The 2022/2023 Essex Winter Series concluded over the weekend with the fifth and final round of the popular British Indoor Series. In Modified, new Yokomo signing Alex Thurston gave his new team something to smile about as he topped the first three qualifying rounds. Already-crowned champion Kyle Branson took Q4 to secure second on the grid, with Kyle’s team-mate Harley Eldridge third overall and looking to secure the overall championship podium. The top five was made up of the Schumacher duo of Andy Murray and Chris Grainger. Alex led away the final, with the top two pulling away from the field. Alex initially built a small gap, but Kyle then reeled him in and for the final minute, there was a great battle as it looked like Kyle had the slightly faster car in the latter stages of the race. However, Alex kept his car on the racing line and Kyle wasn’t able to find a way past, leaving him to take the runner-up spot on the day. The victory confirmed Alex as second in the overall points standings, whilst behind Harley was best-of-the-rest in third, with Andy and Chris maintaining their starting positions to round out the top five – which directly translated into the same results in the overall championship.
The Stock touring class was again the biggest entry, and once again Zak Finlay was in control, leading all four qualifiers. However, it seemed the field had closed the gap to the Xray driver, as he was pushed hard in each round. Billy Fletcher took second overall for Schumacher, with Tony Broad and Ricky Copsey lining up third and fourth for Xray, and Martyn Ross rounding out the top five with his privately entered Awesomatix. The top two pulled away at the front of the A Final, as Tony dropped back behind Ricky and Martyn. After about one and a half minutes, Zak made a rare mistake, rolling his car going through the fast sweeper. This put Billy up to the lead with a healthy lead over Zak. But Zak wasn’t giving up, and clocked off rapid lap times to get back on terms with his rival. With just over 30 seconds to run, Zak was back on Billy’s bumper and made a move going through the slow section of the track. The two cars touched, and Zak waited for Billy to recover, but Billy then got a body tuck, which led to him pulling off and thus promoting Ricky to second and Tony up to third.
In the overall championship, Billy had still done enough to take second overall, with Tony rounding out the top three ahead of Ricky in fourth and Martyn in fifth.
The Front Wheel Drive class saw the organisers make a change to the rules, moving in line with the world-wide standard of the 17,500 RPM limit and a fixed gearing. This immediately proved to be a huge success, with the closest racing seen in the class all year and positive feedback from all who raced it. Gareth Hollis took pole position on tie-break from already confirmed champion Shane Chipolina, followed by Andrew Cooper, Stuart Collard and Paul Hill. An amazingly close final saw the top three separated by no more than a few seconds throughout. Gareth crossed the line first, but a failure in post-race tech saw his time removed, promoting Andrew Cooper to the win, ahead of Shane and Paul.
This win meant Andrew and Paul tied for second in the championship, and despite Paul initially being announced as second, the post-race adjustment to the results wasn’t accounted for correctly, and so after the ceremony Andrew was then confirmed as the overall runner up, Paul in third, with Andy Faulkes taking fourth and Martin Southall in fifth.
Last, but by no means least, the Junior E class again saw the stars of tomorrow taking to the track. James Snashall dominated once again, with the TQ and Win, with Harry Woron taking second on the grid, second in the final, and second in the championship after some hard battles with Chloe Snashall, who was third overall. Frankie Fletcher took fourth in the overall points, with George Williams in fifth place and Eliza-May Fenn sixth. Along with the awards, the drivers were also presented with prizes from the series sponsors, as a number have already expressed an interest in moving up to Front Wheel Drive or Touring Car next season.