Men’s Nationals 2016

Class 1: SP43 ASHLEY ROBINSON

2nd ARC38 Danny Hobson 3rd WS20 Jason Saunders 4th SV101 Conner Griffiths

The first final of the weekend only took one attempt to complete. For the first half of the race we saw a three car battle for the lead, this was between defending champion Danny Hobson (ARC38), Josh Fowler (NS697) and Ashley Robinson (SP43). It was Josh who took the early lead, but after swapping and changing and three-a-breast into the corner, it was Ashley who took up the top spot. For the second half of the race this is how it stayed, with Ashley continuously building a gap to those behind. The battle was still on though for the other trophy positions, with both Conner Griffiths (SV101) and Ian Ullathorne (SC25) fighting for those places. On the penultimate lap, Conner made a lunge up the inside of Josh and Danny, this looked like it was going to pay off, but collecting Danny meant the Conner picked up a green flag. This allowed Jason Saunders (WS20) and Alex Hill (SN164) to close the gap down and be in with a chance of a trophy. It was a convincing win for Ashley to take the Nationals title, who was followed over the line by Conner, who was then ducked the two positions to finish in fourth place. Danny managed to hold on to finish second, whilst Jason made the most of the opportunity to claim third place.

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Class 2: SN668 OLLIE SOLE

2nd SC126 Craig Conway 3rd PAC21 Matthew Sawyer 4th SR54 Lee Evanson

An even break saw a close thought race for the trophy positions. There were 5 drivers that were the strongest in contention for the positions with positions swapping many times throughout the race. Unbeaten throughout the heats was Liam Bridges (WR147) and Joe Pipe (NS206), but Joe was unable to complete the race and although Liam was amongst the battle for the trophy positions he just missed out with a fifth place. The three cars that made the break to the front at the start of the race was Matthew Sawyer (PAC21), Ollie Sole (SN668) and Lee Evanson (SR54), we saw this trio swap places a number of times on the opening laps, but once Ollie was out in front there was no stopping him. In the later laps Craig Conway (SC126) also came into the mix for a trophy position. Lee crossed the line in second but a green flag saw him drop down to fourth, with Craig taking second and Matthew taking third.

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Class 3: NW72 PETE ROBINSON

2nd Y51 Phil Thompson 3rd IK316 Martin Beaney 4th IK19 Chris Allanson

Another final that only took one attempt, saw Sam Gould (NS334), who was unbeaten during the heats, launching out of the gate to take the lead. However Sam’s luck run out a few lap in when he picked up a rear puncture, this allowed the rest of the field to close down the lead that he had built up. It was Pete Robinson (NW72) who took up the top spot, and this was where he stayed until the chequered. Hot on his tail was Barry Almond (SN27) closely followed by Phil Thompson (Y51). Phil got passed Barry on the last lap to claim second place, whilst Barry picked up a green flag, knocking him back to fifth place. Picking his way through the field from the back was Martin Beaney (IK316) who claimed third place ahead of fellow club member Chris Allanson (IK19) who was the last of the trophy finishers.

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Class 4: PAC3 ROB CORBETT

2nd H31 Mike Jones 3rd CM7 Huw Jones 4th SR10 Brad Jarvis

There were two favourites coming into this weekend, for the last few years the battle has been between Huw Jones (CM7) and Rob Corbett (PAC3) for the national’s title. Going into the final however, there was only one person that was unbeaten, and that was Darren Grasby (E220). It was Darren who made a storming start, but was passed by Rob quite early on in the race. Rob’s closest competitor throughout the race was Nick Williams (M60), never letting Rob get away and ready to make his move any chance he got, unfortunately for Nick on the penultimate lap he lost a rear wheel making him unable to finish the race. That meant the battle for second place was between Huw and Mike Jones (H31), and it was Mike that took the place on the last bend, with Brad Jarvis (SR10) not far behind to round out the trophy winners in fourth.

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Class 5: CY7 JOHN WILDE

2nd PHD7 Luke Jenkins 3rd SC46 Colin Chilvers 4th TA451 Lewis Richards

With an even break from the line, there was no one with a lead going into the first bend, but coming out with his nose in front was Colin Chilvers (SC46), but not for long with John Wilde (CY7) taking the lead a lap later. John held onto the lead all the way to the end, with Luke Jenkins (PHD7) taking second place ahead of Colin, whilst Lewis Richards (TA451) was hot on Colin’s tails. Once these positions were taken up, the field became spread out with no one being able to close the gap to John. Despite being joint qualifier for the final Colin Thorndyke (IK2) had no answer for those in the trophy positions, finishing sixth, with Gary Cheetham (N17) fifth and Kieran Cobb (IK75) in seventh.

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Class 6: SL22 JASON BALLANTYNE

2nd P7EM Ben Gadsby 3rd N10 Martyn Janes 4th SN12 Tom Hall

One of the most open classes, it was very hard to pick a list of finalists, let alone a winner. The first attempt of the final was stopped after the first lap, but the second attempt was a clean run. It was Jason Ballantyne (SL22) who took the lead and that was where he stayed, building a gap in the first half of the race, whilst there was a battle of 5 cars for the next position. Ben Gadsby (P7EM) managed to break free from this battle and in the second half of the race closed down the gap to Jason, although ran out of laps to be able to make a challenge for the top spot. The other cars in the battle behind were Stu Thompson (WR133), Martyn Janes (N10), Craig Tovey (SS23) and Tom Hall (SN12). Martyn managed to also break away from this battle to claim a comfortable third place, whilst Tom beat the rest for the final trophy position of fourth place.

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Class 7: SC61 ANDY HOLTBY

2nd SC700 Rich Lee 3rd PHD72 Jake Roberts 4th SC950 Abi Mosley

The Super Sevens final didn’t disappoint for action, the race was completed on the second attempt, after a messy first bend in the first run. Flying out the gate was Andy Holtby (SC61) and Abi Mosley (SC950). Andy came out of the first bend ahead, but it was Abi who took the lead in turn 2, the places where reversed again coming out of the next bend with Andy taking up the lead again, this time to stay there, and in true Andy style was away and gone. Abi was then in a race long battle with another Scunny member, Rich Lee (SC700) with both swapping places with each lap. A mistake on the last lap though saw Abi drop down to fourth place with the defending champion Jake Roberts (PHD72) picking up third place, who had been reigning in the top three whilst in a battle with Mike Mackenzie (CA12) for position.

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Class 8: ARC4 PHIL COOPER

2nd T5 Stuart Whitehouse 3rd LM17 Jack Gibbons 4th R271 Max Lewis

All eyes were at the front for this final, a clean break saw Dan Thomas (PHD47) take the lead going into the first bend, but taking a wide line lead to Phil Cooper (ARC4) sneaking up the inside to take over the lead, and in true Cooper style this was where he stayed, but not without firstly Dan climbing all over the back of him trying to find a way back past until he spun out. Next to take up the challenge was Stuart Whitehouse (T5), who once he had reeled Phil in was all over the back of him trying to make his move. With no answer it was Phil who took the win, fresh from his class nine victory, which saw him re-write the history books becoming the most successful at the nationals with his 8th title! The battle for third was close between Jack Gibbons (LM17) and Max Lewis (R271), and across the line it finished in this order.  

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Class 9: ARC6 PHIL COOPER

2nd P25EM Phillip Barleyman 3rd LUD80 Jimmy Smith 4th SC4 John Whitehouse

A clean run final saw defending champion, Phil Cooper (ARC6) take the lead from the start. Despite their best efforts the rest of the field weren’t able to make an impact on Phil, who pulled away from the battling field to take a more that comfortable win. It was for the rest of the trophy positions where the real fight was. John Whitehouse (SC4) looked like Phil’s closest competitor at the start of the race, but dropped back whilst battling with Phillip Barleyman (P25EM) and Jimmy Smith (LUD80). This was a battle the continued throughout the race, and it was in this order that they crossed the line, but John had picked up a green flag dropping him back to fourth place. Behind the leading group both Steven Lindsay (PHD1), who was unbeaten during the heats, and Jason Richardson (P5EM) were battling it out and were both hot on the tails of trophy positions.

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Class 10: ARC1 LEE SEAGREAVES

2nd PHD2 Phil Rogers 3rd NS120 Liam Evans 4th BC22 Lance Bowen

It was Liam Evans (NS120) who went into the final as favourite, having been the only one unbeaten over the heats, and he was the first to show, taking the lead going into the first bend. However it was Lee Seagreaves (ARC1) and Lance Bowen (BC22) who came out of the bend in front, with many laps being raced side by side, with Lee just holding onto the lead most of the time. There was a battle behind with Phil Rogers (PHD2), Liam and Wes Tinker (Y40). Phil managed to grab second place with a lap or so to go, but this being one of the closest thought finals of the day, coming out of the last bend it really could have been any of the top four who took the win. It was Lee who added another nationals title to his collection, with Phil second, Liam third and Lance fourth.

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Champion of Champions: ARC4 PHIL COOPER

2nd CY7 John Wilde 3rd SC61 Andy Holtby 4th SL22 Jason Ballantyne

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Nottingham – Winter Series Round 3

Well we’ve got to that time of year again, the end of October only means one thing on the Autograss calendar, the end of the season.

Over the course of the 7 month season I have visited many clubs and venues that I had not been to before, we certainly have spent a lot of time travelling this year. For the last meeting of the season I went back to Nottingham, where the season started, both on the calendar and for me.

Traditionally Nottingham Autograss club hosts the season opener and come the end of the season they hold the Winter Series, which consists of three rounds, with the last one being the last meeting on the Autograss calendar across the county.

The winter series runs over the three meetings with each round having three heats with the accumulated points over the rounds determining the trophy winners. Congratulations to all of those that took part over the series and came away as the 2016 Winter Series Champions.

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There was only one of Team Concord racing on Sunday, and that was Barry Hathaway (C183E). The trip up to Notts was in order to test the class 7 out before the end of the season after an engine change. Before one of the engines blew up at Wessex in July the car had been flying, and back out there this weekend it was again. In the first run, Barry came out the first corner in second position hot on the tails of first place, but driver error a couple of laps later saw him spinning out of contention. The second heat saw Barry taking the lead right at the start, but a few laps in and the same thing as in the first heat happened, he spun out of contention, with not enough laps to catch the now front runners up. In the third heat, it came together with a second place.

I have to say that the race of the day has to go to the three car battle in the class 6’s between Martyn Janes (N10), Lloyd Elliot (IK64) and Jordan Hampson (P70EM). This battle started with the bungee and continued all the way to the chequered flag, it was great to watch and definitely a battle to keep an eye out for next season.

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At the start of the season I never thought that the most visited track of the 2016 season would be Notts, but it wins with three visits over the season. Thank you and well done to the Nottingham Team for another great days racing.

Thank you to Ted Shillitto for the use of his photos, check out his album on the Nottingham Autograss Facebook page for more photos from Sunday’s meeting. 

Keep an eye on the blog page for further posts, I am still catching up after a hectic summer, with posts still to come from the Men’s Nationals, Ladies and Junior Nationals, Border Counties Festival, St Nets last meeting, Concord on Tour at the UKAC and a championship round-up of the UKAC.

So that’s it, 2016 is officially over. Fingers crossed for an early kick off in 2017 with a possible trip to the Birmingham NEC for the Autosport Show in January.