On Sunday I attended my first National Autograss meeting of the year with a trip up to sunny Nottingham.
After a delayed start to their season after the terrible weather a couple of weeks ago Nottingham Autograss Club was host to the first of the East Midland’s national qualifying. The league consists of the four clubs; Leicester, Melton, Nottingham and Pennine, and there were not only many members from these clubs but plenty of visiting drivers with 173 drivers signed on for the day.
At the end of the meeting there was also to be the Mick Wyld memorial with the winner of the Champion of Champions race awarded the trophy. Unfortunately, the meeting was brought to a premature end during the Ladies class 14 final with a hefty shunt from Fran Gould (N13) who hit the posts at full speed which launched her over the other side of the fencing. We can report though that Fran was ok, with no serious injury. However, the damage to the fencing was significant and therefore the meeting came to a close early which meant the Mick Wyld memorial race didn’t take place and I am sure will be arranged for another date by the Nottingham club.
With so many drivers there was some fantastic racing, I could talk about it all but we would be here all day so instead I have picked out some of the day’s highlights.
There was a strong contest in class six throughout the day with four drivers battling it out at the front. In the early running of the first heat it was Micky Manning (E5) who looked to be the favourite of the day, except a few laps in he was encountering problems and ended the race early and his day. That left the three local drivers, Lloyd Elliot (N53), Ben Gadsby (P7EM) and Jordan Hampson (P70EM) to fight for top honours. In the heats it was Gadsby who had the upper hand taking two wins. The start of the final it was an even break from these three front runners but first to get his nose in front going into the first turn was Elliot with Gadsby hot on his tail. The second turn saw Gadsby making a mistake which dropped him back to fourth where he was then in a battle for third with (ST91) and (SC84). Elliot and Hampson pulled away but it wasn’t long before Gadsby had chased them down, although too late to make a challenge. Elliot led the way from start to finish and Hampson taking second. This looks set to be a close qualifying fight between the three drivers.
Throughout the day there had been close battles between the class two drivers and in the final there was a level break and the leaders ran three-a-breast through turn one with Simon Overty (SC18) on the inside, Craig Conway (SC1) on the inside and Clint Fowles (P84EM) in the middle all the while allowing Ashley Robinson (SP43) to move up from the mid pack to second with Overty leading the way. Over the opening laps Conway and Fowles dropped back from the leading duo with John Gadsby (P12EM) joining the battle for third. The leading two ended the race with a dash to the line after drawing level coming out of the final turn. It was Robinson who just edged his nose in front to take the win from Overty who had led the rest of the race. Conway pulled clear for third with Gadsby taking fourth from Fowles.
As expected the super sevens were ones to watch with a day long battle between local man Phil Barleyman (P23EM) and fans favourite Andy Holtby (SC61). Over the course of the heats Barleyman was able to make the best of the start to get the lead by the first turn and no matter what he tried Holtby wasn’t able to find a way past. In the final it was once again Barleyman who took the lead first leaving Holtby with all the work to do. On the final lap going into the final bend the pair caught up the backmarkers which allowed Holtby to close the gap but it wasn’t enough leaving Barleyman to take his third win of the day. These are a pair that undoubtedly you need to keep your eyes open for when it comes to the bigger meetings.
Below is a list of the full final results.
1st NW51 2nd P37EM 3rd NW44 4th NW52 5th L14 6th N172 7th NS212
1st S47Y 2nd SN351 3rd L1 4th P16EM
1st N17 2nd N1 3rd N582 4th NW3 5th C20E
1st P23EM 2nd SC61 3rd P8EM 4th P26EM 5th N48 6th P20EM
1st YD182 2nd ARC31 3rd P5EM 4th M888 5th WR111 6th P25EM 7th Y42 8th N9
1st ST1 2nd P89EM 3rd S74Y 4th WR600 5th WR79 6th ST38
1st NW52 2nd CA42 3rd SR29 4th N35 5th WR72 6th L34 7th ST113
1st Y15 2nd N592 3rd R1 4th IK156 5th P888EM 6th SC81 7th WR222 8th YD22
1st SP43 2nd SC18 3rd SC1 4th P12EM 5th P84EM 6th N441 7th N156
1st N53 2nd P70EM 3rd P7EM 4th SC84 5th ST91 6th T191 7th Y306
1st Y1 2nd YD92 3rd N712 4th M55 5th S351Y 6th N65
1st N8 2nd M11 3rd NW80 4th SC17 5th Y811 6th R40 7th C83E
1st Y14 2nd WR96 3rd N13 4th NS22 5th N332
1st NS34 2nd SP27 3rd SR198 4th P27EM