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Rain & Shine – Davies Wins Final Two Races of 2014

By Chris Bassett

TinTops Toyota Starlet driver Barnaby Davies in class T2 won the final two races of the Cannons TinTop Championship at Brands Hatch which saw both dry and wet weather.

Race One:

Chris Whiteman (T3) left it late and qualified on pole on his last flying lap from Davies, Tom Bridger (T1), championship hopeful Vic Hope (T3), David Hutchins (T3), Russell Turner, (T3) Terry Searles, Cliff Pellin (T3), Lewis Turner who was first of the T4 runners with Robert Turner (T4) rounding up the ten.

Once the race finished, Whiteman will surely be kicking himself, having held a ten-second gap to second place at the mid-way point of the race. The first lap saw Bridger make a great start from third on the grid to be leading by the time the cars exited druids on the first lap, closely followed by Whiteman, Davies, Hutchins, Turner (Russell), Hope, Searles and Pellin. Hope got sideways at Clearways with everyone having to take avoiding action. This allowed championship new-comer Adam Shepherd (T3) move from 15th on the grid and into 4th. Searles was the biggest loser along with Hope and ended the first lap in last position.

Turner (Lewis) was leading class T4 and being chased by Robert Farndon (T3), new-comer Mikey Day, Daniel Adams who was leading the TP class from Peter Osborne also in the TP class. Robert Taylor had his mirrors full of championship leader Neal Gardiner (T4), new-comer Matt Ellis (T4), Kieron Lehane, another new-comer Ben Forbes and the recovering Hope & Searles.

TinTops Shepherd’s great start sadly didn’t last for long with a retirement on lap 2 which also saw Hope and Searles move through the slower cars and their way towards the top 10. On lap four; leader Bridger retired which allowed Whiteman and Davies to fight for first place. Ten seconds further back, Pellin was doing all he could to fend off Turner (Russell) and Hutchins. Davy was a further four seconds back and having a great battle with Turner (Lewis) and Osborne who had managed to pass class rival Adams. Hope and Searles were moving back through the field after their first lap mishap and into the top ten.

Taylor had built a two second lead from Ellis and Farndon who in turn was three seconds ahead of Gardiner, LeHane and Forbes.

Lap six saw Davies and Whiteman split by just four tenths of a second until Davies made a move on Whiteman going into Clearways, which resulted in Davies spinning off. He was able to recover without losing a place, but over ten seconds behind Whiteman, after the two had built up almost a twenty-second lead, over Pellin who was still being chased by Turner (Russell), Hutchins and the fast approaching Hope who had left Searles caught up trying to pass the slower cars as they made their way through the field. Another car retired with Forbes.

With Whiteman now so far in front, eyes turned to the battle of the race between Davy and Turner (Lewis) in class T4 and Osborne & Adams in the TP class with all four covered by under a second. Five seconds further back was Taylor, who in turn, was five seconds ahead of the trio of Farndon, Ellis and Gardiner; with Lehane another three seconds further back.

TinTops At the midway-point; Whiteman clearly decided to lift-off with such a commanding lead, but Davies was setting quickest lap after quickest lap and was closing by two seconds a lap in pursuit of the Honda. Further back Pellin was still ahead of Turner (Russell), with Hope now glued to the rear bumper of Hutchins in sixth. Sadly Turner (Lewis) retired which left the trio of Davy, Adams and Osborne who had swapped places. Taylor was racing on his own followed by Farndon who was in turn two seconds ahead of Ellis and Gardiner.

Whiteman began to make his way through the back-markers with Davies still taking two seconds per lap out of his lead. Pellin was still fending off Turner (Russell) with Hope making his way past Hutchins. Osborne managed to pass Adams, while further back Ellis and Gardiner were still separated by only half a second.

With just two laps remaining Davies had completed an excellent comeback; and while Whiteman was lapping Farndon, Davies seized the moment, passing both – Whiteman later admitting he thought the fast approaching Davies was a back-marker. Pellin was just ahead of Turner and Hope, with Hutchins falling slightly behind ahead of Searles. Adams managed to pass Osborne to lead the TP class, while further back Gardiner had also passed Ellis. Ellis was however able to regain the place the next lap.

For the remaining two laps; Whiteman tried in vain to regain the lead, but Davies held on to cross the line in first place by just two tenths of a second, leaving Whiteman kicking himself for taking it easy once he saw that Davies had spun.

TinTops Race Two:

Race two saw a reverse grid for the top seven, which meant the first row was occupied by Searles and Hutchins, followed by Hope, Turner (Russell), Pellin, Whiteman and Davies in seventh. Race two was wet; with many predicting another win for wet-weather expert Searles.

As the cars went into Paddock Hill Bend for the first time everyone was jostling for position with Bridger, who started from the back following his earlier retirement the biggest winner passing five cars. Searles, with a clear track in front of him, was trying to stamp his authority and pull away from the chasing pack of Hutchins and Pellin with Hope battling with Davies, who had made a good start, ahead of Whiteman, Osborne and Turner (Russell). Further back Adams was battling with Davy, Shepherd – another driver having a great first lap – passing eight cars following his retirement in race one, Gardiner, Bridger, Ellis, Turner (Lewis), Taylor, Lehane, Farndon and Forbes who were all covered by just under three seconds.

Lap two saw Pellin pass Hutchins into second and start his pursuit of Searles who had built up a one second lead. Bridger passed another five cars and into eighth, with Turner, clearly not enjoying the wet and greasy track falling further down the order.

TinTops Hutchins fell down from 3rd to 17th following a mistake which allowed Pellin to close the gap to Searles to just under half a second, which also saw Bridger make further ground up to 6th and last under a second behind Osborne who was having a great race in the TP class and mixing it with the more powerful cars.

On lap four Davies made a move on Hope which moved him up to 3rd with the task of closing the 3 second gap of Searles and Pellin in front. Championship leader Gardiner, another who was able to use the wet weather to mix it with the faster cars was leading class T4 ahead of Davy, Adams, Turner (Lewis), and Ellis. 3 seconds further back was Taylor, closely followed by the slowing Shepherd, Turner (Russell), and Lehane, who in turn were 4 seconds head of Farndon, Forbes, Hutchins and Whiteman who was experiencing technical issues and soon after retired.

At the mid-way point Searles led Pellin by almost 2 seconds from Davies, who was a further second behind. Hope was a further 4 seconds behind Davies closely followed by the charging Bridger. Eight seconds behind was Osborne, who in turn had built a commanding seven-second lead over Davy who was battling hard with Turner (Lewis) and Adams. Farndon retired. Turner (Russell), Lehane and Gardiner brought up the rear having lost time moving down the field to last place.

TinTops With three laps to go Davies passed Pellin into second going into Paddock Hill Bend and was soon right on the boot-lid of Searles trying to force a mistake. Turner (Lewis) had a big off into the tyre wall – also at Paddock Hill, while being followed by Davy, with Adams, who was having another solid performance ahead of Ellis; everyone else remaining in the same positions.

Two laps to go and Davies was even closer to Searles and seized his chance with the extra power of his turbo charged Toyota Starlet proving too quick for Searles as they passed the start finish line, with Pellin also close by and in a good position should the two cars in front made a mistake. The trio was covered by less than a second from Bridger and Hope. Unfortunately Bridger retired later on this lap which left Hope alone in 4th having built up a ten second advantage over Osborne who in turn had built up a 15 second gap to Davy who was leading class T4 following Turner’s crash.

And so it finished, with Davies picking up another double win from Searles and Pellin – all three were covered by under two seconds as they crossed the line for the final time this season. Osborne won class TP after a great drive, finishing almost 20 seconds ahead of Davy, who won class T4. Adams finished ahead of Ellis, Taylor, Hutchins, the recovering Turner (Lewis), Turner (Russell), Gardiner, who was confirmed as the 2014 TinTop champion, and Lehane.

Final Championship positions were:

1. Neal Gardiner (T4)
2. Peter Osborne (TP)
3. Vic Hope (T3)

Next Race Meeting:

See you in 2019

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