The MAP Open, held at the John Wilkin Raceway and hosted by the Midlands League, is one of the most prestigious titles on the Autograss calendar and the commitment to achieve the MAP Open Champion title, and the Class Champion titles is evident from the drivers given the conditions that many of them had to complete the finals in.
After perfect conditions all through the heats on Saturday and on Sunday morning, the rain came just in time for the finals, however the Class 1’s were lucky to complete their race just as it started to rain, with Michael Winkworth (C211E) having broken away from the pack from the start to take a convincing win, whilst the rest of the field battled behind him.
However when the Class 3’s came out, the rain was really coming down and for both them and the Class 5’s the track was resembling a lake. Both races were stopped as did the racing. When the Class 3’s came back out for their rerun, the race was almost completed before it was stopped again, for reasons that were unclear from the side-lines. However on the third attempt it went to the chequered flag, with Chris Allanson (S47Y) taking the win.
The Class 5 final was completed on its second run, and it was Colin Thorndyke (IK2) who made the best of the rerun, he took the lead off of the start and held it to the end, with everyone fighting each other behind him.
The Class 7 final lived up to its Super Saloon status, with a four car battle for the lead involving defending champion Andy Holtby (SC61), Marc Clayton (SC99), Jake Lee (SC212) and the only non-Scunthorpe member Phil Barleyman (P23EM). Places were being swapped at every bend, however it was Barleyman who got the better of the Scunny boys to take the win.
Conditions had started to improve by the time the Class 9’s came out, however two came together and out came the red flags. On the rerun John Whitehouse (SC4) was unbeatable, taking the chequered flag with over a half a lap lead on second place.
For the first half of the Class 2 final there was a two car battle for first between Barry Lewis (PAC10) and Tony Hawkins (SV5), however Lewis spun out during the closing stages and dropped down to third, leaving Hawkins to take the win.
The Class 4 final was raced on a drying track, but with only one line. Jamie Williams (M58), in his first year in the adults, made the best start, took the lead and pulled away from the chasing pack in an uneventful race.
We saw another battle in the Class 6 final between the two local men of Micky Manning (E5) and Dave Houghton (R27) for the win, however it was Manning who made the best of the conditions to take the victory.
It was on the second attempt that the Class 8 final saw the flag, where there had been a battle at the front between Darren Mullen (WR38) and Nathan Rees (S57). It was Mullen who crossed the line first, but having been given a green flag he was dropped down to third, leaving the win for Rees to take.
The last of the Men’s classes to race was the Class 10’s, and this finished with a convincing win from Phil Rogers (PHD2).
By the time we saw the ladies come out conditions had improved which allowed for some closer racing. The Class 1 saw defending champion Ellie Bailey (SC174) walk away with another win.
When the Class 3 race came out, it was Jade Russell (S47Y) who followed in her Dad’s footsteps to take the win.
The Class 5 final saw a three car battle between mother and daughter Claire Winnall (B66H) and Linzi Weare (YS32) and Kirsty Godfrey (CA10). However it was Weare who held them off to take the win.
On the second attempt for the Class 7’s it was Jodie Faulkner (SR6) who took the win at the start and held off the chasing pack.
In the Class 9 final we saw Clare Horner (M14), her first time out in the car this year, take the lead at the start and to hold off any challenges from the field behind, adding to her three heat wins and becoming unbeaten in the class.
The Class 2 final saw another clear winner in the shape of Sophie Morgan (R420), who broke away from the battling duo of Jess Roberts (SC126) and Leanne Huschka (SL222).
There were only three entries for the weekend in Class 4, and it was Claire Lancaster (R47) who had the upper hand all weekend, taking three heat wins and the victory in the final.
At the start of the Class 6 race we saw a battle between Fiona Thomas (TA66) and Jenny Brown (PAC37) for the top spot, but Thomas took a too wide a line and dropped down the order, leaving the win for Brown.
The Class 8’s are one of the most popular classes and one of the closest to call too. However, it was Clare Horner (M62) who took up the lead and despite Sandra Jones (C10) chasing her down she took her second final win of the weekend.
Defending Class 10 champion Kelly Bishop (YS37), was able to repeat her 2016 performance and take the win in the final, pulling away from the battling trio behind her.
This weekend was also host to the British Junior Championship, in the Junior Saloon category there was a clear winner from the bungee, with Tom Herbert (S31D) having took the lead and then pulled away from the two car battle for second.
However, the Junior Specials was a much closer battle for the top spot. A close race all the way down the field, saw a three car battle for the lead and it was Jake Lockwood (SC393) who took the win.