Josh Fisher claimed a narrow victory in the first Walter Hayes Trophy semi-final, holding off Oliver White by just 0.027s in a restarted race.
Fisher opened up a 1.5s lead in the early stages in his Wayne Poole Racing Van Diemen, but the race was temporarily curtailed by a stoppage when last year’s Walter Hayes winner Niall Murray hit the kerb and span on the exit of Brooklands and his Murray Motorsport Van Diemen was collected by the Ray of the unsighted Sebastian Melrose. For the shortened seven-lap restarted race Fisher had to fend off an aggressive Oliver White.
On the last lap, Fisher was soaking up the pressure from White’s Medina and Stuart Gough’s Kevin Mills Racing Spectrum, with White managing to pull alongside Fisher as the pair exited Luffield. Fisher had just enough to cling on to the win, and crossed the line to take the flag by 0.027s – the closest race finish of the weekend so far.
White had to settle for second after an impressive early race charge up from fifth before the stoppage. Gough showed good pace and ran second early on, but dropped back to third when White dived down his inside at Brooklands just before the red flag came out.
Newly-crowned Northern Formula Ford 1600 champion Josh Smith moved up from eighth on the grid to take fourth in his Van Diemen, one ahead of Team USA scholar Jonathan Kotyk who dropped back after running second on the opening lap in his Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray.
Ross Martin, Luke Cooper and Chris Middlehurst rounded out the top eight to secure their places in the final.
Jamie Thorburn’s race ended in frustration as a spin, caused by a nudge from Kevin O’Hara, at Luffield put him out of the race with two laps to go, meaning he joined Murray as a surprise early exit.
Current Champion of Brands Matt Rivett and Robert Barrable were the other notable entries not to progress into the final.