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Hot Hatch Challenge - Summer Spectaular

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Harvey’s Bristol cream as Josh lands double - A tenth of a second was poleman Josh Harvey’s advantage over Chris Southcott in qualifying for the Hot Hatch double-header, but once the latter’s Peugeot 205’s engine went bang the Honda Civic racer had things his own way in the opener. When Sam Stride, who finished second in race one didn’t reappear – his Civic’s motor having blown some water out – Nick Gwinnett (Renault Clio) picked up the cudgels to shadow Harvey in.

Harvey’s stout 1m13.134s (91.06mph) was unmatchable in practice, Southcott’s final effort just short in the busy 31-car session. Stride was alone in the 14s, chased by the other four class leaders who were well spread: Gwinnett (1:15.267; 88.48mph), Shaun Goverd (Peugeot 106 GTi, 1:16.424; 87.14mph); Tony Cooper (106 GTi, 1:17.199; 86.27mph) and Steven Jensen (BMW Mini Cooper S, 1:18.162; 85.20mph).

Mike Wyatt (Civic) was next, with James Blake (MG ZR), Darren Duffield (Cooper S), Ben Ogbourne (Vauxhall Astra), UK debutant Tim Adams (Civic) and Lewis Clark (Ford Fiesta) separated by less than half a second. Adams, who had done some Late Model Sportsman racing in the USA, was overseen by his father, Group C2 Spice ace Nick, previously a frontrunner in Clubmans, Sports 2000 and Formula Atlantic.

The competitive mid-pack group comprised Ryan Cook (Mini Cooper R53), Lee Waterman (ZR), Martyn Hathaway (R53), Adam Perrett (Renault Clio 172), Michael Bland (Peugeot 306), Paul Dickinson (R53) and James Canfer (Cooper S), all in the 1m21s bracket. Paul Bird’s 106 GTi, Simon Hughes (Civic), Shaun Deacon (106 GTi), Steve Bracegirdle (Cooper S) and Mark Pope (Ford Puma) were on their heels.

Graham Cox (Clio), Lewis Bird (Citroen Saxo VTS), Simon Fisher (Cooper S), William Oakley (Red Bill Racing/Hampshire Flat Roofing Peugeot 205), Steve Waight (R53) and the troubled Nick Mizen (Fiesta) completed the order post—preliminaries.  

Poleman Harvey set off at a furious pace in the opening race, hotly pursued by Southcott, with Gwinnett, Stride, Goverd, Jensen and Wyatt heading the peloton. A cloud of black smoke heralded Southcott’s demise at Quarry on lap 4, whereupon Josh might have thought he was in for an easier ride. Not entirely so, for Stride slipped past Gwinnett (whose Clio’s oil dipstick had popped out) and closed to within 2.4 seconds before Harvey stretched his legs to win comfortably.

Class winners Gwinnett, Goverd and Jensen led the chase, but Duffield finished on Steven’s rear bumper as the Mini men tussled. Wyatt, Adams, Clark and Hathaway rounded out the top 10. Waterman was the only Class B finisher, 14th overall, Cooper and Blake having retired. Other casualties included Ogbourne with a detached coil wire and Oakley who switched off to be safe when his Pug’s oil light flickered.

With no Southcott, and Stride also missing after his Honda mysteriously blew some water out in the earlier race, Harvey could not relax in the second stanza with Gwinnett just 0.277s behind at the chequered flag. Cooper was third, best of the B trio, under constant pressure from Will di Claudio’s charge Goverd who doubled-up in C. Oakley was a rorty fifth in the white 205 ahead of Duffield in the first of the BMW Minis. Blake, Adams, Wyatt and Clark were next back.

Posted on Monday 17 August 2020

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