Most of the main con­tenders suc­cess­fully nav­i­gate event­ful semi-fi­nal con­tests held in tricky con­di­tions

Motor Sport News - - Walter Hayes Trophy - Ian Sow­man

For those who fal­ter on the first day of the WHT, Sun­day morn­ing pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for re­demp­tion. Unusu­ally, only three driv­ers of note needed the get out of jail card af­forded by the repechage sys­tem.

Josh Fisher and Se­bas­tian Job made short work of get­ting to the front of the Pro­gres­sion race, and were mak­ing serene progress to the next stage un­til con­tact at Brook­lands on the fi­nal lap caused Job to spin, but he re­tained sec­ond.

Job tracked Fisher through the Last Chance race, too, but this time be­hind Matt Cow­ley, who had ear­lier out­braked Jack Kemp’s Ray at Beck­etts to take the lead.

The trio safely moved into the semi-fi­nals, but Job’s progress – and his first sea­son of rac­ing – ended in the first last-72 race, with an early off at Beck­etts caus­ing gear­box dam­age.

One of the heat win­ners was also elim­i­nated in that con­test. A dis­trib­u­tor is­sue pre­vented Fe­lix Fisher from tak­ing the restart of a race halted when Vin­cent Jay’s Ray be­came stranded at Mag­gotts. Be­fore the red flag he had sur­vived a col­li­sion with Stu­art Gough, who in turn had been touched by Luke Cooper on the ap­proach to Beck­etts. Gough was also ruled out.

In the first part of the race Michael East­well made rapid progress from row three to be sec­ond by the end of the open­ing lap, but he was stymied by a break­age in­side a spark plug and he could sal­vage only 12th. Mean­while, Michael Moy­ers con­tin­ued his strong cam­paign with a clear win over Jor­dan Dempsey – who started from row six and did most of the hard work be­fore the stop­page – and James Clarke, who was only one place ahead of the Ir­ish­man on the orig­i­nal grid.

Most im­pres­sive of all, though, was Cow­ley, up from 28th to take fourth po­si­tion on the third of four laps in part two of the race, de­mot­ing heat one win­ner Chris Mid­dle­hurst, who was strug­gling for grip as the rain fell.

The sec­ond semi-fi­nal didn’t re­sult in any high pro­file de­par­tures, but two of the three heat win­ners were left dis­sat­is­fied. The one that wasn’t was Ju­lian van der Watt, who sealed the lead at Beck­etts on the open­ing lap and held it un­til he lost it to Jake Craig there on the fi­nal lap, only for the Amer­i­can to spin down to 11th po­si­tion at Brook­lands, hand­ing the South African vic­tory.

Ol­lie White was run­ner-up from Tom Mcarthur, Nico Gruber and Josh Smith, but fifth heat win­ner Rory Smith had looked set to take sec­ond for much of the race. On lap seven he edged Joey Fos­ter onto the grass at Copse, caus­ing the Fir­man to jump out of gear and the Cor­nish­man to drop back to sev­enth. Two laps later, Smith went wide there him­self and spun, even­tu­ally re­cov­er­ing to 10th.

Two places ahead of him, Roger Orgee fin­ished eighth hav­ing ear­lier made “the worst start of my ca­reer” to drop into the fran­tic scrap for the mi­nor plac­ings, from which he never emerged. Josh Fisher’s progress stut­tered, but he sur­vived to take 14th af­ter a bash from a re­morse­ful Colin Mul­lan.

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