HAND CLINCHES TITLE IN ANOTHER DOMINANT WEEKEND
Although unlikely, it was still possible for Charlie Hand to be beaten to the Junior Saloon Car Championship at the Brands Hatch finale.
Starting from pole in Saturday’s race, he found himself fending off Will Redford for second through Paddock Hill Bend, after Harvey Caton had grabbed the early lead.
But Caton’s glory was shortlived, as he lost the rear end into Graham Hill Bend and slid off across the grass.
With Jacob Heap crashing out at the first corner, the safety car was out for three laps, before racing resumed with Hand heading Redford, Ruben Hage and Jamie Petters.
Behind there had been contact at the green flag, as Chloe Grant was caught out and clipped the rear of Oliver Cottam’s car.
While Redford successfully shadowed Hand for the entire race, he was never quite close enough to make a serious challenge.
Behind it was a different story with Hage and Petters wheel to wheel for the whole race. On consecutive laps Petters got ahead into paddock, only for Hage to take it back at Druids.
But on the final lap they exited Clearways side by side, but Petters had the outside line and won the drag to the line by a whisker.
Aaron Walker just held onto fifth from Jack Meakin, while Grant retained seventh, from the closing Alfie Jeakins. Matthew Cripps and Scott Sumpton rounded off the top 10.
With Ashley Gregory in the barriers at Druids on the opening lap of the second race, the safety car was out again for the first three laps.
It was an immediate three-car break from the green flag, with Hand heading Redford and Caton, before a gap to the duelling Hage and Petters again.
Caton had started to push for second and finally got through at Surtees on lap six. The gap to Hand started to close, which left Redford in a more solitary third.
As the lead trio held station over the remaining laps, Petters began to press for fourth. Despite nosing alongside on a number of occasions, Hage kept the line and his defence held tight, leaving newly crowned Rookie Champion Petters to settle for fifth.
Meakin had another strong race and managed to escape the fights behind, to go clear in sixth.
For a while it was Harvey Dent in seventh, but he lost out to Harry Hickton on lap eight. But Cripps came with a late charge and got by into Paddock, only for Hickton to successfully retaliate at Druids.
Cripps finally made it stick, with Hickton losing out, as Jeakins, Walker and Loui Hounsell all got by in the closing laps.
The seasons is over, the Champions are crowned and while some drivers will now be moving on, we look forward to welcoming back the rest at Silverstone in March 2022.
Published by Peter Scherer for Junior Saloon Car Championship, November 9th 2021