Morris continues steamroller with dominant displayPosted: June 8, 2011
The Hillspeed driver was unstoppable all weekend, showing his searing pace by taking pole position by 0.7s, and taking victory in the first race of the weekend even though a sluggish start meant he still had to hold-off George Gamble into Old Hall.
Morris started the race initially under pressure in the opening couple of laps of the race which was full of close racing as he battled with Gamble and Charlie Robertson for the lead, before Morris then began to pull the pin on lap three and started to break away from Gamble, leaving the TJ Motorsport driver falling into the clutches of Robertson and Jake Giddings.
The man who joined Morris on the front row for the race, Tom Howard pulled off into the pits before the start due to a suspected mechanical problem with his Tollbar Racing team G40, although he did still rejoin the race as the field made their getaway from the grid, all this easing the pressure on Morris at the start.
On lap four Robertson make his move for second place at the Hairpin at the expense of Gamble, who then found himself having to fend off Giddings for the final podium spot. Giddings made his move stick at the Knickerbrook chicane on the sixth lap of 10, but only for Gamble to retaliate and snatch third place back from the FML driver on the run up Clayhill.
Giddings then ran into drama late in the race thanks to a dislodged bonnet that cost him time as he then dropped a further place to Sennan Fielding, although he did however manage to hold off Max Coates and Brad Bailey who were in a battle which ended in tears thanks to a coming together at Avenue which sent Coates heavily into the barriers.
Up front, it was Morris who took his sixth win and ninth Ginetta Junior podium with victory by just over nine seconds over Robertson, the 14-year old claiming his second podium of the season. Gamble took third ahead of team-mate Fielding taking his best result of fourth ahead of Giddings.
In slightly damp conditions, the second race was again a complete runaway from Morris as after only five of the eight laps he had pulled out a sensational lead of 15 seconds already, a gap that stretched to a massive 23 seconds as he took the checkered flag for a dominant seventh win in eight races so far this season.
He did however have a close shave at the start of the race as a good start from Howard allowed him to drive alongside the Hillspeed driver, only to for the two to make contact as Morris aggressively squeezed Howard onto the grass on the approach to turn one. It proved to be the start of a poor first lap for Howard as he was easily overtaken into the hairpin by Gamble before being overtaken by William Foster also as he dropped to fourth.
The first lap was the end of the race for Giddings however, after contact heading into Cascades with Robertson sent the pair off the road with Giddings ending up in the barriers.
On lap three, Coates began to take the fight to the battle for third as he made his move inside Howard at Cascades allowing Mikey Day to drive around the outside of Howard into the hairpin, while Foster in third place almost threw it away at Knickerbrook with a trip across the grass after out-braking himself. Day then became a Ginetta punchbag as Declan Jones firstly bumped him wide at the Island hairpin, before Coates made his way back past having lost the place initially to Day, only to again drop to the back of the pack.
Morris’ dominance aside, the story of the race was the performance of Niall Murray who had an eventful race, caused by a collision with Paddy McClughan when the Irishman misjudged his braking at Lodge and tipped himself and McClughan into a spin. He then became the fastest man on the circuit as he closed back up to the pack battling for third place led by Foster, surviving a knock along the way when the recovering Robertson made contact with team-mate Day that sent the pair out of control, bouncing off Murray as he came through to pick up two places.
Murray then made mincemeat of Howard and Foster and set his sights on second place man Gamble, setting the fastest lap of the race as he caught and passed Gamble late in the race to claim a hard-earned scond place. Gamble completed the podium ahead of the also recovering Robertson in fourth, while the battle between Foster and Howard went all the way to the flag with Foster only just beating his Tollbar team-mate by 0.025s for fifth place.
Morris’ championship lead now is an enormous 97 points over his nearest rival Gamble, although the fight behind remains reasonably tight as they head to Croft next weekend for rounds 9 and 10 of the series.
Championship standings after rounds 7/8:
1: Seb Morris, 284
2: George Gamble, 187
3: William Foster, 155
4: Charlie Robertson, 143
5: Max Coates, 140
6: Tom Howard, 128