The 4th round of the Pro-Line Winter Masters at Storm Valley again attracted a good amount of UK racers. In 4WD 4WD Mitch took top honours for round one, just missing the fabled 19 lapper by 12 hundredths of a second, with Craig appearing in the top three in second place with Glen Howard taking the last top three place just a second ahead of his brother Graham. Round two once again saw Mitch in pole but with a new name in the frame for second in the shape of Ryan Lawrence, just half a second ahead of Craig. Round three and Mitch continued his domination with a 19 lapper, a Howard brother in second, this time the Graham flavour, and Craig once again third. Final round and Graham broke Mitchell’s strangle hold on top spot to take the honours in this round with Mitch second and Craig being pushed out of the top three by Ryan.
Round by round saw top spot overall go to Mitch second was Craig and Ryan made up the top three. The final wasn’t all plain sailing for Mitch, the AE driver did lead from start to finish but it was nip and tuck with Craig who blazed away from the start to go straight second and kept the pressure up for the whole race just loosing out by 5 seconds. Graham drove a fine race to keep Ryan at bay to come in third but the youngster was very unlucky and missed the podium by just two hundredths.
In the 2WD class Ash Owen’s Associated B4.2 set the early pace from Craig Collinson with AE young gun Mitchell Booth taking third spot. Round two and again the Pro-Line driver Ash set the pace and improved on his own TQ, with Mitch putting in a stormer to take second, and Craig again in the top three with the last spot. All change again for round three with Ash again top spot with his two meeting old Hole Shot tyres, Craig nipping in for second and a new name in the top three in the form of Dominic Nunn with his Yokomo. The final round of qualifying saw the top three stay the same as round three.
The final was something of an epic. The top three in round by round qualifying was Ashlee, Craig and Mitchell, all three raced as if there lives depended on it and it was nip and tuck for the full five minutes. All three held the lead for a period of the race and all three were less than a full car width between them the whole race! Car three would nip in a corner to take the lead, car two would be having none of that and come through, then car one would say “what’s good for the goose” and retake the lead. Spontaneous applause rang out at the end from all watching as Mitchell ‘Young Gun’ Booth snatched it from Ashlee Owen by four hundredths off a second, with Craig just missing the loop for the extra lap to come in third. Closer racing I have never seen so well done to all three drivers.
Without CML’s own Liam Galvin, out due to illness, only one other AE truck was present in this Durango fest of fun. As it was, Robert Childe set the early pace from Paul Avery, but only by a mere four seconds, with that lone SC10 coming in third, in the shape of Adrian Prince. Round two saw Paul set TQ with Rob coming in second and a new name in the frame for third in the shape of Scott Dumayne. One, two, three in the third round was a repeat of round one but no driver had improved his time and round four saw Rob go up a gear and complete the five minutes with a seventeen lapper, a mid-C final time in 4wd! Paul crossed the line in second a lap down with Scott making the top three once again.
The final was a pretty close run affair for the top two of Robert and Paul, with the former leading from start to finish. The two drivers were nose to tail the whole five minutes, with never more than half a second between them, and indeed they crossed the line just 5 hundredths apart! Superb, close fun racing. Scott was third, a lap down, a position he kept from the start with a mistake less final but he just couldn’t match the pace of the leading two.