The first ever Essex Summer Series event took place this weekend at the Adur Model Car Club. Organised by the same team behind the popular Essex Winter Series indoor championship, the event had been put together after racers asked the team to take their concept to outdoor tracks to compliment the carpet season. The event was supported by CPD Racing, LRP, HPI and Strawberry Race Designs, along with Keep IT Simple. The Adur club had put in a huge amount of effort and the track was in perfect condition for the event. The organisers also brought in a huge marquee for everyone to pit in to create a fun and social atmosphere.
The race began with three rounds of practice, which were used to sort the qualifying heats. Qualifying would then consist of four rounds across the weekend, with the best two scores to count. Chris Grainger demonstrated why he is a multi-time National champion, setting the fastest time in the first round of the Modified class, with former World Champion David Spashett setting the second best time with his ARC and Brian Eldridge third on his Yokomo debut. Chris topped the second round in front of the Capricorn of Kyle Branson, with David third. Kyle then went quickest in the third round, Chris in second and Team Durango’s Elliott Harper third. Chris then took the final round to secure the pole position, ahead of Schumacher team mate Matthew White and Elliott Harper again third. Kyle would therefore line up second on the grid, in front of David, Elliott and Matthew.
The triple finals got under way and produced three fantastic displays of Touring Car racing. Kyle Branson was clearly determined to double up on his win at the International Carpet Challenge race, the indoor sister race organised earlier in the year by the same team, and passed Chris Grainger in the early stages. He then got the hammer down and set about extending his lead lap-by-lap, as the crowd were entertained with a race long battle between Chris and David Spashett. With memories of the mid-1990s, which saw those two regularly battling on circuits across the country, Chris managed to fend off the multi-time World Champion for the entire five minutes. Matthew White finished fourth, ahead of Brian Eldridge. The second leg saw Chris holding off Kyle for the first few laps, until Chris ran slightly wide at the hairpin turn before the back straight. The gap was exactly the width of Kyle’s Capricorn, and he needed no further invitation and placed his car firmly on the inside line to take the lead. The main battle in this race again involved David Spashett, but this time up against Harley Eldridge and Elliott Harper. After holding off the youngster for the majority of the race, David finally lost third place to Harley after she pulled off a fantastic inside/outside pass going through the two switchbacks. Harley then held on to third at the line to cheers from the crowd, as Elliott Harper also took the opportunity to sneak past David. Up front, Chris could do nothing about Kyle, as he took the win and the title. The final leg would be the final outdoor race of the summer in the UK, and everyone wanted to be the last driver to win on tarmac before the indoor season kicked off. An incident on the first lap took out Elliott Harper and Stef Chodzynski, which left Harley once again in the main battle on track. David worked his way through to the lead, and a fantastic battle between Chris, Kyle and Harley eventually went the way of the young Yokomo driver, as she moved up to second. However, coming onto the final lap, Harley made her only mistake of the weekend, rolling the car going through the esses in front of race control, letting Chris and Kyle back through. Harley would finish up fourth, and just miss out on the overall podium.
Modified A-final result:
1. Kyle Branson – Capricorn – 2 points
2. David Spashett – ARC – 4 points
3. Chris Grainger – Schumacher – 4 points
4. Harley Eldridge – Yokomo – 7 points
5. Matthew White – Schumacher – 10 points
6. Brian Eldridge – Yokomo – 10 points
7. Elliott Harper – Team Durango – 14 points
8. Stefan Chodzynski – HPI – 15 points
9.Scott Booth – Schumacher – 16 points
10.Damian Giddins – Xray – 16 points
The largest class at the event was the Super Stock class. The organisers had decided to re-align the stock classes, to bring them in line with Europe, America and Asia and used the event to debut the 13.5 Turn zero timing/blinky class at a major event in the UK. Dominic Skinner proved quickest at adapting to the new class and the Adur circuit, topping the first round of qualifying, ahead of Tim Hancock and Shaun Batt. Dominic was also quickest in the second round, ahead of EWS team member Richard Clarke and Mark Wallace. Shaun Batt topped the third round in front of Mark and Richard, whilst Mark took the final round in front of Dominic and Gavin Clinch. That left Dominic on pole, ahead of Mark, Shaun, Richard and Tim.
Dominic took the lead in the first final, with Shaun quickly working his way past Mark into second. Shaun challenged Dominic for the entire race distance, but Dominic kept his car on every apex to prevent Shaun making a move and took the win. Richard Clarke took third in the leg, as Mark dropped to seventh by the chequered flag. The second leg saw Dominic make another good start to lead the pack. Shaun took a few laps longer battling with Mark, which allowed Dominic to build a sizeable lead. Shaun eventually passed Mark, but wasn’t able to close the gap down to Dominic, leaving the Yokomo driver to take home the title with one leg still to run. Mark held on to third, with Tim Hancock finishing fourth. Dominic still ran the final leg, and demonstrated why he was champion, putting in yet another faultless drive to take another commanding race win. Mark held on to second this time, with Gavin Clinch working his way through the field to take third, and local favourite Chris Betts moving up to fourth from ninth on the grid.
Super Stock A-final result:
1. Dominic Skinner – Yokomo – 2 points
2. Shaun Batt – Awesomatix – 4 points
3. Mark Wallace – Schumacher – 5 points
4. Gavin Clinch – ARC – 8 points
5. Richard Clarke – Schumacher – 9 points
6. Chris Betts – Yokomo – 10 points
7. Tim Hancock – ARC – 11 points
8. Ben Cane – Xray – 11 points
9. Darren Tickner – Xray – 12 points
10.Alex Gardiner – Schumacher – 20 points
The HPI Vintage Challenge Class made its return to UK racing, and HPI’s Jason Butterfield dominated qualifying, setting the fastest time in every round. Damian Giddins was second in the first round in front of Terry Holmes, whilst Remo Casadi set the second fastest time in the second round ahead of CPD’s Chris O Donoghue. Damian was second again in the third round, with Duncan Letham third, before Remo set the second quickest time in the last qualifier. That left Jason on pole, in front of Remo, Damien and Duncan.
Jason Butterfield continued his domination into the first final, taking a comfortable win in front of Remo and Damian. However, in leg two, Remo got past Jason in the early stages and held on to take the win, forcing the title to a third leg. Jason took second, with Damian again third. The final race saw Jason back to his best and taking the win, with Remo second once again, and Chris O Donoghue coming through to take third.