HAND MAKES IT THREE OUT OF FOUR AT SNETTERTON
With qualifying reduced to three laps behind the safety car for safety reasons, the grid for race one was in Championship order. So Charlie Hand was on pole from Alfie Jeakins, with Aaron Walker and Ruben Hage sharing row two at the head of 27 car field.
As the lights went out it was Jeakins nosing ahead, before Hand dived down his inside at Riches to lead on the exit.
Walker and Hage followed closely, but both moved up quickly when Jeakins slowed. “It was a promising start but then my clutch started slipping out of the first corner,” Jeakins explained.
Hage and James Wallis continued to press for second, but at the front, Hand was just driving clear.
Oliver Cottam then started to close on Wallis, and the Mathew Cripps/Tommy Gilham battle for sixth started to close on them both.
Hage made his move for second down the inside at Riches, to secure second from lap four. ”I just had to choose my spot, but then I couldn’t shake him off,” he said as Walker tried to re-challenge.
With Wallis off after five laps, Cottam was into fourth, with Loui Hounsell and Cripps challenging. But at the end of the lap Cottam was heading towards the pit, “I was catching the duel for second, it felt good and then the driveshaft went,” he explained.
Cripps then caught Walker for third and shared an exchange at Riches, but with Deagen Fairclough parked up after a fuel line split, the race was red flagged and declared at six laps.
Hand took win number two by over 16 seconds, “although Alfie got me at the start, I soon got away and just did my own race,” he said.
Hage and Walker completed the podium, with Hounsell fifth as top rookie, followed by Tommy Gilham and Harvey Caton, recovering from an off at Hamilton on the opening lap.
Harry Hickton, Ashley Gregory and Jacob Heap completed the top 10.
It was all plain sailing for Hand in the second race, as it took a while for the 15 car train in second to fragment.
Cripps got ahead of Walker on the second lap and Caton joined then in a decisive break, after Hage lost power and his engine cut out.
It was side by side though for Walker and Cripps through Coram on the fourth lap, they exchanged twice before the exit of Murrays, which allowed Caton to join them.
“I got Matthew into Agostini’s,” said Caton after securing second place. “Yes I made a few mistakes, but happy with third,” Cripps added.
Walker was the one to lose out but was still delighted with fourth, “I had a tap too, made some mistakes but fourth gives me second in the championship,” he said.
After starting at the back Jeakins was also delighted to secured fifth by the end of the third lap. “Good start, made positions and used the drag,” he explained.
Hounsell was sixth, “I had a bad start then just chose my moments,” he reckoned.
Cottam, Gilham, Fairclough and Jamie Goode completed the top 10, but a driving standards penalty dropped Fairclough to 11th, promoting Harry Rice to 10th.
It’s that long trip to Scotland for the next rounds, Knockhill June 19th/20th.
Published for the Junior Saloon Car Championship by Peter Scherer, May 10th 2021