The fourth and penultimate round of the popular Essex Winter Series championship took place this weekend on the large carpet circuit in the South-East of the UK. With the International Carpet Challenge taking place at the venue next month, a few drivers were not only using the meeting to hunt for EWS glory, but also to test ahead of the upcoming event. The Modified class saw a return to the championship for round 1 winner, Andy Moore, and his almost production-ready HPI HB Pro 5. Andy continued where he left off, topping the first round of qualifying, ahead of former multi-time EWS champion Paul Pinkney for Schumacher.
The second round saw Andy being pipped to the top spot by his former team-mate Stefan Chodzynski, who was making his debut for Capricorn. Paul took third, ahead of new Team Associated convert Chris Grainger. Stefan took the third round too, after an accident took Andy out of the race. Phil Chambers made the third round a Capricorn 1-2 as he posted second best time, with Alan Bickerstaff (Team Associated) in third. Andy’s accident had clearly done more damage than he first realised, as he dropped out of the fourth round, leaving Stefan to again take the fastest time and secure the pole position, with Chris Grainger setting the second fastest time of the round, now fully up to speed with his new ride. That meant Andy would line up second on the grid, ahead of Paul, Chris and Alan.
The A Final saw Andy, now with a fully sorted car, immediately challenging Stefan, whilst Paul had to fend off the attentions of his former stable-mate Chris in a battle for third. Andy and Stefan’s battle allowed Paul and Chris to close in, until Andy’s pressure paid off and Stefan rolled his car coming through the fast chicane onto the back straight. Andy quickly built a steady lead, as Stefan dropped into third. Stefan now battled hard with Paul, until he was able to enact a pass in the second half of the race. Andy had done enough to maintain a safe lead over Stefan, whilst Chris managed to pass Paul to secure the final step on the podium.
Modified A-final result
1. Andy Moore – HB/Hobbywing – 22/304.08
2. Stefan Chodzynski – Capricorn/Thunder Power – 22/304.98
3. Chris Grainger – Assocaited/Reedy – 22/307.97
4. Paul Pinkney – Schumacher/Hobbywing – 22/314.69
5. Alan Bickerstaff – Associated/Reedy – 22/315.11
6. Ashley Wiffen – Yokomo/ORCA – 22/318.80
7. Jonny Bowden – ARC/Hobbywing – 21/301.50
8. Phil Chambers – Capricorn/Reedy – 21/305.87
9. Daniel Veness – Xray/GM – 21/306.20
10.Brian Eldridge – Yokomo/Muchmore – 20/300.37
In the Super Stock class, the championship could be decided today, if current leader Tony Broad could take maximum points from the day. Tony kicked off the right way, topping the first round, ahead of championship rival Jimmy Maddison and top junior Will Vertigan. Tony backed this up with another fastest time in the second round, again ahead of Jimmy but with James Baker taking third. The third championship contender, Zak Finlay, took the third round, ahead of Jon Seals and Jimmy. Tony rebounded to top the final qualifier and secure pole position, with Jon setting the second best time of the round, in front of Jimmy. That left Jon to line up second on the grid, Jimmy third and Zak fourth.
The A Final saw Tony five minutes away from taking the EWS Championship title. Jimmy and Zak were keen to show they wouldn’t give that title up without a fight, and managed to pass Jon in the early stages of the race to keep the pressure on Tony. The three best stock racers in the UK raced nose to tail, with Tony doing enough to keep his Xray in front of the VBC of Jimmy and Yokomo of Tony and the championship title within sight. The final lap saw Jimmy the closest he had been for the whole five minutes, and somehow he managed to find a gap just wide enough to fit his Protoform Dodge Dart bodyshell through the inside of Tony on the very final corner and held on to snatch a win, and keep the championship battle going to the final round.
Super Stock A-final result
1. Jimmy Maddison – VBC/ORCA – 21/304.41
2. Tony Broad – Xray/ORCA – 21/304.63
3. Zak Finlay – Yokomo/ORCA – 21/304.97
4. Will Vertigan – ARC/Trinity – 20/300.26
5. James Baker – Schumacher/Nosram – 20/302.64
6. Jon Seals – Xray/ORCA – 20/306.32
7. Andrew Carter – Yokomo/Hobbywing – 20/306.82
8. Michael Redshaw – Awesomatix/Orion – 20/307.22
9. Mark Buonaiuto – Yokomo/Trinity – 20/308.89
10.Gavin Clinch – ARC/G Force – DNF
The Junior Championship saw Will Vertigan once again take the maximum points in the Super Stock class, whilst EWS newcomer, but experienced on-road nitro expert, Alex Thurston, took the Modified top spot. The championship concludes in early March, with both championships set to be decided.