After 38 meetings having been cancelled so far of the 2018 Autograss season and only two having run, one in mainland England back in March and one in Northern Ireland, just one week ago, this weekend the season got fully underway with six meetings running across England, Wales and Ireland.
The week’s heat wave continued over the weekend at Invicta Kent, with the sun shining on the first meeting of the season – a national qualifier for both the Kent and Essex leagues. This meant it was straight down to business for all.
With it being the first meeting run and national qualifiers it was a busy day with 150 drivers signed on. This meant for some brilliant close racing with it all to play for and black score sheets. Here are some of the highlights from the day.
Over the heats of class two there were two drivers who lead the points going into the final with two wins each, Gary Wickham (IK13) and Carl Brooks (C14E). Wickham was the one who got away, along with Jack Bromley (IK130) the two fighting the lead, whilst Brooks was in his own battle behind with Connor Bishop (IK252). Come the chequered flag Bromley had made the move on Wickham to take the win, Wickham had picked up a green flag which dropped him down to fourth. The battle between Brooks and Bishop continued throughout, but Bishop got the position to take second ahead of Brooks in third.
Two long time class three racers, Anthony Teather (C7E) and Martin Beaney (IK316), enjoyed some side-by-side battles across the two heats. In each of the heats Teather put himself in front at the start, but this didn’t deter Beaney who managed to find a way past two take the win in each of them. In the final however it was Beaney who got the best start and led until the end whilst Teather was in a battle with John Berry (IK21) behind, with Berry taking second and Teather third.
In class five down in Kent we are used to seeing a battle between the two Thorndyke brothers, Colin (IK2) and Ian (IK22). This weekend was no exception. Colin held the upper hand though and took the win in both of the heats with Ian finishing second. In the final, Steve Donovan (IK72) had split the two brothers and was sitting in second whilst the three of them battled for the top position. However misfortune struck Donovan with a lap to go when his engine let go. Colin made it three out of three and Ian picked up second.
The Stock Hatch class has grown in Kent over the last couple of seasons, but this time out it was two Concord drivers, both making their return to the class for the 2018 season, who were out in front. Taking two wins each in the heats were John Sullivan (C3E) and Glen Embling (C608E). It would be the first time they went head-to-head in the final, however Sullivan got tangled up in the first bend leaving Embling to take the honors and a clean sweep.
Ladies class 11, a combination of classes one and two, was the closest of the ladies classes, with three different winners across the day. Charlotte Lines (IK498) took the first win of the day in her class one with the class one of Bethany Embling (C535E) and class two of Hannah Hinton (NASA25) closing down on her, Hinton finishing second ahead of Embling. Heat two went to Embling again with Hinton in second. In the final though Hinton was able to work her way through all of the class one’s to take the win.
The junior specials provided us with some wheel-to-wheel action. Luke Stiles (IK130) made a good start in each of the races to get in front, however he had close competition in Finn Wells (IK156) with the two running side-by-side a lot, however Wells was able to edge his way in front to take the three wins.
It was great to finally be back at an Autograss track after what has been a very long winter. The next meeting we will be attending will be at Cambridge Autograss Club on 13th May.