FLETCHER BANISHES LAST YEAR’S DEMONS FOR CLIO TI­TLE

Motor Sport News - - Racing Reports -

The Clio 182 cham­pi­onship de­cider was the clos­est of the sev­eral ti­tle bat­tles set­tled amid mixed weather at Rock­ing­ham.

Pa­trick Fletcher and James Bark mir­rored their cham­pi­onship bat­tle from 12 months ago, com­ing into this week­end sep­a­rated by just four points. Bark tri­umphed in the first out­ing from third on the grid. Fletcher de­fended ag­gres­sively through­out the race, park­ing his Clio 182 on the apex of most cor­ners. Af­ter a cou­ple of nudges at the back of Fletcher’s bumper, Bark made his move com­ing into the Deene hair­pin on the penul­ti­mate lap. Fletcher wasn’t about to let him lead the points gap by too much head­ing into the fi­nal race though, set­ting the fastest lap to put just one point be­tween them.

In the sec­ond race Bark started from pole po­si­tion, but Fletcher dropped back be­hind Nick Balmer, who was also hav­ing a good run af­ter fin­ish­ing third in the first race. Fletcher made swift work of Balmer, set­ting his sights on Bark, who had built up a rea­son­able gap. Fletcher made a bold move up the in­side into Tarzan and the pair made con­tact. Bark was forced wide, put­ting Fletcher into first place and al­low­ing Nick Garner to come through to sec­ond. Bark didn’t take long to re­gain sec­ond place, but had no time to catch Fletcher as the race ended a lap early due to Si­mon Donoghue’s stricken Clio 182 at Deene.

The re­sult meant Fletcher won the cham­pi­onship by five points, the re­sult be­ing re­versed af­ter Bark won last year, when the pair fin­ished level on points and the cham­pi­onship was de­cided on race wins.

Will Ash­more took the Hot Hatch win in his Class A Honda Civic, get­ting a good start from sec­ond. Pole­sit­ter Tom Bell man­aged to re­take the lead the fol­low­ing lap, but it was short­lived as he suf­fered an­other re­tire­ment due to rear brake fail­ure. That pro­moted Alice Hughes to sec­ond, but she was passed by Alis­tair Camp head­ing through the fi­nal cor­ner on the run to the flag. Bell won the sec­ond race.

Paul Jarvis won the first Stock Hatch out­ing, while cham­pi­onship ri­val Ryan Pol­ley fin­ished fourth. Pol­ley was bat­tling with Robert Fagg for third, with the pair go­ing door-todoor through Deene and Kirby. Fagg pre­vailed but Pol­ley won the sec­ond race af­ter forc­ing his way past Phil Law and Jarvis on the penul­ti­mate lap.

Matt Hig­gin­son wrapped up the RGB ti­tle af­ter Billy Al­bone suf­fered a gear­box fail­ure on the fi­nal lap. The race was re-run on Satur­day af­ter­noon af­ter two red flags in the morn­ing. Al­bone led for most of the race, get­ting a good start along with John Cut­more. The pair ran nose-to-tail in the open­ing stages, but Cut­more mis­judged the brak­ing on the damp sur­face and ran wide into Deene. His mis­take let Al­bone cut through into the lead be­fore his mal­ady.

Be­hind Alas­tair Boul­ton, Scott Mit­tell fin­ished third af­ter start­ing on dry tyres, giv­ing him a dis­ad­van­tage to those in front on wets, but he took the hon­ours in the con­sid­er­ably drier sec­ond race on Sun­day. Mit­tell diced for po­si­tion with Al­bone, be­fore the pair made con­tact on the exit of Tarzan, spin­ning Al­bone to the back of the field. That al­lowed John Cut­more to fin­ish third, put­ting him in good stand­ing to take the Class cham­pi­onship.

The MX-5 Cup driv­ers had to deal with slip­pery con­di­tions in the rain on Satur­day. Will Black­well-cham­bers took both race wins how­ever, de­spite a chal­lenge from Ben Short. The pair made con­tact fight­ing for the lead in the first race through Deene when Short got a bit of over­steer and was tagged by Black­well-cham­bers. Sam Smith was there to pick up the pieces, de­mot­ing Short to third.

Dur­ing the next out­ing the pair ran side-by-side through Pif Paf. Short took the lead, un­til Black­well-Cham­bers ex­e­cuted a chal­lenge on the fi­nal lap, which set­tled the dis­pute. Black­well-cham­bers also set the fastest lap, ex­tend­ing his cham­pi­onship lead over ri­val Jack Sy­camore fur­ther, who fin­ished fifth.

Carl Swift took the Class B cham­pi­onship win in the Civic Cup af­ter ti­tle ri­val Mark Grice fin­ished in 17th place. But it was Ben Sharpe who im­pressed, tak­ing dou­ble race wins de­spite find­ing the wet con­di­tions chal­leng­ing.

Run­ning wide at Deene from pole, he had to fight his way back through the field, soon re­cov­er­ing to fourth and over­tak­ing Swift for third around the out­side of Chap­man Curve. Sharpe’s bat­tle with Martin James be­came the bat­tle for first when David Buky ran wide, al­low­ing them both through. Sharpe and James ran side-by-side at Tarzan for the lead, with Sharpe mak­ing the move stick on the run into Brook.

Start­ing from 10th on the re­verse grid in the sec­ond race, Sharpe pulled off an­other mas­ter­ful drive to come through the field for his sec­ond vic­tory.

Bill Cow­ley won the two 750 For­mula races from pole, se­cur­ing sec­ond in the cham­pi­onship af­ter Peter Bove spun out of the first race.

Chris Preen took his first Bike­sport vic­to­ries last week­end. He fin­ished ahead of ti­tle con­tender Philip Knibb on the first oc­ca­sion, be­fore Knibb re­tired with bat­tery is­sues in the sec­ond race. Si­mon Wing won the Armed Forces race hav­ing started from seventh, while Lakhvin­der Khera won the Sport Spe­cial race.

Shaun Traynor claimed a dou­ble in the Toy­ota MR2 races, ahead of Kris­tian White on both oc­ca­sions. Ti­tle leader Jim Davies went off in the first race but re­cov­ered to fifth. He fin­ished sixth in the sec­ond en­counter.

Gre­gan Thrus­ton took his third race win of the sea­son, ahead of Michael Har­vey, in the 750 Tro­phy race.

Fletcher (29) bat­tled Bark (85) for ti­tle win

Carl Swift fought for Civic ti­tle

Davies (far left) goes off in MR2 race

Thrus­ton won in 750 Tro­phy race

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