The second round of the 2019/2020 Essex Winter Series took place this weekend at the popular indoor venue in the south-east of the UK. Elliott Harper, who had taken the TQ and overall win at the opening round of the series last month, set the initial pace in the Modified class as he topped Q1. However, he was pushed hard by Chris Grainger, who finished just four tenths of a second behind. Chris’s Team Associated team mate Matthew White took third in the round, a second and a half back on Chris, with Harley Eldridge and Kyle Branson rounding out the top five. The second round saw the top two positions unchanged, but Elliott managed to open up a two second gap this time. Harley moved her Yokomo into third place, with the Capricorns of Stefan Chodzynski and Kyle fourth and fifth. The third qualifier had Elliott as the first driver to break into the 22 lap bracket, securing pole position with his Xray. Again, Chris was second, with Kyle besting Stefan and Harley this time. Elliott made it a clean sweep of qualifying in Q4, finishing up ahead of Harley, Matthew, Kyle and Stefan.
In the single leg A-final, the ten qualified drivers were joined by Damian Giddins, who got the bump-up by winning the B-final. Chris challenged Elliott in the early stages, but Elliott clearly had the speed and kept Chris at bay, until he started to really pull a gap out as the race passed the one-third distance point. Harley, who had started third on the grid, ran close to Chris but wasn’t able to really challenge him, until the final minute of the race when the gap came right down and she finished up half a second behind the multi time UK champion. Behind, the race was for fourth, with a number of position changes throughout the race. Matthew, who had started fourth on the grid, dropped down as Stefan managed to move from sixth into fourth by the end, with Florian Joos also making improvements to move from ninth on the grid up to sixth. But out front, Elliott confirmed his second maximum points haul of the season, putting the overall title firmly within reach.
Touring Modified final result:
1. Elliott Harper – Xray/LRP
2. Chris Grainger – Team Associated/Reedy
3. Harley Eldridge – Yokomo/Maclan
4. Stefan Chodzynski – Capricorn/Hobbywing
5. Kyle Branson – Capricorn/Hobbywing
6. Florian Joos – Xray/Hobbywing
7. Matthew White – Team Associated/Reedy
8. Alan Bickerstaff – Team Associated/Reedy
9. Aaron Rose – Schumacher/Hobbywing
10.Paul Pinkney – Awesomatix/Hobbywing
11.Damian Giddins – Xray/Surpass
In the Super Stock class, the winner of the season opener, Billy Fletcher got things underway with the best time in the first round, just under one second ahead of Belgian Florian Joos, with Adam Southgate third and Richard King and Ashley Wiffen rounding out the top five. Florian moved to the top in Q2, just one and a half tenths ahead of Billy, and the remainder of the top five positions otherwise unchanged. Into Q3 and Florian was finding pace and opened up a one second gap on Billy this time, with Nathan Parker making the trip from Sweden and taking third in the round in front of Ashley and Liam Hendy. Florian secured the overall TQ with the best time in the final qualifier as well. Billy again was second to secure that spot on the grid, Nathan again third and Adam and Ashley completing the top five for the round.
Michael Bolt won a thrilling B-final to secure the bump up and the coveted eleventh spot on the A-final grid. In the main final, Florian led the field away for the first few laps. On lap four, Billy managed to find his way past the Belgian star, but his lead was short lived as Nathan took the lead just after the one-minute point. Behind, Billy, Florian, Adam and Richard fought hard over second place, with Billy getting the upper hand and then pulling away to challenge for the lead again. Adam was installed into third at this point and had Florian all over him, desperate to get back into a podium position. But the youngster from Essex held off his challenger to secure the podium place, and with it the “Future Champion” award for the round. Out front, Billy battled with Nathan and eventually found a way past, which he held on to the finish to secure his second victory of the season.
Touring Super Stock final result:
1. Billy Fletcher – Awesomatix
2. Nathan Parker – Awesomatix
3. Adam Southgate – Xray
4. Florian Joos – Xray
5. Richard King – Awesomatix
6. Ashley Wiffen – Awesomatix
7. Liam Hendy – Awesomatix
8. Vasiliy Simonov – Awesomatix
9. Michael Bolt – Capricorn
10.Ricky Copsey – Awesomatix
11.Jon Seals – Xray
Another full capacity Front Wheel Drive heat saw qualifying headed by Gary Taylor, taking the overall TQ from Mark Caton, with Paul Hill, round 1 Winner Craig Nutting and Gareth Coates making up the top five. A first lap incident between Gary and Mark gave Paul the early lead in the A-final and, with just one small mistake, he was never challenged and drove a near perfect race to take his first win at the EWS. Gary recovered to take second, with Chris Condon moving from sixth on the grid to round out the podium, Craig taking fourth and Gareth fifth at the finish line.
The next event will be the EWS International taking place in December, before the championship points chase picks up again in January for round 3.