FIRST-CORNER DRAMA IN JUNIORS
Title rivals Middleton and Tregurtha both get caught up in crashes
Two first-lap collisions involving title protagonists Stuart Middleton and William Tregurtha meant the gap between the two in the standings is still slender – but it’s now Middleton who has the advantage.
Middleton benefitted from the first of the clashes as HHC driver Tregurtha was punted off by Dave Wooder at Hawthorn in the opener, with Seb Perez also involved. From that point the order didn’t change as poleman Middleton was able to fend off the efforts of Sebastian Priaulx with Daniel Harper third. Charlie Fagg was fourth with debutant Olli Caldwell fifth for JHR.
It was a Douglas Motorsport one-two in the second race with Middleton again leading Harper home, with Priaulx third after losing out at the start. Middleton was clearly pushing hard though as he was regularly powersliding through the Complex.
“That was absolutely awesome,” beamed Middleton after taking his two wins. “It couldn’t have been much better! The car was perfect all day. Initially it was about getting very good starts and then making no mistakes.”
Harper did close late in the race but Middleton said: “I knew he wouldn’t try anything silly”.
Tregurtha fought his way up to fifth place, behind team-mate Lewis Brown. Tom Gamble – another HHC driver – completed the top six.
But Middleton’s perfect weekend ended on Sunday when it was his turn to be caught up in a first-lap tangle.
Priaulx’s slow start from the front row bunched the field up into Clervaux and he and Middleton collided into the corner. This sent Middleton into the path of Gamble, with Fagg also getting collected. In a terrible start for Douglas, Harper was also caught up in the melee and was hit from behind, sending him into a spin. Inevitably, the safety car was deployed.
The main beneficiary of the first corner chaos was Tregurtha who found himself
1 Stuart Middleton (Douglas Motorsport); 2 Sebastian Priaulx (JHR Developments) +0.780s; 3 Daniel Harper (Douglas); 4 Charlie Fagg (HHC Motorsport); 5 Olli Caldwell (JHR); 6 Cameron Roberts (JHR). Fastest lap Roberts 1m40.122s (76.40mph). Pole Middleton. Starters 21. 1 Middleton; 2 Harper +0.544s; 3 Priaulx; 4 Lewis Brown (HHC); 5 William Tregurtha (HHC); 6 Tom Gamble (HHC). FL Harper 1m40.264s (76.29mph). P Middleton. S 21. 1 Tregurtha; 2 Brown +0.526s; 3 Dave Wooder (TCR); 4 Geri Nicosia (JHR); 5 Roberts; 6 Connor Grady (TCR). FL Brown 1m40.271s (75.95mph). P Brown. S 21. Points (after 12/25 rounds) 1 Middleton 324; 2 Tregurtha 320; 3 Brown 257; 4 Wooder 244; 5 Harper 210; 6 Nicosia 188.
in second. Soon after the restart, he got ahead of Brown into Tower with his team-mate not defending too hard.
Tregurtha’s win means Middleton’s advantage is just four points as the series reaches its mid-point. It’s fast becoming a two-horse race for the title as third-placed Brown is now 67 points behind Middleton.
Further back, Wooder salvaged something from the weekend with the TCR driver passing Geri Nicosia through the Complex to take third shortly after the restart. Nonetheless, it was still a best result in the series for JHR racer Nicosia. Cameron Roberts picked up fifth with Connor Grady sixth.
1 Paul Rivett (WDE Motorsport); 2 Max Coates (Ciceley Motorsport) +3.466s; 3 Mike Bushell (Team Pyro); 4 Ant Whorton-eales (Jam Sport); 5 Daniel Rowbottom (Team Ecomotive with Finesse); 6 Paul Streather (Finesse Motorsport). FL Lee Pattison (Team Cooksport) 1m32.709s (82.51mph). P Rivett. S 18. 1 Coates; 2 Bushell +0.640s; 3 Price; 4 Charles Ladell (WDE Motorsport); 5 Streather; 6 Pattison. FL Rivett 1m32.818s (82.42mph). P Bushell. S 18. 1 Whorton-eales 256; 2 Bushell 253; 3 Rivett 205; 4 Coates 204; 5 Pattison 195; 6 Streather 176.
1 Ollie Chadwick (Xentek Motorsport); 2 Ryan Hadfield (Privateer) +11.381s; 3 Ian Robinson (TCR) 4 Jonathan Hadfield (Privateer); 5 Andrew Richardson (Richardson Racing); 6 Matt Chapman (TCR). Class winner Robinson. FL Chadwick 1m33.047s (82.21mph). P Chadwick. S 23.
1 Chadwick; 2 R Hadfield +0.083s; 3 J Hadfield; 4 Richardson; 5 Nick Zapolski (Got Boost); 6 Tom Hibbert (Rob Boston Racing). CW Robinson. FL Chadwick 1m33.699s (81.64mph). P Chadwick. S 23. 1 Chadwick 439; 2 R Hadfield 304; 3 J Hadfield 296; 4 Matt Chapman (TCR) 293; 5 Matt Flowers (Academy Motorsport) 227; 6 Robinson 208.
“It wouldn’t have been as good in Europe because it had too much drag, but it wasn’t designed for European circuits. Bob and Bill Riley designed it and they knew how to build cars for America. It was good on bumpy tracks, slow tracks, fast tracks, and in the wet. Everything about the car was spot on.”
The Riley and Scott MKIII was one of the sports-racing benchmarks in America during the 1990s. The highdownforce design, which could take a range of V8 engines, was versatile and remained competitive for several seasons after its 1995 debut.
“Rivals, like the Ferrari 333SP, were quicker on the Daytona banking, but we’d have them on the infield,” says Wallace. “In the damp, the MKIII could get temperature into its tyres in one lap; the Ferrari could take three.”
The Dyson Racing team’s expertise and set-up skills of co-driver James Weaver meant the trio of Wallace, Weaver and Butch Leitzinger were a formidable combination between 1995 and 1999. “We ended up with a car as good as we could get it,” adds Wallace. “All three of us could drive it at exactly the same speed. There was a lot of competition, but it was so driveable. If you got into trouble you could jump off the pedals and the downforce would sort you out.”
The Riley and Scott’s many successes were Wallace’s Daytona 24 Hours wins in 1997 and 1999, while Leitzinger took back-to-back IMSA championships in 1997-98.