At the weekend, the BRCA GT12 contenders made their way to Sheffield for rounds 3 and 4 of the 2018/19 National championships. Sheffield RC Racing were hosting the event which had previously been known as Swifts Raceway before it had merged with another club. The new team had prepared an excellent track for the event with a good balance of technical and fast sections to test the racers. Qualifying started a little rocky for the current championship leader Andy Murray after missing the practise round. After that he was unstoppable, Mark Jewitt would line up behind him after a strong last round run. Scott Morton was the racer on point in GT2. Matthew Cook and David Underwood would line up behind him. The unseeded Graeme Dick lead the way in GT3, that was until he accepted early promotion into GT2. This left current championship leader Ian Diboll to take the TQ spot for the third time this season.
In the GT1 final the field made a very clean start as Murray started to control the pace. Jewitt was not letting him go though and pushed hard to hold a half a second gap to him. This was made even harder with Greg Williams pushing to pass him. This battle continued passed the halfway point of the race when Jewitt tried to give an extra push away from the pressuring Williams. The slight gap he pulled was quickly lost with an error as tyre grip started to disappear. Falling back into Williams attacks again this allowed Murray to extend his lead to 2 seconds and comfortably race on to another premier class victory. Jewitt and Williams completed the race as they started it.
GT1 Rd3 Top 5 results:
1. Andy Murray – Schumacher
2. Mark Jewitt – Schumacher
3. Greg Williams – n/a
4. Adam Mackman – Schumacher
5. Ben Vincent – Zen Racing
In GT2 Morton had to hold back a charging Cook for the first half of the race. Cook got caught up in an incident on lap 12 which allowed Underwood to take advantage into second. This would be how the race finished. GT3 also saw a lights to flag victory for Diboll while Chris Blackburn followed in second. Behind them the young guns were flying with Ewan Thompson producing a strong drive to finish on the podium with Jake Vincent racing through the field from 10th to 4th!
For round 4, the Sheffield RC Racing team had worked hard to change the track overnight. The new layout featured a faster more flowing design to further test the racers setup and racing abilities. Qualifying for GT1 was a similar affair to Round 3 with Andy Murray and Adam Mackman charging to the top of the leader board with their Atoms. But the young Owen Smith had found even more pace on the new layout and by the end of qualifying firmly placed his Zen between the Schumacher teammates. The new layout seemed to really suit the Juniors as Daniel Robins made a strong challenge for the GT2 TQ. He joined in a lead changing battle with Scott Morton and Matthew Cook, however he would have to settle for second when Cook managed to pull off a strong 4th round run. In GT3, Ian Diboll placed his Schumacher on pole with Glenn Atherton in second.
The GT1 final was another masterclass from Murray. Smith suffered a bad start which allowed Mackman through into second, this was short lived though as he pushed too hard trying to catch Murray. A small mistake allowed Smith back through, the pair battled hard allowing Murray to escape away. On lap 7 an incident for Mackman caused him to drop down the order and allow Ben Elliott into third. The race settled from there to give Murray his fourth straight win of the championship and of course the 2018/19 title.
GT1 Rd4 Top 5 results:
1. Andy Murray – Schumacher
2. Owen Smith – Zen Racing
3. Ben Elliott – Schumacher
4. James Gallagher – n/a
5. Adam Mackman – Schumacher
In GT2 the top three continued their qualifying battle into the final, young Robins found his way into the lead after a lot of opening lap scrapping. Cook retaliated and challenged back for the lead as the pair moved away from Morton. With the addition of back markers, the battle concluded on lap 8 with Robins dropping back into the pack. Cook raced on to take victory with Morton and Stan French following. The dramas continued in the GT3 final when Diboll made it late to the final and didn’t clean his tyres off fully. The bad start dropped him to the back of the field and caused a mix up in the pack. By lap two, Junior Ewan Thompson had found his way into the lead and charged away from second place Geraint Williams. Halfway through the race Williams got involved in an incident which allowed Sam Coult to move into second. The race finished in this order with two Juniors claiming the top steps.
The concluding rounds 5 and 6 will be held at North West RC Raceway in Liverpool on March 9th and 10th.
Thanks to Stephen Baggley for the report.
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