Sutton and Jelley win as Butcher stars in the dampPosted: June 7, 2011
Sutton’s third consecutive success did however come largely at the expense of his SAS team-mate Michael Meadows, who picked up two pole positions in qualifying and led the race with a good getaway from the start. Meadows then built up a small lead ahead of his team-mate Sutton, who began coming under pressure from Parker Racing with Juta’s Jelley that would continue throughout the 18 lap race.
Meadows continued to lead the race until it all went wrong on lap 17, when he was the first man to be caught out when he reached the Knickerbrook chicane a lap after Sam Tordoff’s car had left coolant on the track around the back section of the circuit.
Meadows slid off onto the grass allowing Sutton to slip through and into the lead, while Meadows got back on the track just in time to hold off Jelley initially. Sutton went on the complete the final lap for is third consecutive win, while behind him Meadows had yet another excursion to the grass which allowed Jelley through for second place. Michael Caine finished fourt, surviving contact with Jonas Gelzinis at the hairpin which resulted in the Motorbase car suffering wheel damage but hanging on to a top four.
Kieran Vernon made his first appearance in Tim Harvey’s #1 Nationwide car, finishing down in 11th place on his debut, while Gelzinis took the Pro-Am 1 category win in fifth ahead of Richard Plant and nearest Pro-Am 1 rival Ahmad Al-Harthy. In Pro-Am 2, Andrew Shelley took the win after making a late pass on Steve Parish, with Redline Racing’s Keith Webster finishing third in class.
Jelley prevented Sutton from further success in Sunday’s race in damp, tricky conditions with a blinding start that saw him sweep around the outside of Meadows into the first corner on his way to a second victory of the season.
He left behind him a battle for second between the SAS pair of Meadows and Sutton, and Caine, showing signs of a return to form by threatening the two Redline drivers, having passed Hankey early on after recovering from a moment at the hairpin when he locked up and ran wide in the slippery conditions. Meadows himself made a mistake under pressure from Sutton and Caine when he outbraked himself and took to the grass at the Knickerbrook chicane in the early laps.
Their party was almost spoilt by the phenomenal performance of Pro-am1 winner Rory Butcher, who was running strongly well in the top 10 before outbraking class leader Ahmad Al Harthy at Knickerbrook comfortably to take up honours in the secondary class.
The Celtic Speed man’s pace in these difficult conditions was very impressive as he then began closing in rapidly on the fifth-placed man Hankey, before making light work of the multiple race winner of this season at Cascades later on.
He then wasted no time in working his way up to the back of the trio battling for second, with Meadows grimly hanging on to his position from team-mate Sutton and fourth-placed man Caine, the three making nose-to-tail contact at the hairpin as they all bunched together, allowing Butcher to challenge Caine for fourth.
Jelley was by now just under five seconds up the road and held on to cross the line as winner by 4.9s ahead of the well-defending Meadows, Sutton, Caine and Butcher wrapping up Pro-am1 honours with his great drive to fifth overall.
Pro-am2 meanwile was again tense in race two as Webster only just held on to take the class honours ahead of Parish, who was all over the rear end of Webster’s Porsche in the final lap of the race but could not find a way around him at the final corner despite his best efforts.
Championship standings after rounds 7/8:
|Pro-Am 1 standings:||Points|
|Ahmad Al Harthy||47|
|Pro-Am 2 standings:||Points|