Premier Sprint Championship, 2014, Rd.4

Changeable weather conditions then for the drivers to contend with throughout the day. When the sun was out it quite hot but when it disappeared behind the clouds the temperatures plummeted along with the grip levels causing plenty of discussion amongst the drivers regarding tyres. Brand new or worn gentlemen, it’s the same for everyone.

Sprint Heat 1

John Maycock led away from pole with Stephen Hicks slotting in behind but not for long as Trevor Randall came barrelling by for second at the end of lap 1. Jack Harding was the big loser on the first tour spinning out and dropping to the rear of the field. Hicks then began to fall off the pace and was rapidly devoured by the chasing pack that included Pete O’Connor, up to fifth from grid 12 and really flying. Randall was demoted for second by Alex Ring and began to lose ground. But it was O’Connor who was catching the eye setting fastest lap on lap 4 and closing rapidly on Maycock for the lead. Ian Blake was also making good progress from grid 9 and taking a fading Randall for fifth and closing on fourth placed Ring. Meanwhile O’Connor was up to second which soon became first as Maycock made a slight error exiting the chicane. Randall’s early good pace came to nothing as he spun down to fifteenth.
At the flag though it was O’Connor from Maycock and Norris.

Sprint Heat 2

The reverse grid saw Simon Alcock on pole from Scott Martin both looking for good finishes after a poor first heat. Alcock led away but was quickly passed by Geoff Saunderson. There was some real squabbling going off over the first lap with Martin dropping to seventh, Elliot down to eighth and Jonathan Lisseter the major loser dropping to the back of the pack. O’Connor had fought his way into third but was carrying a one place penalty having clipped a cone at the chicane. At the front Saunderson was hanging on to the lead but Stuart Martin was harrying him all the way and slipped by for the lead at the end of the back straight. Saunderson was the n passed by the flying O’Connor and then a recovering Scott Martin. Alcocks day just got worse as he fell down the field to eventually finish thirteenth. The race settled down in the last couple of laps with Stuart Martin taking the flag from O’Connor with Scott Martin third, which became second thanks to O’Connor’s one place penalty. Matt Brooks, Darren Teal and Jay Elliot rounding out the top six. Scott Martin took fastest lap in the two heats being the only driver to break the 41 second barrier. Jack Harding’s day didn’t get any better being hit with a four place penalty for advantage by contact.

Premier Sprint Final 1

Heading the points for the day and thus on pole was Pete O’Connor followed by Daz Teal, Stuart Martin, Jay Elliot, championship leader Ian Blake and Ray Norris. Teal got the jump on O’Connor to take the lead with Martin third. Behind these though it was mayhem as Elliot spun down to second last. Blake grabbed fourth hotly pursued by a fast starting Brooks, Saunderson, up from twelfth to sixth in the confusion, closely tailed by Jonathan Lisseter who was also taking full advantage of others mistakes climbing up to eighth. At the front though O’Connor was all over Teal and forced his way through at the hairpin as Teal ran a little wide. From then on he really put the hammer down and pulled rapidly away. Blake was nibbling at Martin for third but Brooks early showing came to nought as firstly Scott Martin and Saunderson came by followed by Lisseter and Hicks. Meanwhile O’Connor was off into the distance at the front but Teal was coming under pressure from Blake. Saunderson was closing rapidly though on both with Hicks really looking interested just behind. They were both through on lap 10 followed a lap later by Scott Martin. Down the field Elliot was trying hard to make up lost ground whilst John Maycock fell back steadily down the field. At the front though O’Connor continued to pull away taking the flag by a good margin and celebrating in arm pumping style for a first win in two years. I can’t repeat what he said after the race but clearly his new training regime of getting blathered the night before worked well for him. Blake finished a good second with Teal in third. Hicks grabbed fourth from Saunderson on the final tour with Scott martin in sixth. Apart from O’Connor’s dominant performance Hicks and Saunderson were the stars of the race both making up seven places with Hicks setting fastest lap.

Premier Sprint Final 2

Scott Martins sub 41 second lap saw him on pole from Daz Teal. Stephen Hicks and Pete O’Connor locked out the second row with Stuart Martin and Matt Brooks just behind. Championship leader Ian Blake was seventh with much to do. Martin led away but Teal made his move at the end of the back straight and was alongside and then through into the lead. Hicks took advantage to close up and was on Martins bumper down the straight. O’Connor lost out to a fast starting Blake but Matt Brooks’s day just didn’t get any better as he fell down the order to fifteenth by the end of lap 1. Stuart Martin also got pushed back down the order by Harding and Ring.
Teal though was well into his stride at the front. Hicks was briefly by Martin for second but then threw it away as Martin recovered the place followed by Blake, O’Connor and Jack Harding, up from grid 12. As they entered lap 5 Blake made it by Martin for second and set off in pursuit of Teal. O’Connor held fourth from Harding with Jay Elliot in close attendance. Hicks meanwhile was having a very ragged second half of the race falling back down the field to eventually finish in fifteenth having picked up a two place penalty for cone abuse.
At the front Teal continued to lead but Blake was keeping him honest. The two of them had polled a good lead on the chasing pack and Teal paced the race wisely to take a well judged win from Blake. These two were well ahead of Scott Martin, Jay Elliot, and Pete O’Connor, perhaps tiring a little after the previous night’s exploits, and Tim Clark in sixth after an impressive run from grid 12. Jack Harding’s strong run came to nothing as Clark, Stuart Martin and Ring got the better of him on the final lap.
The race though and the spoils for the day belonged to Daz Teal who took top step on the podium by virtue of the race win in Final 2. Ian Blake had the same points by virtue of two second places with Pete O’Connor third.
Ian Blake now has a healthy lead in the championship from Daz Teal with Matt Brooks and Scott Martin third and fourth respectively. But there’s still a lot of racing left to do.