Despite the met office forecasting another wet race for the entire week leading up to this race, the day dawned cloudy but otherwise dry. Even without the rain to mix things up, it was always going to be a threeway fight between Raceandclassics, Titan and G3Pro. After a podium finish last time out, it was a shame to see Rotax Means Rotax missing from this race. Whether their absence will hurt their championship position at the end of the season remains to be seen.
Qualifying itself was an interesting affair. G3Pro claimed a fantastic pole position ahead of Raceandclassics, who were actually third on the road behind an inters team. G3Pro Farecla were third with another inters team (G3Pro G360) in fourth in what is rapidly turning into the national G3Pro championship. Titan Motorsport were the fourth fastest prem team but way back in fourteenth on the actual grid, one place ahead of SoundFP. SMJ Racing were next up and Team Applewood last in class.
G3Pro made a good start and led the field away. A good start from Raceandclassics.com saw them slot into second on the road after the two inters teams dived into the pits. G3Pro Farecla slotted into third. An early stop saw G3Pro disappear from the leader board on lap 3. Raceandclassics took over at the front and they set about putting some strong laps together as they opted for a long first stint. Titan were slowly working their way up through the field after a poor qualifying performance. When Raceandclassics came in for their stop, they emerged just behind G3Pro but managed to nip past on track shortly afterwards. Once all the pit stops had been completed they had built a comfortable gap over their main rivals. G3Pro were leading G3Pro Farecla by a small handful of seconds. SoundFP were next up and ahead of Team Applewood and SMJ Racing. Titan were way down the order at this stage of the race and out of sync with their main rivals, but as we approached mid distance they had clawed their way back into contention. Having led most of the middle part of the race quite comfortably, it looked like it was going to be an easy win for Raceandclassics. They seemed to have the legs on both Titan and G3Pro and, despite the lap times being so close throughout the field, they remained largely unchallenged for the most part. In fact such was the closeness of the field in terms of lap times, there were a number of unusual and unlikely teams near the front. It was quite hard to keep track of what was going on. Well, that coupled with the fact that I was being treated to a double-sized greasy breakfast by the nice caterers at the Lydd circuit. The fry-up there has always been good. Anyway, I digress. While it was at times difficult to keep track of where the leaders were due to the lack of a timing loop in the pits, it was clear that Raceandclassics, Titan and the two G3Pro prem teams were on the money. SoundFP were putting together some strong laps to just about keep in touch. Team Applewood were there or thereabouts. Once again having a day to forget were the poor SMJ boys who seem to have become the Williams of the prems this year. Well, minus the past success… sorry boys. Back at the front and, with 25 laps to go, Raceandclassics still led. Titan were three seconds behind and a further seven seconds ahead of G3Pro. However, the last stint saw G3Pro rapidly pick up the pace. Coupled with an exceptionally fast couple of pit stops, they got themselves right in the mix. With ten laps to go they dispatched Titan for second and set about catching the long-time race leaders. After nearly two hours of racing, the top three teams were separated by a little over a second. The flying Joe Jolmes in G3Pro was right on the tail of Raceandclassic’s Jack Harding as they entered the last couple of laps. Titan had fallen a couple of seconds back so it became a two horse race for the lead. The sheer pace of Holmes was too much for Harding and he succumbed on the penultimate lap. After leading most of the race, it was a demoralising defeat for the boys in orange. On the other hand, it was a fantastic first premier win for G3Pro and thoroughly deserved. Second is still a good result for Raceandclassics and Titan managed to salvage a good result in third.
Not only was it a maiden win for G3Pro in the G3Pro sponsored Club100 championship, G3Pro Farecla finished a creditable fifth and G3Pro G360 also took victory in the inters race. I estimate than by 2023 every driver in Club100 will be driving for a G3Pro team. Their win also puts them within 10 points of second placed Raceandclassics in the championship. In turn, Raceandclassics closed to the gap to Titan by five points. With four races still to run, it really could go one of three ways. Maybe I’m biased but it would be great to see G3Pro wn the G3Pro Club100 championship…