had proved in the heats: the outside pole slot was giving a better launch into the first corner. Pepper’s 206cc hacked into turn one first with Gomm, Jack Blood and Aaron Dew jostling behind.
Further back, Waller-barrett had started well, only to get overtaken by Bland as they battled the traffic around 15th and 16th spots.
Up front, Blood launched a spirited attack on Pepper’s lead before going ahead for good exiting turn two. Pepper then got embroiled in a scrap with Aaron Dew and Fiske, who swiftly got the better of it to go after the leader.
With the finish coming up, Blood started carving through the backmarkers with Fiske now right behind and piling on the pressure.
It told when leader Blood banged one of the backmarkers wide at turn three, an impact which would get him demoted down the places to give Fiske the win.
All eyes then switched back to the other placemen charging through the finish…and then came Bland and Waller-barret blasting out of the final bend side by side to cross the line in a virtual dead heat.
Adding to the drama, Waller-Barrett’s transponder failed on the last lap, leaving it down to the scorer to judge who’d got over the line first. They were unanimous in declaring Waller-barrett ninth and thus champion by a single point from Bland.
The deciding moment of the season – Waller-barrett (162) pips Bland to the finish line Fiske won the final after penalties were applied