WATTS WINS IN THE WET – FORMULA BLUE CHALLENGE ROUND 1
The drivers at the Clay Pigeon Circuit on March 8th in the opening round of the Formula BLUE Challenge were subjected to a weekend of high winds, cloud, rain and hail. As a consequence, some racers were caught out being slick shod when it rained halfway through a heat. Those drivers who gambled on wet tyres scored well!
The front row of the Final consisted of Dave Watts on Pole and Stuart Gray opposite. The second row had Anthony Cleal and Nigel Vickery.
Before the Final, the heavens opened up once more so there was no doubt over the wets or slicks decision issue. Some drivers did, however, opt for intermediate wets and suffered a little during the race.
From the ‘off’, Watts forged into the lead followed by Gray and Cleal. Paul Alexander and Russell O’Neill forced their way past Vickery into 4th and 5th places. Michael Bell accounted for Rob Mortimore. From the back, Alex Fortune rocketed up to 11th passing Ron shone, Kevin O’Neill and Mark Cook in the process.
Into lap two and Cleal’s race was over, hitting a pool of water he slid off into the barriers. Russell O’Neill passed Alexander in the confusion. Fortune continued his change passing Waldron for 9th spot.
Lap three and Serita Shone was by Mortimore and into 7th place. Fortune followed her through. Cook scraped past Waldron and Kevin O’Neill outgunned Ron Shone.
Next lap and Vickery slid wide allowing Bell, Serita Shone, and Fortune through. Ron shone re took Kevin O’Neill, who as the rain turned to hail was struggling on his intermediate wet tyres.
Lap five and Cook spun 360 degrees in the wet, taking Mortimore with him. Although Cook was able to continue, Mortimore suffered a steering breakage and had to retire. Waldron took the opportunity to pass them both.
Half distance and Watts was clear at the front. Passing backmarkers would look to be his only concern. Not so behind, as Russell O’Neill was hounding Gray trying every which way to find an opening to get past.
A little way back a battle royale was taking place between Alexander, Bell, Serita Shone, Vickery and Fortune.
On lap nine, the pressure finally told as Gray spun, allowing O’Neill through. Gray was able to recover before the chasing pack was on him. Alexander also succumbed to the pressure of the group on his rear bumper, on lap twelve and he spun losing six places.
On the penultimate lap with Watts cruising in the lead. O’Neill was equally secure in 2nd place with Gray 15 seconds adrift. Serita Shone finally found a way past Bell and Fortune accounted for Vickery.
So to the chequered flag, with a Pole to Flag win for David Watts. Three seconds adrift, O’Neill had gradually closed him down achieving the fastest lap in the process. 3rd over the line was Stuart Gray. A tight finish for the chasing group saw Serita Shone cross the line ahead of Mike Bell, Alex Fortune and Nigel Vickery.
When the grid and finish points were added together, David Watts emerged as the clear winner on Zero points, with Stuart Gray in 2nd place and Russell O’Neill in 3rd. Nigel Vickery came in 4th ahead of Mike Bell and Serita Shone, who tied for 5th place.
In the Master sub-group, Gray took the lead on 2 points in front of Russell O’Neil on 5 points and Vickery with 7 points.
Gray also established a lead in the Veteran section. this time from Vickery and a tied pair of Alexander and Waldron.
With a near clean sweep, Gray now heads the Legend sub-class from Cook, with a tie for 3rd between Kevin O’Neill and Ron Shone.
Cook, who nearly went home when the weather was at its worst, ended up leading the Top Weight section with Ron Shone and Rob Mortimore 5 points adrift sharing 2nd spot.
The next round is once again at the Clay Pigeon Circuit on April 12th. Here the Formula Blue Challenge is combined with he Wessex Championships, so it should be a blinder !!
For more details and points update please view the results section on the www. planetkarting.uk website or CLICK HERE