Nor­ton and An­drews head­line the bad luck club at this year’s Wal­ter Hayes

Motor Sport News - - Walter Hayes Trophy -

“I wasn’t re­ally ex­pect­ing the con­tact, and it was bloody scary when it came!” said Ben Nor­ton of his Heat One clash with Team USA’S Kyle Kirk­wood. The Amer­i­can had spun him out of the lead as the pair headed to­ward Brook­lands, send­ing Nor­ton’s Spec­trum slid­ing back across the track. Mirac­u­lously, every­one missed him.

The WHT hasn’t been a happy hunt­ing ground for Nor­ton re­cently, and this in­ci­dent fol­lowed his elim­i­na­tion in last year’s Semi Fi­nal af­ter a sim­i­lar clash with a Team USA car.

“I was slip­stream­ing Ben and then he moved left and closed the door, so I tried to move right but caught him,” said Kirk­wood, who fin­ished the race 16th with Nor­ton’s ex­haust si­lencer wedged un­der­neath his front-left sus­pen­sion.

They were joined in Sunday morn­ing’s Pro­gres­sion race by a host of other top names that had all fallen foul of lady luck. Af­ter two clashes at the Fes­ti­val, Stephen Daly hit oil into Beck­etts in Heat Six and ended up vault­ing over the nose of James Raven’s car.

Join­ing them at the back was works Spec­trum driver Scott An­drews, who suf­fered a dis­mal week­end that started with a gear­box fail­ure in his heat, and Scots­man Jamie Thor­burn, whose en­gine ex­ploded in his.

Kirk­wood made a fly­ing start from ninth to lead by the end of the first lap, as Nor­ton jumped from 18th to sec­ond. Kirk­wood pulled clear as An­drews and Nor­ton fought. An­drews drew ahead, but Nor­ton pounced when he was de­layed by traf­fic in the last cor­ner. Daly took fourth ahead of Raven and Thor­burn.

That put the six sur­vivors onto the back of the 36-car Last Chance Race, with the top 18 head­ing to the semis.

This time An­drews made the best start, to run 17th early on be­fore work­ing his way through to the lead with a fine move around the out­side of Bob Hig­gins at Luffield. Daly fol­lowed him up the or­der to snatch sec­ond ahead of Kirk­wood and Nor­ton. Raven and Thor­burn also qual­i­fied for the semis in sev­enth and eighth.

Sadly things turned sour for both Nor­ton and An­drews shortly af­ter. An­drews failed to make the fi­nal af­ter be­ing spun out of his semi, and then re­tired with dam­age in the Con­so­la­tion race ( see below). Nor­ton did make the fi­nal, but opted to with­draw fear­ing dam­age in the dif­fi­cult con­di­tions.

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